“Portuguese is the most voluptuous language, the most shimmering in Europe”
– Blaise Cendrars
Studying Portuguese in America isn’t as hard as you probably think. With large Brazilian and Portuguese populations, there are many options available to you to get you started.
And Boston is no different. As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston is the capital, and the largest, city in Massachusetts.
With more than 600,000 inhabitants, it has a vibrant urban society, where many cultures come together.
Brazilian and Portuguese American origins are numerous, and the presence of a beautiful community of Portuguese speakers in Boston is attested to by the blooming of many social groups in the city.
There are many reasons to take Portuguese lessons in Beantown: it is a Latin language relatively easy to assimilate for speakers of Spanish, French or Italian, and Portugal is an increasingly popular holiday destination – as well as Brazil and the famous city of Rio de Janeiro.
Now that you have made the decision to take foreign language lessons in Boston, we need to find out where, exactly!
Similarly to learning Portuguese in Chicago and other big cities, Portuguese is not a common language taught in grade school or high school. Children are more likely to discover French or Spanish at this level, but both are languages that can benefit and facilitate the learning of Portuguese in the future!
Fortunately, motivated children and families determined to have their offspring understand Portuguese can rely on independent language schools when the desired option is absent from the public schools in their area.
Studying Portuguese at a language school could be a great extra-curricular activity to compliment the study of French or Spanish in the American school system.
There are many ways to learn Portuguese in Boston
The Boston Language Institute offers seven levels of Portuguese study and training:
This course aims to provide beginners with a practical command of the vocabulary and grammar of the language. Topics include phonetics, expressions of time and quantity, subject pronouns, articles, possessives, interrogatives, and the present indicative of common verbs. Information about Brazilian culture is integrated to enhance student appreciation and use of the language. (Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language, second edition, Preliminary Lesson – Lesson 2)
Topics include prepositions, contractions, and irregular and stem changing verbs, demonstrative and reflexive pronouns, adverbs and the Preterit Perfect tense of regular verbs. The integration of Brazilian culture continues by identifying and comparing family members and structures. (Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language, second edition, Lessons 3-5)
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to use the preterit perfect tense of regular and irregular verbs, direct and indirect object nouns and pronouns; tag questions; prepositions “por” and “para”; use of the preterit imperfect. Topics will include clothing, shopping, consumer goods and markets. (Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language, second edition, Lessons 6-7)
After having done this course, students should be able to compare people and things; pronouns after prepositions; reflexives verbs and pronouns; impersonal subject; use of the preterit perfect and imperfect; interrogative pronouns; imperative mood (commands); review and additional use of prepositions “por” and “para”. Introduction to personal infinitive. Students will also learn about popular holidays in Brazil and how to accept and decline invitations. (Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language, second edition, Lessons 8-9)
This course introduces more advanced topics such as the present, past and future subjunctive. Students will learn how to use certain verbs to express doubt and uncertainty, emotions, wishes and hopes. Topics will include discussing making travel arrangements and itineraries. (Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language, second edition, Lessons 10-12)
This level will introduce more advanced topics: the future tense of indicative, the conditional; reciprocal verbs and pronouns; past participle and passive voice; present and past perfect. Review of the subjunctive. (Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language, second edition, Lessons 13-15)
This program is designed for students who are already proficient in the skills taught in Levels 1-6 and who want to increase their conversational abilities. Conducted entirely in Portuguese, this course provides students with an opportunity to markedly improve their speaking and listening skills. Magazines, video and audio resources designed to provide practical opportunities for vocabulary and skill development are selected to match student interests. Grammatical topics are addressed as needed.
You can also find other similar institutions elsewhere in the United States. So if you want to learn Portuguese in New York, Dallas, or San Diego, have a quick search on google to find out the options available in your city.
With Portuguese, you can speak to over 220 million native speakers across the world, from Portugal to Angola, Brazil to Mozambique.
Around 200 million of these Portuguese speakers are from Brazil alone, the fifth most populous nation in the world.
It is a country of real international stature which is shown by its place in the BRICS emerging economies, and its selection of to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
By studying Portuguese you can come to appreciate a culture which has a rich literary, musical, and cinematic heritage. In fact, people from Portuguese speaking countries have won Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards, the Palme d’Or, and multiple Grammy awards.
The Portuguese Program in the Department of Romance Studies offers a full complement of Portuguese courses, from beginner all the way to advanced levels. The courses focus on developing students’ speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills simultaneously, as well as introducing the culture of Portuguese speaking countries.
They also offer an Intensive Elementary Portuguese course which is equivalent to one year of college-level Portuguese.
They are also in the advanced stages of beginning to offer an inter-disciplinary minor which would build on some of the lower level courses that they offer. Here, students will be encouraged to broaden their horizons and take classes from other faculties at the University of Boston which offer relevant courses to the study of Portuguese.
It’s a great way to test your motivation for learning Portuguese! You should be aware that if you want to learn Portuguese in Miami, there are similar options available in the Magic City too.
The Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers work with, and for, the Brazilian, Cabo Verdean, Portuguese and other Portuguese-speaking communities to increase access and remove barriers to health, education, and social services through direct services, advocacy, leadership and community development.
MAPS in its present form was created in 1993 by the merger of two agencies: the former Somerville Portuguese American League (SPAL) and Cambridge Organization of Portuguese Americans (COPA), which had served the Portuguese speakers in the area separately for more than 20 years.
They merged to improve service provision and further unify the Portuguese-speaking community, including immigrants from eight countries around the world.
Find a language school that offers Portuguese classes in Boston
The Brazilian Club of Boston College (BCBC) is a student organization committed to sharing Brazil and its culture with the Boston College campus, as well as reaching out to the Brazilian intercollegiate network and the surrounding Brazilian communities.
As a club, they hold events to exhibit the lively traditions of Brazilian food, folklore, music, and dance, as well as raising awareness of political and social issues concerning Brazil and its global position.
Working with the ever-growing Brazilian population in the greater Boston area, they wish to ease the hardships that Brazilians and Brazilian-Americans face in the United States and celebrate their triumphant accomplishments.
The Brazilian Club of Boston College works to create a sense of close companionship within the club. They open their doors to anyone with a love of, or interest in Brazil and Brazilian culture.
The Boston Portuguese Festival aims at contributing to the dissemination of the Portuguese culture and heritage in the capital city of Massachusetts, combining its contributions of the past with its contemporary manifestations.
The purpose of the BPF is to provide a framework where all interested parties may unite and channel their efforts in promoting Portugal and its culture, not only to the Portuguese-American public, but also to the American community at large.
Their annual program brings to the Greater Boston area a showcase of the most expressive components of Portuguese culture and present-day reality, namely in the fields of Literature, Music, Cinema, History & Current Affairs, Science & Technology and Heritage.
Across Boston, you can find Portuguese-language private classes that you can have in your own home.
This is undoubtedly an excellent and personalized way to learn, provided you find a talented teacher you like.
First, find the right tutor. Be aware that, most of the time, the first hour of class is free, so don’t pass up the opportunity to get to know the tutor before committing to more lessons with him or her!
It will also be an opportunity to make a choice between European and Brazilian Portuguese, using slightly different standards.
Once you have established a connection with a tutor that you like, you can begin the learning process which will see you progress as much as you are willing to put the work in. This means that the more you study, the faster you will learn.
Boston has a large Portuguese speaking community
Ideally, you will need to find a native speaker (they could even be from Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique or Timor)!
You will then be able to correct your pronunciation defects and tonic accent errors. In addition, grammar and conjugation can be mastered easily, while you learn a lot of vocabulary according to your Portuguese conversation classes.
There is a good chance your tutor will give you a taste of the Lusitanian civilization.
They will help you to discover masterpieces of Portuguese letters, but also local specialties, and will not fail to indicate to you the best places to perfect your Portuguese skills.
To complete everything and crown your individual training in linguistics, you only need to plan an immersion stay, in Brazil for example, where the beaches of Copacabana will look like paradise!
The option of private Portuguese classes is available nation wide, so if you are looking for Portuguese classes in Los Angeles, this option will be available to you as well.
The internet is fiercely competing with the good old books available in bookstores: the Rosetta Stone method (despite its digital shift, with CD-ROM, etc) or the works of “easy Portuguese”.
To prepare for your next trip, or to savor the delights of Portuguese-speaking literature, it may be a good idea to connect to your Bostonian computer to discover a way of learning modern Portuguese: e-learning.
Beantown really is about baked beans.
Some programs (and they are more numerous) no longer hesitate to use online Portuguese courses or applications for smartphones.
You will find a wide range of websites to learn Portuguese, so be sure to do some research before you get going.
And if you are reading this from the West coast, then discover where to take Portuguese classes in San Francisco.