Portugues em junho?!

You could be forgiven for not having realized that this past month was Portuguese Month. Yes, I have been furtively reciting Portuguese sentences under my breath while the rest of you were going about your lives, blithely unaware.

Trying to stick to my goal of starting not just a new language every month but also a different learning method, I decided to try out Glossika.

Glossika offers two methods: intensive and relaxed.

The intensive method involves, very roughly, listening to mixed recordings of English and Portuguese sentences, copying them down, and then recording yourself speaking them. It means devoting at least 30 minutes a day to listening, writing, reading, and speaking. I’m still not clear on the details.

The relaxed method just requires listening to English and Portuguese sentences and reciting after it. It only takes about ten minutes. You hear an English sentence like “these bags are heavy,” and then you hear the Portuguese version. Unlike, say, Pimsleur, you don’t get time to come up with the Portuguese translation by yourself first. The sentences repeat in an interleaved fashion, simulating a spaced repetition system.

Naturally I chose the relaxed method. I also waited until the month was halfway over to start. Unfortunately, two half-asses do not make a full ass. I can’t say I really gave Glossika a fair shake (har har). What I can say is that after two weeks of listening and repeating, I find some of the sentences still echoing in my head later in the day. Sometimes I can come up with the Portuguese translation right before I actually hear it.

The Glossika booklet doesn’t say what kind of result I should expect after finishing all 100 relaxed method recordings. I don’t feel like I’m learning to speak Portuguese, not least because I’m not doing any active sentence production. However, next time a Portuguese speaker asks me, nicely, whether my bags are heavy, or whether Lisa is from Toronto, I’ll be ready.

Meanwhile, I’ll consider trying the intensive method.

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