When I first started learning Spanish the biggest problem I had was trying to figure out what people were saying to me, not to mention how to say things to them. It didn't take me long to realize there were several phrases I just had to memorize and have handy when the time came. Well, now I'm learning Portuguese and I'm getting that feeling of deja vu. It's time to relearn those phrases all over, but this time in Portuguese.
Let's take a look at what I consider to be phrases you just have to know to help you get by as you start your journey with Portuguese.
The first thing you're going to realize is that you won't be able to understand a word of what people are saying to you, either because they speak too fast or you just don't have enough vocabulary under your belt. Let's start with asking people to slow down.
Pode falar mais devagar, por favor?
Can you speak slow please?
For newbie, that's mouthful. You can shorten that to:
Mais devagar, por favor
That's better. Probably easier to remember too.
Sometimes you simply just didn't hear what was said, maybe it's just too noisy. Whatever the reason is, you need to hear what was said again.
Fala de novo por favor
Say it again please
Fale mais uma vez, por favor
Say it one more time, please?
Você pode repetir por favor?
Can you repeat that, please?
O que você falou?
What did you say?
If you're thinking, "I'll never remember all that", you may be right. Just pick one of those options to start with. Which one? The one that's easiest for you to remember and pronounce. You've got plenty of time to master the rest later.
Those are some really good phrases, but wouldn't it be great if you didn't need them at all? A good strategy for making communication easier when you barely speak a language is to let people know in advance. If you tell them upfront you don't speak their language well they'll probably slow down without you having to ask.
Falo um pouco de português
I speak a little Portuguese
Falo muito pouco de português
I speak very little Portuguese
Eu não falo bem português
I don't speak Portuguese well
Estou aprendendo português
I'm learning Portuguese
Sometimes despite our best efforts, we just can't catch on to what's being said.
Eu não entendo
I don't understand
I hate it when that happens, but such is life. I try to struggle through those situations and stay the course, but sometimes you have no other option but to ask:
Você fala inglês?
Do you speak English?
Alguém Fala inglês?
Does anyone speak English?
The next set of phrases are actually going to empower you and help you learn even more Portuguese.
Como se diz em português?
How do you say it in Portuguese?
O que significa?
What does that mean?
Como se escreve?
How do you spell it?
Technically, escreve means write, but figuratively it has the same meaning.
Como se pronuncia essa palavra?How do you pronounce this word?
Could you write it down?
There you have it, a nice collection of phrases you need to memorize that will help take away some of your Portuguese language headaches. Check out this great lesson:
Useful phrases for learning Portuguese
The lesson is free to download (well, at the time of this posting it is). You may have to create an account (also free), but that's it. It's worth the trouble. The lesson is hosted on on a site called PortuguesePod101 and they release at least one free lesson every week. So definitely check the site out. They also have a number of podcasts for beginning Portuguese learners.
For those of you learning Spanish click here for the list of Spanish phrases every beginner should know.
Well, that's it for today, espero que sirva!