Our newest, shiniest Portuguese lessons yet!

So, perhaps you managed to avoid all the hype about the exciting release of Pimsleur’s Third Edition of Pimsleur Brazilian Portuguese 1, but it was pretty big news in my world – as I was the co-writer, and all!

Pimsleur Brazilian Portuguese Lessons 1, 3rd Edition CDWe made some really exciting changes to the course – let me share some with you:

We updated the vocabulary to reflect contemporary usage, teaching more of the informal /semi-formal você and spending less time on the more formal a senhora/o senhor, as well asreplacing the more old-fashioned esposo/esposa with marido/mulher. (To explain the latter, using esposo in a sentence would be like saying in English, “Hello, I would like you to meet my spouse.” It’s not wrong, but it doesn’t sound quite right, either.) We also added practice in dropping the pronoun when responding to a question, which will make you sound a good deal more like a native speaker, when you are out meeting people in Brazil. (And also, you’ll learn not to expect them to say the pronoun every time, because they most certainly won’t!) This really helps with acquiring the flow and rhythm of Brazilian Portuguese.

Go to the beach or the museum, but get out and enjoy the real Brazil!

We also increased vocabulary in these Brazilian Portuguese lessons, to include modern terminology, such as celular (cellphone), common stock phrases and idioms, localized vocabulary (beaches, museums), travel-pertinent vocabulary like mala (suitcase), and, because I think it’s really important, lots of Brazilian foods and beverages (such as caldo de cana – so that when you go to Brazil, you’re ready to get started trying local cuisine, and not being like the stereotypical Americans who want a burger and fries no matter where they go in the world. (The downside of this was that I spent the whole time writing the course suffering cravings for the foods being mentioned, because Brazilian food is so amazing.)

More changes to the third edition of Brazilian Portuguese include increased cueing in the target language (more practice in understanding); increased practice of numbers, pronouns, and challenging concepts, such as estar (“to be”) and ser (also “to be”) (if it’s hard for me, I assume the rest of you learners will also appreciate the extra help!); a great new booklet of Readings which are also expanded and updated to reflect the spelling changes from the Portuguese-Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990; and finally, just an overall better flow to the units, with a more consistent difficulty level. I personally think you’ll find these Portuguese lessons motivating and challenging enough.

A Pimsleur Secret: You can and should re-do units you find difficult!

A note about repeating units: they do explain in the preamble to the course that you CAN go back and redo a unit with which you had trouble. But I like to add, from my own experience of doing courses as a learner, that you really SHOULD. There is no shame in repeating a unit – some days you learn better / faster / more easily than others, and it could be any reason (from stress to lack of sleep, to allergies or coming down with a cold, to just having an “off” day). The rewards of going back and doing the unit again (giving yourself an overall “easy” half-hour of learning after being frustrated the day before, and using that extra “room” in your brain to really focus on the words / phrases / concepts you had the most trouble with) are greater than you would expect to come from “doing it over again.” There have been times when I have gotten most of the responses right, but just felt like they didn’t stick well enough with me, and then I have just done the unit again, to feel more like I “really got it.” It was always more than worth the time spent on it. (Just remember to only do one unit a day – don’t double up! You brain requires the rest-time, away from the new language, to process what you learned. This is one of the most vital parts of learning in a Pimsleur course!)

All that said (all those changes listed, that is!) there are people out there who will have concerns about the Brazilian Portuguese lessons. Say, for example, that you have the 2nd Edition, and you’re halfway done. Well, for all our hard work, the basic vocabulary (“I don’t understand Portuguese.” “But, yes, you do, and you speak it very well!”) is the same, and if you have a time-limitation you should be able to continue, without having to go back. (You should be able to pick up the new vocabulary words along the way.) However, if you have the time, I’d really suggest you go back and start from scratch, just because it will really help you have a solid grasp of the new vocabulary, and you’ll have the benefit of having the even better course gelling the concepts, strengthening what you have already learned. (And there might be some of you for whom the changes might be just a little too much, so then you really should go back and start over from the beginning.) I really think it will be enjoyable and you’ll realize you are learning more as you go!

Yes, you CAN go on to the next level of our Brazilian Portuguese Lessons!

Pimsleur Portuguese Lessons 1 MP3 courseFinally, another concern from the customers has been, “I have the new edition of Level One. Can I now go to Level Two? Will the new edition connect with the old?” I’m happy to say that, yes, you can and should totally go on to Level Two of our Brazilian Portuguese lessons. There will be a little overlap of vocabulary (although that’s not a bad refresher for you) so you may feel the first few units are unusually easy. There will also be a few instances of something like, say, “esposo” being used where you have now learned “marido.” Don’t get thrown for a loop – just respond with the word you learned, and on you go – there are still lots of great new words and aspects of Brazilian Portuguese to learn and explore.

From myself and the whole team who worked on Pimsleur’s Third Edition of Brazilian Portuguese, we really hope you have a wonderful time learning the language – and an even better time when you get to Brazil!

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