I hope you are all having wonderful days!
A dear Uncle asked me about what my classes looked like, and I thought that was an excellent question and one that might interest you all. So here it is along with a little Portuguese lesson for you. (And who knows, if Eunice reads this, it may become part of my lesson too if I didn’t explain the Portuguese to you correctly.)
The part of language learning that is with my teacher is primarily in a class setting. This class time takes place in a studio in the city of Loures (LOUR-esh). We do take occasional field trips to help with cultural learning and practicing language in different situations. Those are always fun and exciting. I am in a class with one other person from my team (Nathan) and the teacher. And there are 6 other students right now as well with different class times. Outside of class Eunice gives us several hours of homework and then other assignments like listening to Portuguese for a couple hours a day: TV, going to a service at church [church = igreja (ee-GRAY-zhah)], conversing with Portuguese people, etc. She says learning Portuguese is our full-time job. Whew.
A day in class looks primarily like this: We go to our seats, greet each other good afternoon, and open the papers that Eunice brings in every day. We read headlines, get details of a few articles that catch our eyes, and discuss a few current events. Yesterday I also paged through a grocery store sale flyer and learned a ton of words for different foods and preparation methods. This time sparks cultural questions, brings up words we don’t know, and helps us practice some reading/pronunciation. At this time we also ask questions about cultural puzzles that have been raised, directions to places we want to go, help on learning words we want to know, or explanations on questions/conversations that have confused us when talking with Portuguese. This time is mixed Portuguese and English. Eunice (our teacher) will speak in Portugues (poor-too-GAYSH) and then switch to English when we need clarification (which for me is pretty often). I learn vocab this way too. At this point not much of my communication takes place in Portugues, but that will come. (I hope this is soon!)
After this time we move into “TPC” (Tay-Pay-Say) time, which is what the Portuguese call homework. We go over the assignments that Eunice gave us from the day before. Sometimes Nathan & I have some of the same homework, but often ours is different. Eunice corrects my grammar, I read and she corrects pronunciation, and she teaches based on questions that I thought of or things I don’t understand. Then she goes over some new material and provides more “TPC” to make sure I get the idea. Then we usually review some old stuff. She often has me conjugate verbs during this time. I am sorry to say, but am not surprised, that she probably knows more about English grammar terms than I do. She speaks excellent English and understands its intricacies very well. I feel so blessed to have such a gifted teacher because she is able to explain things so well, and compare Portugues grammar to English equivalents.
Then my classmate, Nathan, reads sections from a book he is translating from English into Portugues. This helps my vocab as well and allows me to hear long passages of Portugues spoken (this helps my ear begin catching words and phrases.)
And that is usually the day. There are occasional slight variations, but that is the general schedule. Our class is the last of the day on some days of the week, so on those days Eunice walks to the bus stop with us and continues conversation and explains things that we see and hear on the street. I love that too.
I thought I would give you numbers 1-10 today. They are really close to Spanish (which throws me off sometimes because the Spanish number comes to my lips instead of the Portugues.)
0 – zero (ZEH-roo), 1 – um (oon), 2 – dois (doysh), 3 – tres (traysh), 4 – quatro (KWAH-troo), 5 – cinco (SEENG-koo), 6 – seis (saysh), 7 – sete (SEH-teh), 8 – oito (OY-too), 9 – nove (NAH-veh), 10 – dez (dehsh)
I am so excited because it has been sunny the last few days, and I can enjoy being outside. I have been exploring a little on my bike and the countryside around Tojal (tow-ZHALL) (where I live) is so beautiful. There is still alot of water on the roads, so you have to watch where you are going, but the view is worth it. I can also do laundry, and have dry clothes the same day. When you wash clothes when it is cold and rainy, you don’t have dry clothes again for a while and that can be a problem if you don’t have 2 pairs of sweatpants, sheets, etc. But on sunny days the laundry dries quickly and smells great too.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter of “A Day in the Life of a Missionary Trying to Learn Portuguese”.