“Tourist Portuguese”: The Problems

About four months ago, I announced my plan to learn “Tourist Portuguese” in time for Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon (Link). And it was a great plan! Sadly, I haven’t been very committed to it. This post looks at the problems I faced and suggests a new strategy.

The “Physics”

According to classical physics, two objects cannot occupy the same space. And in my experience, this is also true for two languages. Although I easily balance German and Latin, as I explained in my post Balancing Act: Two Languages at the Same Time, I have had problems bringing Portuguese into my life.

Most Portuguese would take up the same “space” that currently belongs to German. I can’t search for Portuguese artists unless I stop playing the German songs. I can’t explore Portuguese TV unless I stop watching my German series. And it seems wrong to read the Grimms Märchen in Portuguese, although I can (Link).

At least Portuguese doesn’t compete with Latin. I have memorized three Fatima prayers and the Hail Mary in Portuguese — and I say them very often! I get so much Latin during the Traditional Mass that I can turn my private prayer time into a “space” for Portuguese.

The “Rules”

It is silly to blame the rules when I myself made them, isn’t it? But it was even sillier for me to give myself eleven months to learn “Tourist Portuguese.” If all I need to do in Lisbon is book a room, order food, find my way around the city, and buy some souvenirs, I can learn what I need in eleven days.

If I did have plans to go to Lisbon, I’d buy a phrase book and download audio of Portuguese people talking. The book will teach me the important words and phrases; the audio will teach me how to pronounce them. I could have already done this, just for fun. The main reason I didn’t is the silliest part of all.

I forgot the most important rule. How will I test my knowledge of “Tourist Portuguese”? Ideally, I would test it by becoming a real tourist. But since I have no plans to be a tourist, I need another kind of “exam.”

The “Space”

If “Tourist Portuguese” becomes only “Pilgrim Portuguese”, I will still know more Portuguese by May 2018 than I did last June. Learning the Fatima prayers and other Marian prayers has been good for me, so I will continue. But I also want to do a little bit more.

For this, I’ll need to find a “space” in my life that German does not already occupy. There are several “spaces” that I plan to try. Before my deadline, I hope to write a post with some good news about Portuguese!

Unlike me, do you have plans to visit Lisbon in the future?

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