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January 11, 2010



As a person who is learning, and aspires to one day speak portuguese, I envy you.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

I admire your trilingual status. I attempted Spanish in high school, but never put enough effort into knowing more than I needed to pass a class. In college I tried French, and having a fluent French roommate helped, I still was so far behind where I wanted to be once class ended I soon forgot.

I tip my hat very very far to you.



As someone who speaks Portuguese (first language) and Spanish (high school, college, personal study), I can completely relate to what you're saying. The ability to speak other languages opens up new worlds: whether it's reading news in countries where those languages are spoken or just befriending people from such countries, it's truly a marvelous blessing.

However, I would assume that you probably have a knack for languages than is greater than you may give yourself credit for. In my opinion as a Brazilian, Portuguese is particularly difficult due to the multiple verb conjugations which vary according to each situation, and it takes time to get a "feel" of when each specific tense is used. Throw in thousands of vocabulary words, with many words that have synonyms but whose usage depends on context, and you've got a recipe for a difficult language to learn. (Granted, this last point applies to every language.)

What is ironic is that because I've been trilingual since my early adulthood (Spanish came last) is that it's so second-nature to me that I don't see it as a big deal. More than a few people have been impressed, but to me it's as natural as breathing. It also has to do with the fact that I've met people who spoke 4 or 5 languages with complete fluency. A former coworker of mine spoke English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Arabic with absolute fluency, and she was quite good at Portuguese too!


I really enjoy reading your blog and hope to, one day, move from NYC to Rio.
Can you recommend a language school in Rio, if I just want to come down for a few weeks?

Rio Gringa

Thanks guys! Carlos, you should read "Bel Canto" if you haven't already. It's about an interpreter who speaks multiple languages and it is one of my favorite books.



Congratulations.. Going from English to a Latin language with its different conjugations is not easy..but once you've managed to learn one it starts to make sense. I totally agree with what you said and the quotes, and I think that speaking other languages made me who I am today and changed my path in life.. I currently speak 3 and 1/2 languages and I'd like to improve my 1/2 and learn 2 more!




That's so true. However, you have to admit that
there's something special about Brazilian Portuguese. The French and German I learned in high school and college did not have the
same impact and hold on me that Portuguese has had. Learning how to master the nasal sounds of the ã, ão, etc. and knowing when to change the d's and t's to j's and ch's has been such a pleasure. Then, having a Brazilian friend call me queridinho, pretinho, fofinho or whatever diminuitive is something I just eat up.

To the person who asked about a language school in Rio, I'd like to recommend one in Salvador, Bahia called Casa do Brasil. They do intensive language/cultural programs and can arrange home stays. The owner, Denise, is a wonderful person. Though I'd recommend studying before you go since you barely get your feet wet with just one or two weeks of classes. The Brazilian Portuguese podclass (on iTunes) is a fantastic course, and it's very reasonable, too. I still do each lesson, whether it's high beginner, intermediate or advanced, and am always learning something.


"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." --Nelson Mandela

Teach me portugues agora mami! Eu querro falar...lol awful.

Elena Betts

languages sure are a wonderful gift! Props to you for making it so far in your knowledge of spanish and portuguese. I hope to one day be able to say the same as you about my ability to speak portuguese! I'm completely fluent in spanish, and although my portuguese is no longer "miserable" (as you so aptly put it), it's very far from perfect! Hopefully with little more dedication and a lot more time spent in Brazil, I can make it to being near-fluent :) Wouldn't that be nice...at least having a Brazilian boyfriend is great motivation to learn!

John Moxford

Learning portuguese has never been made easier. I came across this wonderful resource that helps you learn portuguese in the fastest and easiest way. Check this out.


Você deve ser orgulhosa, sim. São poucos os americanos que conseguem (ou, infelizmente, querem) falar um língua estrangeira.

Como outro americano que fala portugûes, fico contente que tenha outros com paixão pela língua portuguesa. Parabéns.

Descobri seu blog hoje pelo site Global Post, e fiquei bem interessado na visão de outro americano sobre Brasil. Vou acompanhar...


Deve ficar orgulhosa, sim. Conquistar outra língua não é fácil (e, infelizmente, muito americano não consegue nem quer aprender uma língua estrangeira). Parabéns.

Descobri seu blog pelo site Global Post e fiquei interssado na visão de outro americano sobre o Brasil. Vou acompanhar....

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