Learning another language can be a game changer. It can open pathways to new opportunities you never knew existed. It can help you interact with cultures and get to know people and perspectives you would otherwise never have learned about. 

Learning another language can even improve your brain function and help you fight off dementia. The Brazil language, Portuguese, is just one of many you can learn, but there are lots of good reasons to do so.

The Benefits Of Learning A Foreign Language

There are too many benefits to language learning to list them all here, but here are just a few reasons for you to consider taking on the challenge of the Brazil language, or any language:

Benefits Of Biligual People

people holding conversation cards
  • Bilingual people make more money
  • Bilingual people have more job options
  • Bilingual people get more out of international travel
  • Bilingual people have more diverse friends

The Brazil language isn't the only one you can learn, but Brazilian Portuguese is a great place to start. Brazil is a fascinating and beautiful country, and what could be better than going there and being able to speak with the local people? Portuguese, the Brazil language, is one of the easier ones for English-speaking people to master.

Specific Benefits Of Portuguese

Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in the entire Southern Hemisphere, spoken not only by the people of Portugal and Brazil but also by many people in southern Africa. It is also an important language in Macao and elsewhere.

What Is The Language Of Brazil?

To understand the language of Brazil, which is Portuguese, it's important to know about the history of the country.

Brazil The Country

Brazil is South America's largest nation and the fifth largest country in the world by population and geography. When the Portuguese conquistador, Pedro Alvares Cabral, landed in this region in 1500, Portugal made it a colony. Brazil stayed a colony of the Kingdom of Portugal until 1815. Brazil also borders several South American nations, many of which have their own unique languages, but most of whom speak Spanish. Spanish and Portuguese are closely related languages, but there are significant differences, and they are not dialects of one another.

World Map Brazil

Image Source: google maps

The Brazil Language

When the Portuguese landed in what is now Brazil, most people spoke Tupi. This was the major language of the seacoast dwellers during the 1500s though there were many other languages spoken by other people groups whom the Tupi-Guarani family had more or less conquered. When the Tupi were conquered by the Portuguese, Portuguese Jesuit priests learned Tupi.

In 1757, Tupi was banned, even though it was spoken by most native people in the area and by most of the immigrants who had come there from Portugal. The Jesuits, who had pioneered the use of Tupi among their own people, were expelled from the country a few years later. When that happened, Tupi was officially outlawed.

Portuguese With Brazilian Characteristics

Just because the Tupi language was banned, and the Jesuits got thrown out, it didn't mean the language disappeared entirely. Tupi and other indigenous languages had a profound effect upon the Portuguese spoken in Brazil. When African slaves were brought to Brazil, later on, their dialects also had an influence on the Brazil language. Even the French language had an influence on Brazilian Portuguese it never had on the language spoken in Portugal.

While it is correct to say that Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, it is also appropriate to refer to it as the "Brazil language." Brazilian Portuguese differs from that spoken today in Portugal. While the Portuguese and the Brazilians can communicate with one another easily, they are two peoples "separated by a common language," much as people in North America and Britain relate to one another in English.

How To Learn The Brazil Language

girl writing on a notebook

Start With Pronunciation

English and Portuguese have a lot in common: both are technically Germanic languages from similar roots, and both were influenced by Latin languages such as Spanish, and French. An English speaker will recognize many root words in Portuguese, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, this can be an aid to understanding the meaning, and on the other, it can seriously interfere with pronunciation.

Fortunately, the Brazilian language is very consistent in pronunciation; unlike English! This means that once you learn the rules and understand what all the marks mean, it will be easy to pronounce it all correctly. The key is remembering that the Portuguese language isn't spoken in the same way as English.

Master The Grammar

Once again, the grammar of Portuguese differs from English. Here are some of the basics:

  • All verbs are conjugated
  • Adjectives always come after the noun
  • All nouns have a gender
  • When asking a question, reverse the subject/verb order

While it may all seem strange at first, by the end, you'll be forced to admit that it's actually simpler than English grammar, which always seems to have a dozen exceptions for every rule. There's a bonus to all this, too. All Latin languages, also known as Romance languages, have the same grammar rules, so once you've mastered Portuguese, you'll already know the grammar for French or Spanish if you learn one of those.

Online Lessons Or Personal Tutor

There are plenty of resources for learning Portuguese online, and it's also simple to find a tutor. Both are great ways to learn a language, but each offers their own advantages and disadvantages.

Online Tutor

PROS

  • Cheap
  • Convenient
  • Learn at your pace
  • Choose the learning style that fits you
  • Find live chatting with Portuguese first language speakers

CONS

  • Not as reactive to your needs
  • Hard to know if a course is good till after you've paid for it

Hiring A Tutor

PROS

  • Personalized experience
  • Real-world discussions with a present human being
  • Easier to ask complicated questions and get full answers
  • The possibility of making a friend

CONS

  • Can be more expensive
  • Hard to know if a tutor is competent
  • Less flexible than online classes


Resources For Brazil Language Learning

There are plenty of great resources out there that can help you master this language.

1

italki home page screenshot

This lets you connect with Portuguese speakers via Skype and hold real conversations. You can pay for more advanced lessons or connect with a free language exchange partner. In language exchange, you give them English practice, and they give you Portuguese practice.

2

Semantica Portuguese

This great online video course teaches you through helpful videos and leads you incrementally through the language. The videos were recorded in Rio de Janeiro and offer that true "real life" touch.

3

Mimic Method

If you already have a little Portuguese under your belt, but you want to sound more like a native speaker, you should try this special accent training course to help you sound more natural. It's great for mastering conversational Portuguese for those who need some practice.

4

forvo

This online dictionary lets you find out the pronunciation of a Portuguese word quickly and accurately. Type a word into the search bar, and you'll immediately have it read back to you correctly.

5

wordreference

This is an especially good language resource. While there are tons of translation sites and online dictionaries, most will only give you basic translations. WordReference puts all the words into a conversational context and helps you grasp the more subtle meanings.

6

todo mundo pod

If you love podcasts, subscribe to this one. It's managed by a journalist in Brazil and not only gives you great listening practice but also helps you learn about Brazilian culture at the same time. This is a win-win for two reasons: first, it prepares you for the speaking to locals during your visit to Brazil, and second, it helps you understand the culture out of which the language derives. Knowing the culture behind any language will help you speak it better.

7

Speak Like a Brazilian

If you want to learn the slang, colloquial expressions, and even profanity that textbooks never teach, this is the site for you. It's always being updated with new information and expressions.

8

sualingua

Plug the above into a search engine to get to one of the best Portuguese blogs on the web. This one is written by a linguist who loves to talk about the nitty-gritty grammar issues and where words and phrases come from.

Conclusion

The Brazil language is a unique form of Portuguese influenced by local indigenous languages, Africans brought to South America as slaves, and French and Spanish Colonial influences. Although the language of Brazil is unique, it has much in common with the Portuguese spoken in other parts of the world and learning it will allow you to communicate with people in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America alike.

For English speakers, Portuguese is a relatively easy language to learn. It has a lot in common with English and also has straightforward and consistent grammar rules. The trick is to master the pronunciation and learn the vocabulary. If you do, you'll be well on your way to speaking the Brazil language in no time.

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