Posted in Portuguese

O Meu Método de Aprender

Practice text with notes. Thanks again, Dani, for the help

Quando comecei a aprender português há muitos anos, pus-me a memorizar as conjugações de verbos, e as regras e uma pilha de cartas de vocabulário. Este método é mais ou menos o mesmo que usámos na escola quando eu e os meus colegas da escola da escola aprendemos francês. Mas infelizmente é uma grande seca. Fiquei farto de flexões! Não fui capaz* de superar o obstáculo de aborrecimento, portanto não consegui aprender assim tanto.
Mais tarde, decidi assumir um comprimisso**: “aprender português ou morrer na tentativa!”
Comecei a ter aulas com uma professora aqui em Londres mas só mais tarde, quando ouvi um CD “Português com Michel Thomas” e depois li o livro do Benny Lewis***, cheguei a um nível de competência mais alto através de “Language Hacking”. Leio livros, vejo vídeos de Booktube português, oiço músicas… É mais divertido e por isso é mais provável que não desista!

*=não ser capaz, meaning “to be incapable” always seems like an unwieldy way of saying you can’t do something so in usually go for “não consigo” or “não posso” but it’s often a more natural way of saying it.

**=I wrote “fazer um compromisso” (make a compromise) but “assumir” is the better verb to use

***=I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this book before even when I wrote a whole blog post defending him from some guy who criticised him a couple of years back, but it’s good stuff. I think the idea of language hacking is pretty mainstream these days, but if you haven’t already come across it, that’s a pretty good place to start.

Posted in English

Becoming Fluent – Book Review

I just sort of filleted this book for ideas, rather than read every word. It’s looking at how adults learn languages, and how their acquired social skills and knowledge can compensate for the quickness and brain plasticity they might lack compared to children. It has some interesting “meta tips” in it. In other words, it doesn’t suggest any specific tools or actions or methods, but does talk about the kinds of ways adult minds learn languages and what general, broad strategies you can deploy to help things stick in your mind. Where it finds evidence lacking (eg that learning a language can stave off dementia) it is clear on exactly what does and doesn’t happen, and can be quite reassuring if you’re the kind of person who thinks they are past it, unable to learn or just uniquely shit and untalented at language acquisition.
In a sense it gives a lot of backing to the strategy often called “language-hacking”, which aims at getting people to grapple with the language more in a range of settings and study it less, but there are important differences. For example, it seems to be against the idea of massive input, and in favour of “little and often”. That’s not something you’ll hear in language hacking circles.
Quite interesting if you like to know the theory behind what you’re doing but if you really want to get stuck into a language you’re probably better off with something more hands-on like Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis