I’ve now been working on my Portuguese project for three weeks.
Last week I mentioned how I had a much easier time speaking than understanding spoken Portuguese. Even though I might still speak rather pausedly, if I give it some thought, I can usually figure out a way to put my thoughts in words, even if it’s not the most efficient wording.
Still, I really needed to spend a lot of time working on my listening comprehension, so this past week I made that a special focus, mostly watching and listening to the news, watching movies, and conversing with native or fluent speakers.
Some of my favorite sites for listening to the news in other languages are RFI and BBC World Service. They both have podcasts for a variety of different languages. I’ve mostly been listening to the RFI Brasil podcasts (news and special topics), as they’re in a format I find the most convenient.
I also watched the movie Apenas o Fim, which has a sort of (500) Days of Summer or Once vibe, for anyone who has seen either of those movies. The movie is very heavy on dialog, and it’s a casual, informal, conversational dialog, so that was helpful. I didn’t understand a ton of the spoken dialog, but watching with the Portuguese subtitles I was fully able to understand everything that was going on.
A final resource I’ve taken advantage of this week is WeSpeke, a social website that lets you practice speaking languages with people all over the world. You sign up for a profile, select your native language, the language you’re learning, and choose topics that interest you. Then you can see who’s currently online and available for a text or voice chat. The only thing I don’t like about WeSpeke so far is that you can only choose one language as your target language, but it’s easy to change, and you don’t have to limit your conversation partners to people who speak your target language.
This week I plan to keep working on my listening comprehension, but especially in an interactive, conversational context, not just passive listening. Also, now that I have a solid footing in the language, I intend to iron out some grammatical points I’m still a little shaky on, and fill in some of my vocabulary gaps.