European Portuguese with the Michel Thomas Method
The present tense is the first tense you typically learn in any language. Check my article below on the basics!
I was very fortunate to come across the Michel Thomas tapes back when I was first learning Portuguese. I really do believe that they were an excellent way to learn the foundations of Portuguese and start getting comfortable with the language. I actually have a goal to go through a bunch of their different languages to learn the basics of them all.
So what is the Michel Thomas method? In the tapes you will have a main teacher (who has an extremely pleasant english accent), 2 “students” and 1 native speaker. I put students in quotation marks because to me they already knew the language but were just pretending they did not know it. Making mistakes on purpose and so on. You will be considered the third person. So it is almost like you are in the classroom.
Anyway, you will be brought through different lessons starting with the basics and moving on up. Throughout the program you will keep building on what you learned in previous lessons. This is great because it re-enforces and really solidifies things you learned in the past. Putting it in your long term memory.
The instructions are not to look up words and study after. But to just listen and absorb during the lessons. This makes it very easy to do these lessons when commuting, walking or whenever.
During the lesson she will ask the students questions. You can either pause the audio and try to answer yourself, answer before the students do or listen to their answers and absorb it. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the students will make mistakes on purpose sometimes. Which I actually found helpful. Because it makes you think “You said it wrong” and you give the correct answer.
Usually the students will answer and then the native speaker will say it nicely and fluently.
They have a beginner and intermediate course. I believe I have gone through the beginner course around 3 times and the intermediate course around 3 times. The cool thing is the intermediate course just keeps building upon what you learned in the beginner course. So you are constantly bringing in past words and grammar.
The beginner course you go through a ton of the basics. Greeting people, saying your name, asking for food. You know, basic stuff. From what I recall it focuses mostly on the present tense in regards to verbs. Then towards the end you touch briefly on future and past tense. By the end of the beginner program you will have a nice basic understanding of the language and can say simple phrases with ease.
The intermediate course picks up where you left off in the beginner course. You will have the same instructor and students. The course is a bit tougher and touches more on the past tense and future tense. As well as more complicated sentences and grammatical structures. If you go through this course and learn the content well, you will have a very good grasp on the Portuguese language.
Nowadays I will still pop on the intermediate course when I am driving or in the sauna. It’s a good way to get some easy practice in and reinforce things.
This program is usually one of the first I recommend to people. It’s easy to listen to, does not move too fast and I find it very effective. On top of the program they do recommend you read 5-10 minutes a day. You don’t even need to know all the words you are reading, just read. By doing this you will start to understand sentence structure a lot more and be able to fill in the gaps to learn new vocabulary.
Michel Thomas now has a cool app where you can access all of their programs. You can purchase it here.