Brazilian Portuguese – The best language to learn.

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Hey everyone!

Check out this text I found about learning Brazilian Portuguese!

At the bottom of the page there is a link to its source. 🙂

That is why there are so many people learning Portuguese at Plural right now…

Kudos, Brazil!!!

If you want a decent return on your investment, says Helen Joyce, the best language to learn is Brazilian Portuguese…

Some lunatics learn languages for fun. The rest of us are looking for a decent return on our investment. That means choosing a language with plenty of native speakers. One spoken by people worth talking to, in a place worth visiting. One with close relatives, so you have a head start with your third language. One not so distant from English that you give up.

There really is only one rational choice: Brazilian Portuguese. Brazil is big (190m residents; half a continent). Its economic prospects are bright. São Paulo is Latin America’s business capital. No other country has flora and fauna more varied and beautiful. It is home to the world’s largest standing forest, the Amazon. The weather is great and so are the beaches. The people are friendly, and shameless white liars. You’ll be told “Your Portuguese is wonderful!” many times before it is true.

You won’t need a new alphabet or much new grammar, though you may find the language addicted to declensions and unduly fond of the subjunctive. You’ll learn hundreds of words without effort (azul means blue, verde means green) and be able to guess entire sentences (O sistema bancário é muito forte: the banking system is very strong). With new pronunciation and a few new words you’ll get around in Portugal and parts of Africa. If you speak Spanish, French or Italian, you’ll find half the work is already done — and if not, why not try? With Portuguese under your belt you’ll fly along.

Best of all, you’ll stand out. Only about 10m Brazilians have reasonable English, and far more Anglophones speak French or Spanish than Portuguese, of any flavour. I did not choose this language; it was thrust on me by the offer of a job in São Paulo. But when I think of my sons, now ten and five, one day being able to write “fluent Brazilian Portuguese” on their CVs, I feel a little smug.

Helen Joyce is The Economist’s São Paulo correspondent

Here’s the original link for the text 🙂

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And off we go! :-) Uses of the word “OFF”

Off normally functions as an adverb or a preposition but it can also function as an adjective and, more rarely, as a noun.

As an adverb its general meaning is:

  • away, as in ‘If you don’t need me any more I’ll be off ;or
  • not on or not connected to something, as in ‘She tried to push the dog off but it kept jumping up’.

As a preposition, it can mean:

  • close to something, as in ‘The restaurant is just off the main road’ or ‘Two miles off the coast we ran into a terrible storm’.
  •  you are no longer eating, using or doing something, as in ‘I’ve been off alcohol now for three weeks’ or ‘I’m off sweet things at the moment’.

As an adjective,Off can also mean:

  • that an event is no longer going to take place as planned, as in ‘Tonight’s match is off due to a waterlogged pitch’, or
  •  that something is no longer good, as in ‘I wouldn’t eat that meat if I were you. I think it’s off.
  • In the context of a restaurant, it can also mean that something is not available, as in ‘I’m sorry, sir, but the roast lamb is off.
  • If used to describe behavior, off is normally preceded by the phrase a bit and can mean strange or unusual, or even unacceptable and impolite, as in ‘Something about the way he talked was a bit off or ‘I thought the way he interrupted you was a bit off’.
  • Off is also used with well and badly. If you are well off, you are rich but if you are badly off, you are poor.

Finally, as a noun, the off means:

  •  the beginning of something such as a sporting event or a party, as in ‘We were all there waiting for the off when the lights went out’.
Thanks to Tim Bowen at onestopenglish.com
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FAILURE: THE SECRET TO SUCCESS

by Luciana Nunes
Hey guys!
I found this great video and made some questions about it for a conversation class. It worked very well for an advanced group, maybe with some changes it may be a good idea for other levels.
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Boa pronúncia: tudo a ver com as suas conexões! (PARTE 1)

Quando falamos em pronúncia, a primeira coisa que vem a mente é o como falar palavras corretamente. Certo. Isto também é importantíssimo, ninguém quer sair por aí falando spread shit  /ˈspred .ʃɪt/ ao  invés de spreadsheet /ˈspred.ʃiːt/  . Só que isso é só a ponta do iceberg!

Pronunciar uma sequência de palavras corretamente é o que vai fazer você soar bem no outro idioma. É o que vai fazer com que a sua fala tenha musicalidade e ritmo, que não seja um aglomerado de sons desconectados. E pasmem: Isso vai fazer com que você entenda melhor as pessoas falando em inglês. É como você conseguisse entender a imagem de um quebra-cabeça, mesmo sem que todas as pecinhas estejam em seus lugares. Atenção meus alunos: não é a primeira vez que vocês ouviram isso, né? 😉

O bom disso tudo é que existem regras! E as regras ajudam! Neste post eu vou colocar algumas delas. É claro que não fui eu quem inventou tudo isso. Se você quiser mais informações a respeito, dê uma olhada neste livro, ou neste. Um dos autores deste último livro, o Marcello Marcelino foi o meu professor de Fonética na Pós. Ele sabe MUITO do assunto – e dá uma aula bárbara!

Se você tiver alguma dúvida ou quiser alguma informação extra, é só me dar um alô. Fico feliz em ajudar. 🙂

Bem,, nesta parte 1, vamos falar de:

  1. SONS QUE DESAPARECEM

Mágica? Não. Redução de esforço! Sabe quando alguém fala: “Os nativos falam muito depressa, por isso é difícil de entender”  Então. Não é questão de rapidez, mas da conexão de sons.

SONS IGUAIS (OU PARECIDOS) NÃO SE REPETEM

Por exemplo: (sim, poderia ter usado símbolos fonéticos, mas assim também funciona)

GAS STATION – é pronunciado  /GUÉ – STEI – XÓN/ – O “S’ da palavra “GAS” desaparece. E, pelo amor de Deus, não diga /IS-TEI-XON/ A palavra “station” tem duas sílabas, não três…

***I WANT TO TRAVEL LIGHT – /AI –UAN – TÂ –TRÉ -VÂ –LAIT/  – Nesta frase, dois sons desaparecem: o primeiro é o”T” de want (que, como em todas as palavras que terminam com T, já não tem muita força mesmo – Não fale /UAN – TCHI/, com duas sílabas e sim /UANT/, uma sílaba com o “T” bem fraco. O segundo é o “L” de Travel, que faz essa palavra, normalmente pronunciada /TRÉ-VÂU/, virar /TRÉ-VÂ/, quando a palavra seguinte começa com “L” também.

Legal. A regra está clara, certo? SONS IGUAIS OU PARECIDOS NÃO SE REPETEM…

Agora vou mostrar um exemplo muito interessante. Leia as duas frases abaixo em voz alta:

I TALK TO MY MOTHER EVERYDAY.

I TALKED TO MY MOTHER LAST NIGHT.

Certo. Sabemos que a primeira frase está no simple present e a segunda, no simple past. (há o -ed no verbo, porque “TALK” é um verbo regular)

Mas na hora de falar o verbo, qual é a diferença dos sons?

RESPOSTA: ABSOLUTAMENTE NENHUMA!

Como assim nenhuma? Pois é:

Pronunciamos o “-ed” do passado da maioria dos verbos regulares como /t/ ou /d/.(Às vezes pronunciamos como /Id/ – a diferença destas pronuncias será um tópico para outro post…).

Como, no exemplo acima, a próxima palavra (a preposição “to”) começa com o som /t/, temos novamente dois sons iguais e um será eliminado. Lembre-se que em “talked” não pronunciamos o “e” do”-ed”. Então não diga /TÓL-KÉD/, com duas sílabas; e sim /TÓLKT/, com uma sílaba só.

Então, a pronúncia da frase acima no passado ou no presente será:

/AI-TÓLK -TÂ-MAI--THÂR/

“Como eu sei então se eu estou falando no passado ou no presente, então?” Você pode estar pensando… Pelo CONTEXTO! No exemplo acima, se eu não tiver o adverbial de tempo “everyday” ou “last night”, eu realmente não saberei em que tempo verbal a frase está.

Mais um exemplo legal de sons que desaparecem… Leia a frase abaixo em voz alta:

IT’S A GREAT CHANCE FOR YOU.

Ok. Nenhum /t/ ou /d/ ou letras e sons iguais, né?

Bem, preste um pouco de atenção na pronúncia da palavra “CHANCE”: /TCHÉNS/ (uma sílaba, não se pronuncia o “e” final). Todo o “CH” do inglês tem um som de /TCH/ – com exceção de palavras estrangeiras como “chef”. Daí encontramos o nossos sons iguais: o /t/ final da palavra “GREAT” desaparece por causa do /t/ inicial da palavra “CHANCE”

Então, a frase de cima fica:

/IT – ZA –GREITCHÉNS -FÂR –IÚL/

Que é igualzinho falar:

IT’S A GRAY CHANCE FOR YOU

O que me faz saber que eu estou falando a palavra “GREAT” e não “GRAY” é o contexto *novamente*! Faz muito mais sentido falar em uma “grande oportunidade” que em uma “oportunidade cinza”, não é mesmo ? 🙂

Vocês tem mais algum exemplo destes sons que desaparecem? Mandem suas contribuições! 🙂

***A propósito, o que quer dizer “to travel light” ? Não quer dizer fazer regime enquanto viaja, muito menos viajar para um lugar com muita luz *rsrsrs* To travel light quer dizer viajar com a mala leve, sem levar coisas demais.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? DO YOU TRAVEL LIGHT THROUGH LIFE?

Na parte 2 deste tópico, vou falar de sons que migram – STAY TUNED!

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Super Size Me

Because I had recently posted a TED.com video, I remembered this other video which is also a hit in conversation classes.

I use the first five minutes from the documentary Supersize Me, directed by Morgan Spurlock, which criticizes the way Americans (and people from the whole world, as a matter of fact) are eating too much fast food and consequently becoming obese and incredibly unhealthy because of this abuse.

On the first five minutes of the movie, Morgan gives an overview on how big the this issue is in the US and introduces his challenge to eat nothing but McDonald’s food for a whole month to see how it would affect his health (crazy guy, if you ask me)

This video is great for conversation classes, because EVERYBODY has an opinion about healthy eating and bad eating habits. On top of that, there is a lot of interesting vocabulary to work on.

Also, because on this first bit Morgan talks about the figures concerning fast food consumption, obesity and its related health problems; the video is a great source of how to introduce figures and information when making a presentation. – Of course, he does so in an informal way in his documentary, but the expressions he uses are very interesting.

I have prepared a handout for my students with the transcription of the first five minutes and a fill-in-the-blanks activity. I´ll be happy to share if you´re interested 🙂 Just send me your email address and I’ll send it to you.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Do you want to live to be 100? What are you doing today to make it possible?

I have been using this TED.com video at pretty much all my conversation classes. First of all because I think the topic is great for a conversation class. (You can talk for hours, just using a few minutes of the video and ask the students their views on the topic) Second, there’s some really cool vocabulary to study and, finally it’s great to illustrate a class on presentation skills.

Hope you all enjoy!

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Is the English language full?

By Alex Beam

I love neologisms, coinages, new words, whatever you want to call them. I think “staycation” is hilarious. Daniel Maurer, author of “Brocabulary: The New Man-i-festo of Dude Talk” is merchandising the words “brobituary” and “manecdote.”

Brobituary is the all-too-apropos term for the valedictory speeches a man hears at his wedding. Full of praise and good feeling, they signal that the portion of his life worth living has come to an end.

A manecdote is a story that emphasizes one’s manliness. Like the time I talked about repairing the garage door. Which I still haven’t done.

These words are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been keeping tabs on the marketing-driven variants of “metrosexual,” which now include “petrosexual” and “jetrosexual.” What about “retrosexual,” which fits me to a T? Whenever I hear that two young people are getting married, I exclaim: “To a member of the opposite sex? How exotic.”

Conventional wisdom likens the English language to a healthy, growing organism that easily generates new words like “poke” (in the Facebook sense), “ginormous,” “crowdsource,” or “webisode.” Every few years, a new edition of Merriam-Webster or American Heritage issues a press release commending themselves for integrating words like “Web-surfing” and “Islamo-fascism” into their dictionaries.

Similarly, the language purges itself of words that are no longer of any use, like “etiquette,” “manners,” and “modesty.”

Are new words as great as we think they are? Paul MacInnes, writing for The Guardian newspaper, says no. “The common line is that any new word is a good word,” he says. “It shows a vibrant, playful language shaped by those who practice it.” He continues: “Not often, however, does anyone stop to ask whether this is a good thing, whether … the English language is full.”

Full! Interesting concept: New Words Need Not Apply.

MacInnes caught up with something called The English Project, supported by the BBC, the English Speaking Union and other worthies, which “aims to create … an innovatory ‘language exposition’ (or ‘living museum’) where visitors – both physically and virtually – will be able to explore the English language in all its vigorous complexity across time and geography.” Their Web site is http://www.englishproject.co.uk.

The EP has been harvesting what it calls “kitchen table lingo,” previously unheard words that might be used by as few as three people. “If enough other people start to use your words,” they announce, “then they could end up in the Oxford English Dictionary!”

MacInnes and other Brit lingoists seem underwhelmed by the Project’s discoveries. Residents of the United Kingdom, we learn, have invented many, many words for the telly’s remote control. (Just as the Canadians have many descriptive words for underwear, including “gaunch,” “gotch,” “gitch,” and “ginch.”) In Britain, “podger,” “blipper,” “twitcher” and “melly” are just a few of the new names for the remote.

I call our remote “the situation,” as in, “hand me the situation, please.” This is not the most precise term, because often I am handed a Kleenex, the Economist magazine, or just a beleaguered look. “Do we really need new words for the remote?” MacInnes asks, and one would have to say: No.

More Sarah Palin-dromes!

The contest isn’t over yet, as excellent entries continue to find their way to my inbox. (A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same backward or forward, the classic example being, “Madam, I’m Adam.”)

Serial palindromist George Lovely chips in, “Woe! Dawns Sarah harassn’ Wade. Ow!” where Wade refers to Roe v. Wade, of course.

Alison Merrill sent in a serious candidate for world’s longest Palin-drome: “‘Ah! I made veep.’ – S.P. Moody? Baby? Doom? P.S. Peeved am I, ha!”

In contrast, brevity is the soul of Ira Richler’s wit: “Peeve: Babe veep.”

Bob Treitman sent me “‘Hey, did I harass?’ Sarah: ‘I did, yeh.”‘

From Hastings, in the United Kingdom, Paul Barlow put down the podger long enough to send in eight, repeat eight, vice-presidential palindromes! On McCain’s vice-presidential announcement, he writes, “Avid dog delivers reviled god-diva.” On Palin’s election as Alaska’a governor, “Hara! She won snow eh? Sarah?”

Brace yourself. There are more.

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