June is the month of the “Santos Populares!”

“Santos populares” in Lisbon

June is a special month in Lisbon and Portugal. Lisbon gets even nicer than usual with more parties, more music, and more fun!
The Popular Saints Festival is celebrated throughout the month of June in our country. The most important party (Santo António – Saint Anthony) is celebrated on the 13 of June.
In the north of the country, in Porto, the most important celebration happens on 24 of June to celebrate “São João”.
In Lisbon and in Porto you will find the streets decorated and animated for many days before and after the parties.

How do Portuguese people celebrate these parties?

In the capital of the country, parties take place in the oldest parts of the city – Ajuda, Alfama Mouraria, etc. If you decide to visit Lisbon at this time of the year you will see beautiful decorations everywhere.
Sardines are the main traditional food at this time of the year during celebrations.


And, if you want to impress your partner, you can offer him/her a small bushel of basil, and don’t forget to include a note of love.
The most important event takes place right in the city center on the 12th of June. The atmosphere is great and the party begins around 9 pm and lasts several hours!
The music across the festival season includes FADO and PIMBA – 2 Portuguese traditional types of Portuguese music. (we prefer Fado!)
Don’t forget to take with you training shoes to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere!

popular saints in lisbon in june

Portuguese language museum

It is the only museum in the world fully dedicated to an idiom. It was inaugurated in 2005 in a train station in São Paulo in Brazil.

The objective was to create a great and different museum about the Portuguese language. In fact, there are aspects of the language that can be surprising even for Portuguese people. The idea is oriented towards Portuguese speakers that live all over the world, from Portugal to Africa, the islands and also Brazil.

It tries to clarify things like history, the particularities and also the evolution and the idiom.

Everything started in 2002 when the station was renovated. The Estação da Luz (the name of the train station), used to be the first contact that thousands of immigrants from many different countries had with the Portuguese language. In fact, the influx of non-Portuguese immigrants in Brazil had a very important influence on the evolution of the Portuguese language.

The museum is very interactive and if you decide to visit it you will be in contact with art and loads of technology. Not far from the expositions, visitors can also see the Tree of languages, a masterpiece sculpture about the Portuguese language.

The place is divided into several rooms. The Auditorium speaks about the rise of human language. The Grand Gallery is related to different aspects of the language and part of the culture: music, human relations, food, and much more.
Portuguese poems can also be found in this place in a great projection with sound and images to complete your experience in this fantastic museum about the Portuguese language.

portuguese language museum

Christmas wishes in Portuguese

Christmas in Portugal

If you take your Portuguese course at our school in November or December, you will learn how to wish for a good Christmas in the Camões language. This date is very important for the Portuguese people! Christmas in Portugal is the time of family reunion.

Christmas Eve (December 24) is the date when all the people in the family get together to fraternize. At midnight the Christmas presents are open and this is an especially important time for the children. The following day (December 25), is often the extension of the previous night.

The lunch of the 25th of December is also an important moment in the Christmas of the Portuguese people. At this time of the year, the Portuguese feel closer to each other. People are nicer and more generous. Christmas is definitely a unique time.

If you are in Portugal on this date, and if you want to wish a good Christmas in Portuguese, you should learn and use the following expressions:

“Bom Natal para si e para os seus!” – Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Festas felizes” – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

“Feliz Natal com muito amor e saúde” – Merry Christmas with a lot of love and good health

“Boas festas com muita paz!” – Merry Christmas and a happy new year with peace

“Feliz Natal e próspero ano novo” – Merry Christmas and a happy new year

“Bom Natal e feliz ano novo!” – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

christmas-wishes-portuguese-lisbon

Days of the week in Portuguese

Days of the week

The days of the week in Portuguese have rather bizarre names. However, they have an interesting history. Although ancient Latin established a relationship between the days of the week, the moon, and the pagan gods, the Portuguese related the days of the week differently.

The names of the different days of the week are associated with the days of the old fairs. Exceptions are the days of Saturday and Sunday.

So the days of the week in Portuguese are:

“Segunda-feira = 2ª-feira” – Monday

“Terça-feira = 3ª-feira”– Tuesday

“Quarta-feira = 4ª-feira” – Wednesday

“Quinta-feira = 5ª-feira” – Thursday

“Sexta-feira = 6ª-feira” – Friday

“Sábado” – Saturday

“Domingo” – Sunday

“Segunda-feira” (or Monday) means “second fair”. “Terça-feira” (or Tuesday) means “third fair.” We can apply the same logic for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

So the question is: why does the week start with “second fair” and not “first fair”?

The answer is because the first day of the week is “Domingo” (Sunday), which is related to the word “Domini” that comes from Latin. “Domini” means the day of God.

According to Portuguese culture, the first day of the week should be dedicated to God, the creator of the world.

The days of the week in Portuguese reveal two interesting things about the Portuguese culture:

1. Portugal as a religious and monotheistic country

2. The relationship between the Portuguese and trade

On a day-to-day basis, the Portuguese often do not use the word “feira = fair” because when they say “Segunda = Monday”, the receiver will understand that it is Monday. The same logic applies for all other days of the week (except Saturday and Sunday).

Regarding Saturday, this word is related to “sabbath.” It is believed that there is a relationship between this word and Judaism.

It is very common to see the abbreviated days of the week. Examples:

2ª-f = Monday

3ª-f = Tuesday

Sáb = Saturday

Dom = Sunday

Example of use:

“Aberto de terça a sábado das 10:00 às 19:00” – Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00 to 19.00 Hrs.

We hope you have enjoyed this article!

days-of-the-week-in-portuguese

How to order a coffee in Portugal?

Coffee in Portugal

Coffee in Portugal is a fundamental part of Portuguese culture. Drinking a coffee with someone is a reason to socialize. But drinking good coffee is also a pleasure for the Portuguese people.

But for a foreigner, ordering a coffee in Lisbon or in Portugal isn’t a simple task. In fact, the drink that is usually an “expresso” in other countries may have many different names in Portugal.

In this article, you will learn the different names used for coffee in Portugal. You’ll also get to know the different ingredients that beverages with coffee take.

INGREDIENTS AND RESPECTIVE NAMES

Bica, café or cimbalino (depends on the region of Portugal): it is a coffee that is usually called by “expresso” in other countries.

Abatanado: it is similar to the famous “Americano” but with less quantity. Two coffees with plenty of water. Some people call it “double”.

Carioca: It’s a weak coffee. The beans are placed in the machine and coffee is taken. Then coffee with the same grains is taken again.

Italiana: It’s a very short coffee. Express medium. One says it is stronger than the normal expresso.

Meia-de-leite: served in a larger cup. It’s a drink with coffee and milk. Take a coffee and then fill a large cup with milk.

Galão: equal to “meia de leite” but served in a glass. It takes more milk and more coffee.

Café duplo: two coffees or two expressos without adding water (so a bit different from “abatanado”).

Café pingado: it’s a coffee with a little bit of milk (a few drops of milk)

Garoto: It’s a coffee with milk foam. This term is more usual in the south of Portugal.

Descafeinado: it is a coffee without caffeine (actually it is a coffee with much less caffeine because this drink still contains some)

Café em chávena escaldada: It is a common expression but in this case the person who is going to drink it wants to have it as hot as possible.

Café em chávena fria. Exactly the opposite of the previous one. Who drinks it, wants the coffee colder. Often, the waitress spills the cup over cold water before taking the coffee.

Café com cheirinho. The famous “cheirinho” means a bit of bagasse in the cafe. Some believe that this drink works as a digestive …

Café sem ponta. We only start filling the cup after the first few drops of coffee.

Coffee with lemon drops. A normal coffee with a few drops of lemon. Some people believe it takes the headaches out.

order-coffee-portuguese

How to choose your language school in Lisbon

Choose a language school in Lisbon

If you are about to start a Portuguese course at a language school in Lisbon, you have to read this article. Not all schools are the same. In our opinion you have to pay attention to the following topics:

Language Location

Choose a language school that isn’t far from your home or from a metro station.

Price

An expensive Portuguese course isn’t necessarily the best language course that you can attend! Be careful! Try to book a trial lesson and check carefully what the course includes and which material you will get access to.

Teachers

Make sure that your teacher is “a real Portuguese teacher” with experience. He (or she) will be super important for your Portuguese learning process. Once again, try to book a Portuguese lesson to evaluate him (or her) and then you can decide.

Material

Check the Portuguese book and online platforms that your school will give you access to. This kind of material will be very important for your Portuguese progression and consolidation.

You can’t rely only on your Portuguese lessons to learn the idiom. You have to work a lot at home. To do your homework you have to have access to good Portuguese material.

Facilities

You don’t have to have the best classrooms in the city to learn Portuguese. You just have to make sure that your classrooms are clean, well equipped, comfortable and quiet.

Trial lesson

Choose a school that offers you the chance to do a trial lesson (free or not free, that doesn’t matter). It is an essential moment because it will give you a feeling about that particular Portuguese language school.

portuguese-classroom-lisbon

Portuguese Grammar

What is the difference between “Indicativo” and “Conjuntivo”?

If you are learning Portuguese and if you have just reached level B1 you will now study the subjunctive (conjuntivo em português).

On level A1 and A2, the verb tenses that you will learn in Portuguese will be related to facts, real events. However, once you start the subjunctive, you will learn a tense that will give you the chance to talk about possibilities, about things that are not real, about wishes and fears.

To use Portuguese subjunctive well, you have to use the Portuguese language every day. There is no other way! The “conjuntivo” in Portuguese is all about connectors! We have so many connecters that you can’t go home and try to memorize everything. It doesn’t work!  

To use subjunctive well you have to know the grammar rules and the guidelines that your teacher will teach you. However, sometimes grammar can be hard and very often it doesn’t help much (there are too many exceptions).

As we stated before, “conjuntivo” is about possibilities and wishes but sometimes we can express exactly the same idea with two different modes: indicative and subjunctive.

Check these examples:

SE CALHAR amanhã vou à praia. Mode: Indicative

Translation: Maybe I will go to the beach tomorrow

TALVEZ amanhã vá à praia. Mode: subjunctive

Translation: the same

The value of these two sentences is exactly the same.

É bom ires com ele. Verb tense: infinitivo pessoal

Translation: It’s good that you go with him

É bom que vás com ele. Mode: subjunctive

Translation: the same

The value of these two sentences is exactly the same.

If you live in Portugal and if you are consolidating your Portuguese, you need to find a friend or a partner to help you. In Portuguese, from level B1 on, you have to speak the language every single day.

You have you be exposed and you have to have someone to correct you. Don’t get upset if a native speaker wants to correct you. That will help you a lot!

Are you a Portuguese Intermediate student (B1)? Check our tips.

If your level of Portuguese is already B1, this means that you can already communicate with Portuguese people in Portuguese (if they speak Portuguese with you in a slow and careful way).
Intermediate students of Portuguese in Lisbon (levels B1 and B2) face new challenges at this stage.

When you’re starting from level A1, you have to learn basic grammar, the sounds, and their rules and you have to spend some time memorizing the key rules of the language.

However, once you reach level B1 things change. At this point, you have to find a way to speak Portuguese on a daily basis. You won’t be able to consolidate B1 grammar content in Portuguese without speaking every day.

Check the grammar content at this stage of learning:

1. Preterito perfeito composto (Example: “Eu tenho lido muito” = I have been reading a lot)
2. Pretérito mais que perfeito composto (Example: “Ele tinha ido à praia com a Maria” = He had gone to the beach with Maria)
3. Subjunctive (Present). (Example: “Talvez ele vá ao cinema” = Maybe he will go to the cinema)
4. Subjunctive (future). Example: “Se fores a Lisboa, eu vou contigo” = If you go to Lisbon I will go with you.

Subjunctive in Portuguese can be challenging. We use these structures to talk and describe possibilities, things that are not real, wishes and fears that we have.

There are many connectors to learn and repeating plays a critical role at this point. Learning these connectors isn’t enough. You have to use them often. You have to hear people using it and hopefully, you will recognize them.

Another important tip! Find a teacher to converse in Portuguese. It must be an experienced teacher that will lead you towards those verb tenses and grammar structures that you have been learning and consolidating. Random talk is also useful but isn’t enough to improve your Portuguese consistently.
Watching television with Portuguese subtitles is also a great help at this point. You can also use youtube to support you on this challenge.

How many hours per week should I study to improve my Portuguese?

Learning Portuguese in Lisbon involves organization and effort. Learning a new language isn’t a straightforward activity and there are no shortcuts!

This means that you have to find a way to integrate your study of Portuguese in your daily / weekly routine.

Our experience tells us that 4 or 5 hours per week would be a great job! No one can study for 20 or 30 hours per week on a long term basis.

You should also create a study plan that includes different activities of Portuguese: listening, writing, grammar, speaking.

Keep your agenda open. Study every time you can and don’t forget that you have to feel some pleasure in this Portuguese learning process.

time-to-study-portuguese

How many hours of study per level (A1, A2, and B1)?

Once again, the right answer to these questions (that many Portuguese students do) is… it really depends on many different factors!

But let’s try to give you an idea about this topic.

A1 Level in Portuguese (no background in Spanish or Italian): 60 to 80 hours

30 to 40 hours of lessons (contact time)

40 to 50 hours of homework

A2 Level in Portuguese (same context): 80 to 100 hours

40 to 50 hours of lessons (contact time)

30 to 40 hours of homework

20 hours of conversation (with Portuguese friends) in Portuguese

B1 Level in Portuguese: 100 – 150 hours 

50 hours of lessons (contact time) and

50 hours of homework

50 hours of conversation in Portuguese

Portuguese private lessons or group lessons?

What is the best solution for my case?

Well, the answer is: it depends on you! What is your preferred learning style? Are you timid? Are you an extrovert person?

Extrovert people tend to learn Portuguese faster then timid and introvert Portuguese students.

If you believe that you will need a bit more time than the average, you should pick individual lessons because your teacher will follow your rhythm without any pressure.

Learning in a small group of Portuguese students in Lisbon can be challenging as you can feel yourself under pressure (especially if you need a bit more time than the usual to understand the content).

If you are short of money or if you like to socialize, Portuguese group lessons are certainly the best option. In this case, you won’t have a Portuguese teacher always on top of you. But you have to adjust yourself to the needs of the group/class (that be a bit different from your own needs).

Learning Portuguese in a group can also be very funny because of the differences that students have among them. Also because Portuguese students tend to help other students. This attitude creates a bond between Portuguese students that, very often, will be maintained over time. In fact, learning Portuguese in Lisbon can be much more than just learning a new language.

Regardless of your choice, the most important thing is to maintain consistency and focus. Do not forget that learning Portuguese (or another language) is always a marathon (not a speed race).

Another important tip: make sure that your classes are good fun! No one can learn languages ​​with boring lessons! Relax and have fun! If your Portuguese classes (individual or group) are boring you have a simple solution: try another teacher or another school!

You must feel a sense of well-being and fun when you’re getting to your Portuguese lessons!

Should I watch TV to improve my Portuguese

Well, the answer depends on your level. If you are starting your Portuguese from scratch the answer is NO. If you are an advanced Portuguese student the answer is YES!

A1 and A2 students struggle to understand Portuguese native speakers. If you are (or if you were a Portuguese student), I am sure that you had the chance to watch Portuguese TV. And I am also sure that you didn’t understand much. On TV, people speak too fast for your Portuguese listening skills.

Portuguese students should be exposed to activities and challenges in accordance with their level of competences. If you are an A1 student you should be using A1 podcasts and not trying to watch Portuguese TV (spoken by native speakers – C2 level).

Watching Portuguese TV and listening to Portuguese radio should be an activity for B2 students (and higher). Before reaching this level (and if you want to reach this advanced level), you have to use your time wisely! Use always the materials that will make you consolidate what you are learning at that point. Don’t waste your limited time with activities that you just can’t do!

portuguese-television

Portuguese television with subtitles

Watching Portuguese tv with subtitles is a great activity for B1 students. However, it is not easy to find TV programs with this option. However, if you find them, use them. It will be challenging but you will learn new words and new vocabulary. You can also try to find this resource on youtube.

There are many Portuguese history TV programs with subtitles that will make you learn more about the history and culture of Portugal. At the same time, you will learn more about our language and you will improve your listening skills (which is, in my opinion as a Portuguese teacher, the most important skill for your learning process.

Take a look at this video related to the history of Guarda (a Portuguese city). Don’t forget to use the automatic subtitles provided by youtube (they are not great but they will help you).