The other day, I felt a bit of saudade do Brasil. I missed hearing the Portuguese accent, and had a sudden desire to speak Portuguese!
So, I called up fellow polyglot Jimmy Mello for a chat!
This video is nothing more than an informal chat between the two of us in Brazilian Portuguese, and there are currently no subtitles, I'm afraid.
My Portuguese is around a C1 level (Advanced), and at a similar level to my Spanish. To find out how I learnt these languages, check out this post.
If you're not familiar with the Portuguese language, this is Brazilian Portuguese, which is very different from the European Portuguese variety.
(You can learn Portuguese through stories with Portuguese Uncovered — get a free trial here.)
Vocabulary varies widely between the two, and if you ever go to Portugal, you'll be shocked at how much the Portuguese accent can vary too! (Many people say it sounds like a different language altogether.)
The Brazilian Portuguese accent is smooth and lyrical, and the people are endlessly positive and lots of fun to talk to.
Definitely one of my favourite languages to speak!
I began learning Portuguese when I was around 22 years old, and visited Brazil quite a few times. I feel very comfortable speaking it, although it's been 7-8 years since I've spoken it regularly, so I'm definitely a bit rusty at the time of recording this chat.
My Brazilian Portuguese Accent
I've often been complimented on my Portuguese accent, and I think this is a reflection of the way I've learnt the language…
I did virtually no formal study of Portuguese when I learnt it.
But I did spend my time with Brazilians right from the start…
- Language exchanges
- Going to Brazilian events
- Making friends
I always say that developing a good Portuguese accent (or a good accent in any language) is not about study and practice — it's about interacting enough with people so you learn to communicate effectively with them.
A good accent is not about “accuracy”, it's about “effectiveness” – how effectively are you communicating with others?
For example, an English speaker might have a Scottish, American or South African accent. They're all very different. But if that person can modify the was they use their voice to get across their thoughts and convey their emotions appropriately, then their accent is effective.
[Tweet “Your accent in a foreign language is about effectiveness, not accuracy. “]
When I compare my Portuguese with languages I'm learning where I haven't spent that much time surrounded by native speakers, I notice a big difference in my ability to communicate convincingly. There's a gap that needs to be closed.
Anyway, I hope the video inspires you to take up Portuguese one day, or to keep going if you've already started!
To hear more language learning advice, why not listen to the I Will Teach You A Language podcast?