12 weeks to Português: Week Um

In preparation for my Brazilian Spring Break, I’ve decided to make an effort and learn Brazilian Portuguese.

I’ve been told that English isn’t spoken widely throughout the developing country, even in the more populated areas like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Whether or not that’s true, and while I can probably survive a week with English alone, I actually enjoy languages and think understanding Portuguese (even a little bit) would enhance my experience and time there. Besides, why should I travel to another country and expect them to speak my language?

My teacher for the next 12 weeks or so is Ms. Rosetta Stone (I’m assuming the feminine because Rosetta sounds like an old Latin American woman’s name). I don’t plan on documenting every week but I do want to give periodic updates to keep myself accountable and you all entertained.

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Let’s see how well this goes…


In one week of learning Portuguese, I’ve learned to say hello (Olá) and goodbye (Tchao). I’ve learned the basic colors (vermelho, amarelo, azul), how to count to 12 (… dez, onze, doze) and, naturally, what foods I want to eat (pão, arroz, sometimes maça). I’d also like to point out that I can give commands and ask questions to my dog (cachorro).

Now, I’ve probably taken six years’ worth of Spanish lessons throughout high school and college. Although I’ve never been fluent, I can understand and read the language pretty well.

I’m fully aware that Spanish is not Portuguese and vice versa. However, I’ve found that having a solid background in Spanish has definitely helped me grasp Portuguese rather quickly.

Naturally, there are different words (ie. cachorro and perro for dog) and the pronunciations are clearly distinct (rr = h), but overall being an English-speaking, Spanish-understanding individual, Portuguese isn’t so hard.

On the Rosetta Stone program itself, I haven’t decided if I’m a fan or not. At first I felt that it was slow-paced and very repetitive, and I often found myself rolling my eyes at what I already knew. At other times, though, it seemed to throw a curveball and I couldn’t figure out the one or two words they were trying to introduce.

But looking at it from the general perspective, it’s definitely a strong tool for all ages and abilities. I especially like the interactive online capabilities that offers a variety of games, stories and opportunities to practice speaking and writing with native speakers.

So after one week, there have been no troubles or difficulties in my journey toward speaking Portuguese. I have started the next section which has proven to be a little more difficult, but I’m not too worried.

What do you say?
Do you speak Portuguese? Have you ever used Rosetta Stone for another language? Would you like to place bets on how well I’ll understand the language in 12 weeks? Leave a comment below!

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