Tag Archives: pimsleur portuguese

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!

Want to learn to speak Portuguese? Why choose Pimsleur? (Part 1)

So you need to learn to speak Portuguese – for business or for pleasure. Perhaps you’re going to Portugal to meet some potential business partners?  Or maybe you’re going to Brazil – for Carnaval? For the World Cup or the Olympics?  For a vibrant, relaxing, and rejuvenating get-away?

Want to Learn to Speak Portuguese

Want to Learn to Speak Portuguese?

Once you’ve figured out which dialect of Portuguese is right for you to learn, the next big decision is which language course you’re to buy, which method of language learning you think might work best for you.

I’m not just a Pimsleur writer, but I’m also a customer

Now, obviously, this post is on a Pimsleur website, so you can probably guess which course I’m going to recommend. But in a “Remember, I’m not only the Hair Club President, but I’m also a client” kind of way, I’m not just a gal who wrote the new edition of the Brazilian Portuguese course, but I also really love Pimsleur and swear by its underlying methodology. If I were going to another country, there is no way I’d use anything but Pimsleur to get me ready to go there – because I don’t have time to waste on less-effective learning methods. (And I also don’t have an inexhaustible frustration level: learning a new language is hard work, so given my choice, I’ll always go for the easiest way to learn it.)

Most other language courses tend to be the “same old same old” as the type of language instruction you got in school – and you know how that worked! I never get over being excited about Pimsleur because Dr. Paul Pimsleur had such a good idea (one which, in retrospect, is pretty obvious, like so many great ideas), which other language courses just don’t touch:  the best way to learn a language is do it as babies learn their first language (or “milk language,” or “mother tongue”).

Learn a new language the way you learned your first language

And that way involves hearing it – and trying to reproduce the sounds and speak them back – and then feeling the immense satisfaction when you do. That last bit is really important – as part of every Pimsleur course (built in to every unit) is to get you, the “learner,” to feel satisfaction at your progress. We course writers want you to succeed, and we write the courses so that if you put in the effort, you will come away from that “half an hour a day” knowing you’ve made progress. Because frustration doesn’t help you learn – learning can (and should!) be fun.

Babies don’t learn by reading, nor by flashcards, or using software. They learn by hearing those around them talk, and trying to talk back to them, in turn. They make mistakes, and learn from the mistakes. But the main thing is, language-learning is aural/oral, and it’s not built around mindless repetition, but actively trying out words and putting together sentences – listening for replies as confirmation, and learning from them. And that’s how Pimsleur courses work. (Well, there’s a good deal more science to it than that, but it’s where each Pimsleur course starts.)

Spilling Pimsleur Secrets (How do they do it?!)

So, we’re back to you wanting to learn to speak Portuguese.  How does any of the above help you? Because the Pimsleur course is built, from the first unit, to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed – with pleasure – at learning Portuguese.  In Unit One you start by hearing a conversation which you can’t understand … and then, by the end of the unit, you hear it again, and can understand it – and respond!

But it doesn’t stop at just generally helping you to learn to speak Portuguese.  We Pimsleur course writers also know that becoming fluent in another language takes a while (each Pimsleur course takes a month to complete as a learner) and maybe you’ll only have time to do Level I before setting off for Brazil for the sun, food, and culture – or maybe your boss only gave you a month’s lead time before that business trip to Portugal.

So we pack each unit with important words for A.) travel, and appreciation of the country once you get there and B.) building a workable vocabulary so you can best continue learning while your boots are on the ground, and you’re surrounded by Portuguese speakers. (Because, of course, the best way to learn any language is to go to the country, surround yourself with people speaking that language, and just do your best every day to communicate with them. Pimsleur, for as wonderful as it is, comprises only the first steps to real fluency in a language. We give you the boot-straps, as it were, to pull yourself up to getting along in a foreign country in a foreign tongue.  Once you’re there, building a real fluency will happen as you talk to people, learn more vocabulary, and get a more in-depth feel for the rhythms of the language and the more subtle nuances that no language course or class can ever teach you.)

So there is no “La plume de ma tante” (nor “my hovercraft is full of eels”) in Pimsleur – you are taught words you need and can use, and while you are being given those useful vocabulary items, at the same time you are taught the rest of the parts of the sentence to put around them, so that you can talk about yourself, or another person, ask questions – or, if you make a mistake, you can explain and correct that, and learn from it.

The world opens up for you when you open your mind by learning a new language

So that’s why I don’t just work for Pimsleur, I’m a Pimsleur customer. I know that any language I want or need to learn, I can just grab a Pimsleur course, make room for half-an-hour in my day for the guided learning, and I will be able to go to any country – say, Brazil – and communicate with the native speakers of the language. (And, sadly, even if I only have one month to do Level One, they will be surprised and impressed, because, let’s face it, Americans don’t have a very good reputation around the world when it comes to showing up knowing the language.) And that’s why, if you want to learn to speak Portuguese, I would recommend that you, also, grab a Pimsleur course (whether it’s the brand new edition of the Brazilian Portuguese which I just worked on, or the excellent European Portuguese course) – because I can tell you that each course has been built with the express purpose of teaching you the vital language skills you need, in the least amount of time, with the least amount of frustration, so that you can be enjoying a trip to the beach in Portugal, or a museum in Brazil (or watching soccer in either place!) and enjoying new cultures, new friends, and the way the world opens up for you when you open your mind by learning a new language.