April 26, 2009

5 Tips to Remember a New Word in Portuguese

You have just learnt a new word that you really want to remember how to say it later... How do you make sure you don't forget it? Here are some tips to remember a new word you particularly care about. (It may be useful to pick a new word and really practice this things as an example).

1. Say the word out loud. You've heard the new word from your teacher, or read it somewhere and you understood its meaning... you may write it down and you are done. This step is makes sense and is very simple, but it is sometimes forgotten. Take a couple of seconds to repeat the word. Make sure you are comfortable pronouncing it. Then cover the word (if it is written) for a couple of seconds and see if you can remember it without looking (repeat until you can say it, at least just a couple of seconds after covering it up). See if you can say the word out lout after a few minutes have past.

2. Put the word into context (1): make a sentence. The very next thing would be to make up a sentence (or several). To focus on your new word, good sentences would be mostly formed of other words you already know (plus the new word). You can get started with any old sentence, but as you go own, try to make the sentences as realistic and as relevant to you as possible. Say you learnt the word avô (grandfather), then make a sentence about your own real grandfather (e.g.: O meu avô mora em Nova Iorque. or O nome do meu avô é John Smith.).

3. Put the word into context (2): visualize. You can try visualize the word by itself as you say it, but also think of the sentences you made in the previous point (you are more likely to use the word in a sentence than by itself later). You may visualize the meaning of the sentence, but, most importantly, imagine a context when you would actually say the sentence. For example, you may imagine the following for the word avô:

A: - Mary, esse é o meu avô, John Smith.
[Imagine the whole situation, introducing your grandpa to a real friend]

A: - Eu moro na California, mas eu sou de Nova Iorque.
B: - Que legal! O meu avô mora em Nova Iorque.

A: - Que lindo bebê! Qual é o nome dele?
B: - John Smith.
A: - Ah! O nome do meu avô é John Smith!

4. Put the word into context (3): use stickers. This is an old trick, but it is good. Say you want to remember the word for refrigerator (geladeira in Portuguese). Stick the word geladeira to your fridge, then every time you get close enough to your geladeira you will be reminded of the word. ... Sure, your avô would probably not like it if you put a sticker on him, but you may get away with placing one on a picture of him.

5. Use it! The more you use a word the more you will remember it, so make sue to get as much practice speaking Portuguese as possible! The more you speak, the more likely it is that you will end up having a chance to use your word.

[Note: You may not do this for every new word you hear... just a few that you really want to or may be having trouble remembering].

April 17, 2009

Expressions of Frequency in Portuguese

The blog is back! ... and the plan is to have a post per week. To get started, how about we look into how to say "once a week" and other similar expressions in Portuguese?

Once/twice a week:

Eu escrevo no blog uma vez por semana.
I write on the blog once a week.

... uma vez por semana. (once a week)
... duas vezes por semana. (twice a week)
... três vezes por semana. (3 times a week)

You can also use this expression for other time periods:

Eu viajo para o Brasil uma vez por ano.
I travel to Brasil once a year.

Eu vou ao cabeleleiro uma vez por mês.
I goes to the hairdresser once a month.

Exercise: Think of an activity that you do once a week and make a sentence in Portuguese expressing that. think of an activity that you do more than once a week and make a nother sentence. Example: Eu visito os meus pais uma vez por semana. Eu faço ioga duas vezes por semana.


= todo dia (slightly more casual) or todos os dias (slightly more formal):

Eu tiro foto todo dia.
I take pictures every day.

Eu chego ao trabalho às 9:00 todos os dias.
I arrive at work at 9:00 every day.

Exercise: Answer the question: Você estuda Português todo dia?

Every other day:

I like this one. To say every other day, you can literaly say: "one day yes, one day no": um dia sim um dia não:

A Mariana corre na praia um dia sim um dia não.
Mariana runs at the beach every onther day.

Exercise: Answer the question, if you can: Você tem tempo para estudar português um dia sim um dia não?

Once every X days:

You can express every X days by using the expression uma vez a cada X dias. For example, to say "once every three days" you say uma vez a cada três dias:

Eu vou na academia uma vez a cada três dias.
I go to the gym once every three days.

Update: Every Once in a While

You can say de vez em quando:

De vez em quando, eu vou caminhar no Central Park.

Every once in a while, I go for a walk in Central Park.

- Make a table scheduling your major regular activities for the week.
- Based on your table describe your regular activities. Make sure to use each of the four types of expressions that you learnt at least duas vezes!

Bom, that is it for now. I hope to see you here at least uma vez por semana.