As you may know, I have been slowly learning Portuguese for the last 12 months. I was always a natural failure at foreign languages at school, a combination of my learning style (I work best with an almost entirely practical audio approach) and being part of the generation that was never taught English grammar or how to spell. As a result I am one of the few people to pass my English 'O' level a year early but can't tell the difference between an adverb and a adjective. My limitations in English have made learning Portuguese a particular challenge (my Portuguese teachers are always someone bewildered to spend time teaching me English as well) but after a year, I can manage a few basics. If you're going on holiday to Brazil, Portugal or any of the other nine countries where Portuguese is the official language, you might find this little introduction handy.
Pronunciation The first thing to know is that there are many different ways of pronouncing the words, depending which country you're in and even which part of it. Since my inspiration for learning is Bossa Nova, I have gone for Brazilian Portuguese. It's the most beautiful sounding language. It's worth knowing that in most cases you will use exactly the same words to ask a question as you will to make a statement. For example, to ask "Tudo bem?" (is everything good?) you will reply "Sim, tudo bem" (yes, everything is good). So don't forget to make your questions sound like questions - it's all in the inflection.
Gender Many of the words you use will change slightly depending the gender of the subject. If you are a man and you say "thank you", it's "obrigado"; if you're a woman it's "obrigada". To say "the red pen" it's "a caneta vehmelha" (pen is feminine so the adjective - red - is also made feminine); to say "the red car" it's "o carro vehmelho" (because car is a masculine word, red is also made masculine with an 'o' on the end). There are numerous rules and exceptions that make Portuguese a particularly tricky language (as I am always being told), and I could go on forever, but that'll do for now!
Here are a few words and phrases
- Hello = olá!
- Bye - Tchau
- Please = Por favor
- Thank you = Obrigado (if you're a woman say 'obrigada')
- How it's going/everything well? = Tudo bem
- Yes, everything is well, thanks = Sim, tudo bem, obrigado(a)
- Great! = Otimo!
- Nice to meet you = Prazer em conhecer você.
- What's your name? = Como se chama?
- I am Gary = Eu sou Gary
- Where are you from? = De onde você é?
- I am from London in England = Eu sou de Londrês, na Inglaterra.
- Are you Brazilian? = Você é brasileiro?
- I'd like a nice cup of tea and a sit down = Eu gostaria de uma boa xícara de cha e uma boa sentar.Uma boa xicara
Good luck my friends... boa sorte meus amigos!