Week 1 of Portuguese 2016


Today is the end of week 1 of my New Years resolution to learn Portuguese to fluency this year. I’m planning to make weekly videos, hopefully 52 of them, so that myself and others can track what I am hoping will be improvement over the coming 12 months.

Firstly, I’ll outline my previous experience with Portuguese. I spent the last 6+ months using Duolingo every day to familiarise myself with the language, how it sounds, its vocabulary and spelling, as well as its basic grammar. In doing so, however, I made little to no effort to every speak the language.

Week 1 recap:

I started focusing on Portuguese intensely as my primary language on January 1st. Here’s an outline of what my last week’s looked like. To be honest I hit the ground running, probably doing between 2-4 hours of Portuguese study a day. Straight away I ditched Duolingo took up more serious resources. I’m using Practice Makes Perfect Basic Portuguese working through every single exercise while applying the German Volume Method, and putting each exercise into Anki. On top of that I’ve found some lovely native speakers from Brazil using Speaky and Hello Talk, and am speaking with them on a daily basis via messages (yet to have my first face to face discussion in Portuguese). I’ve also been writing small essays and uploading them to be corrected on Lang-8. I’m also listening to BrazilianPodClass episodes several times each daily.

I’m relatively impressed at how fast I am picking up Portuguese as my L3 compared to where I was at with French my L2 the same time last year (I was only using Duolingo this time last year for French). I feel like I’m putting together more complicated sentences quicker, and learning vocabulary a lot faster than previously. I’m putting this down to having a language learning plan to implement this year for Portuguese, whereas last year for French I didn’t know what I was doing. Furthermore, I’ve really tried to focus on covering the basics thoroughly before moving on, i.e. this week the main focus has been perfecting the present tense of all three verb types ending in -ir, -er and -ar.

I think another big reason for rapid improvement, aside from having a plan this year, is having spent a good 6+ months using Duolingo on a daily basis for familiarisation, repeatedly going over the basics.

So with no further ado here it is. Week 1 of Portuguese 2016.


Author: Pete Smissen

I'm a PhD student with an ever developing passion for learning foreign languages. I started this blog to flesh out and share my thoughts and ideas on how to go about learning foreign languages to fluency. I am more interested in concept based approaches that each individual can tailor to their own personal living situation, interests, attention span, etc.

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