Sunday, September 12, 2004

Learning Portuguese - Part 1

I've spent the last two months phoning more than fifty language schools and translators in the greater Dublin area. I just went through the phone book.

I want to learn Portuguese.

Thinking at the start that I would be spoilt for choice, I wanted to learn Brazilian Portuguese from a native Brazilian, preferably a Carioca (someone from Rio), so I'd have the right accent. As it stands I'll just be learning regular Portuguese from Portugal. They aren't too different and I don't really have a choice.

The trouble with the hundreds of language schools in Ireland is that the majority of them teach English. Not to Irish people though. I'm not a great speaker or writer of English myself, but the fact of the matter is that the Irish all but own that language now. They are the teachers, not the students.

The language schools here teach English to adults and teenagers from all over the world. It is a thriving industry, an enormous invisible export. The massive population of language students is very visible on the streets and transport network of Dublin for most of the summer months.

Unfortunately I have to learn Portuguese while staying where I am (that's a whole other story). Of the schools which aren't exclusively in the business of teaching English I have found two which are going to run Portuguese courses this year: The Sandford Language Institute and Marino College. Plenty of schools do German, French, Spanish, and Irish (Gaelic), but after that the choice gets very limited.

    The Sandford Language Institute
    Address: Milltown Park Sandford rd, Ranelagh, 6
    www.sandfordlanguages.ie
    Telephone: +353 (0)1 2601296
    14 weeks, 1 night a week, €250 total

    Marino College
    Address: 14-20 Marino Mart, Fairview, Dublin 3
    Telephone: +353 (0)1 - 8530940 / 8332100 / 8334201 / 8339342
    www.marinocollege.com
    10 weeks, 1 night a week, €66 total

I know a lot less right now about the Marino college course, they don't post out written materials, or answer questions over the phone. They rarely even answer the phone! If I need to know more I have to go there tomorrow to find out and also enroll if I want to. I can only enroll in person and only on that night.

For all these reasons my preference now is to go for the Sandford course. They have good references, better service, always available on the phone, posted me out details, provided info on course materials, and they specialise in language training.

The problem is that although Sandford institute is much closer, Marino is actually easier and quicker to get to because it is on the DART line. I think I'll go to the Marino enrollment tomorrow night and decide then. I'll give them one last chance.

The price difference doesn't matter, if anything it favours Sandford as I'm more likely to take it seriously. Both are very cheap, especially when compared to the price of private tuition from Berlitz which would come to about €1300 (though that includes some good course materials). I will consider the Berlitz course for a later phase, after I've finished one of the evening courses, I can use it to retain interest and maybe accelerate the learning.

Only one problem left...

I have this irrational belief that I'm a dunce for languages. I blame the Irish educational system. They had me for thirteen years and utterly failed to teach me Irish. In five years they failed to teach me more than a smattering of French (much better than Irish though). I'm not an idiot, I did well in everything else. Either it is their teaching methods or I'm an idiot for one specialty, language. Certainly An Spailpín Fánach has no problems with Irish, but he's an exception, Irish people speaking Irish are a rare sight. He also pointed out (over lunch last week) that the concept of being bad at languages goes against the current thinking in linguistics and psychology. We are all well equipped to learn any language. But yet I doubt myself.

So a few demons to shake loose... wish me luck!

1 Comments:

Anonymous learn Brazilian Portuguese said...

The Portuguese language is becoming very popular these days. Therefore, by learning Portuguese can greatly increase your working demand as well as making you well establishes.This language is the sixth in overall...So don't get nervous or learn this languages...!!

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8:49 a.m., December 05, 2013  

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