New Language Mission: Brazilian Portuguese!

brazil-flagIn honor of the 2014 Brazil Word Cup, I’m taking on a new language project: Brazilian Portuguese.

I spent two years living in Uruguay, right in Brazil’s shadow, so I’ve had a fair amount of exposure to Brazilian media, culture, and other influences. Still, it’s one thing to have tangential exposure to a linguistic community; it’s another thing altogether to jump right in and join them!

Brazil is a fascinating country and culture, and it’s quickly finding a respected place for itself in the world. As one of the BRIC Countries, it’s predicted to be the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050. And of course there is the current World Cup, and Summer Olympics coming up in 2016.

Like many, I’ve gotten especially caught up with all things Brazil with the start of the World Cup today. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, but now seems as good a time as any to start my new project – to see what kind of proficiency I can build up in the month from today (the start of the tournament) until July 13 (the final match).

This is kind of a unique mission, at least for me, because I’m not starting the language entirely from scratch. I’m fluent in Spanish, which is closely related to Portuguese; the vocabulary and grammar are very similar, so that gives me a big head start. Actually, one of the motivating factors in this project is learning about what kind of effect previously learned languages have when acquiring new, related languages. The advantages of already knowing Spanish are obvious, but what kind of disadvantages, if any, will I face?

To be honest, this is one of my first language projects that I’ve planned out to this extent. Most of my language learning has either been in a classroom setting, living for an extended period of time immersed in a foreign country, or on my own in a very unorganized, haphazard manner. I’m taking a page from the Benny Lewis playbook here, so I’m not exactly sure what to expect, but I’m shooting for B1 (conversational fluency).

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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