Me Talk Pretty One Day*

Read a book in Portuguese. One day I'll be fluent. -

I am hearing this book is the good book. I will read with help of my dictionary to make my Portuguese get better.


When I am speaking in Portugues, I seem like this. People can understand me, but is obvious that I am foreigner. Not Brazilian. For certain, nothing of Brazil, haha.

For example, the other time I spoke a story with my friend. I spoke, I said, I have said? “So remember I told to you my neighbors what helped me buy my bike? I rode my bike together with them to the city park on the other Saturday of the morning. It was awesome! We went for twenty six kilometers, is right? Twenty six? The uphills almost killed me, haha. It was awesome, and the park is really good for to ride bikes. Did you go there? I love the Japanese garden close to the lake. We have a beautiful day, with pretty blue sky and sun. After, on the last Sunday, we rode bikes with a other neighbor what just buyed his bike. We have rode to the airport, you are familiar with it? It was awesome! The uphills almost killed me, but I did it! Haha.”

I was born in California (on the west of the United States), you familiar? Is awesome! Very pretty. I adore the climate over there. Is the best climate of all other places I lived in the world. But is too expensive to live there. Ridiculous.

I never heard a person say Portuguese until I had more or less twenty seven years. No, thirty seven years, sorry. When Brian move here in Brazil, I made six classes in Portuguese in Houston. In Texas. In the United States. Do you know it? After, I learned from books, alone in house. I studied alone. I was familiar with no one to speak with.

So, when I arrive here, arrived here, I can read Portuguese, but not understand very good if a person to speak. Spoke.

Now I have lived here more or less three years? In total? I got better. I understand better, but I want to improve more. I want to be fluent. Speak fluently. Yes, is difficult. Yes, Portuguese is much complicated. No, I don’t understand the slang! What is “paying the monkey”? What is “iron forehead”? Is funny, but me loses.

Brian learned Portuguese in Brazil, working. He didn’t study from books very much, only a little. He learned bad words first, haha. He knows bad words in five languages, what means he can swear better and for longer time than what any other person in the world entire, haha!

He is Scottish, and lives here almost seven years, and he understands if someone speaks more or less 100%. His vocabulary is big but his grammar is horrible. I speak better than he does. More correct. He talks more informal, and is more fast to respond to people. He is accustomed to hear Portuguese better than me. His head translates faster.

People tell me my accent is very good, and that Brian is hard to understand when first meet. Portuguese with Scottish accent? Imagine!

I laugh and tell that his accent is worse in English. I tell that sometimes I understand his Portuguese better than what his English, haha! Is funny.

He understands better than what I do, and I speak better than what he does. Together we are a good team.

Now If I can find out how to combine our heads, we are fluent. More or less. Is awesome. Haha.

*Title borrowed from Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

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About akil3655

A Scotsman and his American photographer wife traveling the world and writing about it. Tales, reviews, photos, interviews and crazy goings on. Because you never know what's going to happen.

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4 Responses to Me Talk Pretty One Day*

  1. Natasha May 19, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Peg, this is hilarious! I love it! The funny thing is that I can hear the Portuguese version of what you said in my head as I am reading. Pretty much because I´m sure this is how I sound too! I had some lessons, (but probably not enough :) ) and the rest has just been listening and trying… my listening is actually pretty good, but my speaking is… well… you can understand me, but it must be frustrating to have a long conversation with me! My accent is ok, although I still have a few obvious gringa moments :) Sometimes, if I don´t say too much, and am reaaaallllllly confident, I can pass as Brazilian… for about 30 seconds :)

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      May 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      Thanks, Natasha! I’m glad I’m not the only one! Although you’re doing better than me if you can pass for Brazilian for 30 seconds. I only last about three words in. :D
      akil3655 recently posted..Me Talk Pretty One Day*My Profile

  2. M. Pires May 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Hello there,

    I was browsing through facebook and stumbled in your blog. I gotta say I gave some good laughs as I read your post, it’s funny because most of the foreign people that come to Brazil don’t even bother to learn portuguese and they expect that we give our ways to make them understand what we are trying to say. Even brazilian people don’t care about grammar or pronunciation.
    See someone who actually wants to learn the brazilian culture and language other than just come here because we have beaches and different music and nearly naked woman makes me think that there are people who believe Brazil have a great potential.
    I apologise for all that things said by some random stranger come out of nowhere but i really like the things you wrote and I felt you meant it.

    Best regards,
    A brazilian guy.

    • akil3655
      Twitter: kiltandacamera
      May 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      Thank you Sr. Pires! It seems to me that it is only my responsibility to learn Portuguese and try to understand the culture of Brazil since we live here now. I’m happy to do it, and feel lucky that I have the opportunity! Sadly, I do know a few people like the ones you mentioned, who come here and never learn any of the language, or get to know the culture here, and I think they are missing out. We adore Brazil, and the friends we have made here. I only hope I can improve my Portuguese so we can learn even more. It is a beautiful, complicated country and there us much to learn. :)