Learning a new language

To learn how to converse in another language, without the help of a teacher or classroom is a daunting task, takes commitment, discipline and desire. The results are slow, the work monotonous, due to the memorizing of foreign words requiring repetition. The rules of grammar require that you remember enough words to make at least short sentences, that are then incorrect, at least half the time.
Most important requirement for learning a new language is passion. If you don’t posses a deeply felt interest in the people and culture of the country to which the chosen language is spoken, it’s not likely that you’ll find the motivation to follow-through on the commitment. Learning Portuguese requires; desire, commitment and discipline.
Rewards for learning Portuguese are too numerous to count, but for me the most significant can be stated in one word – Brazil.

In my quest to master Portuguese I’m deploying some technology to both accelerate the process and to make it more enjoyable, also because discipline is the weakest aspect of the three requirements (desire, commitment and discipline), since I’m easily distracted by email, web pages, my computer and or Blogs – I’ve decided to incorporate a Blog, web pages, emails and my computer into the very process of learning.
First, all students need a curriculum and a course. I recommend the following;
* Living Language, Conversational Portuguese, a complete course in everyday Portuguese by Oscar Fernandez, Director Portuguese Program, New York University. Based on a method devised by Ralph Weiman formerly Chief of Language section at the U.S. War Department.
My preference for learning is use multi-media, so I use the computer for reading, the speakers for listing and I repeat much of what is being said, then take the tests and quizzes that follow each lesson. To prompt me to stay consistent (discipline) I create a word of the day both for my Blog and on a flash card with a date and a note to myself, this helps to provide encouragement when looking back, weeks later.
It’s important to realize that “inch by inch, it’s a cinch” “yard by yard, it’s hard”, translation; there is no short-cut to learning a new language but the best advice I can provide is to learn a little each day, try not to miss a single day because it’s the accumulated effect after an extended period, when the breakthroughs start to happen. All of a sudden you’ll realize you understand more and that you can actually put words together and make sentences that other people understand, then you realize it’s all been worth the while.

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