6 Tools Grandma Would Use to Learn Portuguese

Grandma Brazil, Portuguese The cool thing about looking back in time is that we can reflect how things were done and what we can learn from them.

For literally 1000’s of years, we have been able to learn new languages fluently without the need for fancy methods.

This is due to the simple fact that our ancient ancestors understood something that we have a hard time with in the age of a pre-packaged consumerism: we are made to walk together and be mentored by others.

And through this mentoring we are given the correct resources, guidance and tips to become fluent in a foreign language.

Think about it, this has literally worked without issue for 1000’s of years!

If we were to take the mindset of 50+ years ago – let’s say our grandma – and give them the amazing resources at our fingertips today, how would they use them?

This is a question that led me to figure out how to get fluent fast, which is why I will answer it today and show you 6 resources that my grandma would use to get fluent in Portuguese.

1. Facebook: the Party Line of the 21st Century

Ever hear the stories of how your grandma had a party line, where neighbors could listen in on each other?

In the first days of the telephone, the most common way of having a telephone at home was by sharing a line with your neighbors. This meant that you could pick up the phone and listen in on what your neighbor was saying. The person speaking on the telephone would generally figure out how many were listening in by tricking the eaves-droppers by saying their good-bye’s and wait to hang up the phone. By waiting, they would hear how many other people hung up (that were listening in).

Party line

That was forbidden fruit but exciting for house-wives of the time and probably the highlight of their day between cleaning and baking.

Imagine the conversation on the party line being in Portuguese and you are desperately wanting to hear about Sra. Silva’s scandals – it would motivate you to understand what was being said right?

Fast forward 50 years and it all of the sudden has become ok to willingly allow everyone to snoop on what others are doing in the name of “social media (Facebook etc)”.

And to top it off, it now it has become more visual with tons of cool images, videos, text and other no-longer-forbidden fruits 😉

It can be used as a motivational resource as we can subscribe to pages that help our Portuguese, make friends with Brazilians and join Portuguese speaking groups.

I’ll show you an example of how to do this in the video at the end of the post.

2. Reading Cat Fancy (in Portuguese)

In my , I talk about the 4 major personality types and how they learn differently:

  • Readers
  • Kinesthetic Learners
  • Auditory Learners
  • Visual Readers

The first group is the readers who are people that learn through text. I don’t know about you, but my grandma always had a copy of Cat Fancy in her magazine rack next to the rocking chair that she would enjoy.

Think about the amazing selection of reading material we have out there not just in the form of blogs and websites, but also hard-copy books, e-books, pdfs, kindle books and so on.

With your computer or hand-held device, you have more access to information then there was at the library of Alexandria!

It’s just a matter of finding what literature works for you in Portuguese so that you can start dissecting and learning.

3. Keeping Up to Date with Current Affairs

People throughout history have always been interested in the local, national and international current affairs.

My grandma always had the most recent copy of “Cat Fancy” in her magazine rack next to her rocking chair.

We all have an interest and it’s just a matter of tapping it and transferring it into the Portuguese speaking world.

For my grandma it was cats and gossip and others maybe cars and economics, whatever your interest is, there is an outlet for it on the web.

All you have to do is find a place for you to keep up to date and make it a point of stopping by daily, just like you may currently do with some other news websites.

I personally look at (amongst others) as they are a little more neutral then the popular globo.com and more to the point.

4. Spending Lovely Time Together

If there is one thing that our ancestors did before us, it was to spend more time together and less in isolation.  I couldn’t tell you how many times my grandma would say “There Jonny goes sucked into his fan-dangled video games!”

In fact, isolation was historically a form for punishment and it seems that we are more and more into punishing ourselves these days with modern technology.

There was a recent news article piece on how the more people in their study were on Facebook, the less happy they were.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook can be pretty cool and has its place, though there is one thing it cannot replace: the physical experience of hanging out with someone.

My grandma and those before her knew that the key to learning something new was in being together, being mentored and holding fellowship with other like-minded individuals.

Don’t worry though, having access to the technology we have today allows us to get in contact with like-minded people more easily then ever before.

We just have to go to or and there we go – instant access to people on the same adventure as us!

5. Finding Steamy Foreign Romance

Some of the best movies, books and songs of all time have to do with finding foreign romance.

They would travel to some foreign land and encounter the love of their life and live happily ever after.  You should have seen the covers of some of my grandma’s trashy novels! “A Burning French Passion”

The advantage of finding a Brazilian to romance is that you will be thrown head first into not just the language but the Brazilian culture as well.

Your motivation to learn to speak Portuguese will be strengthened by heaps and this this happened to me but in a very odd way… I met a Danish woman while living in Brazil and have since learned to speak Danish fluently.

I would have never imagined speaking fluent Danish in a million years though it testifies to the power of foreigner romance!

Imagine having the power of dating sites in your hand 50+ years ago?  It would have been enough to make my grandma put her trashy novels down and go to it!

It really is a powerful tool to be able to go to one place like BrazilCupid and find 1000’s of Brazilian singles.

6. Exploring Her Inner Thespian

What is one thing that we have loved for 1000’s of years and your grandma too? Anything to do with presentations.

In ancient Alexandria, they had the most amazing theater scenes that were run by what is known as being the world’s first programming system.


They would drive pegs into logs and wrap ropes around them in certain ways to create the most amazing moving scenes that would even baffle us today.

It was literally a physical “live” movie presented by the Hollywood of 2000+ years ago.

Fast forward to today and the idea is the same yet the options are endless, we have an unbelievable amount of video selections out there on instant demand just waiting to be watched.

Even better, we don’t have to go to Brazil to watch a presentation in Portuguese, we can go to YouTube and find stuff, Netflix Brazil and watch Brazilian movies/shows or American shows with Portuguese subtitles.

This makes the ability to expose ourselves to Portuguese extremely easy and free or cheap – and here my grandma couldn’t even figure out how to use her VCR…

You can see how to watch Netflix Brazil here.

How to Put These 6 Tools into Practice

In the second module of The PAB8 course I created to walk people through getting fluent, one of modules has to do with “Real Life Usage”.

In other words, how do we expose ourselves to Portuguese so that it becomes a part of what we do?

I would like to share a video with you from the full course on how to do so:

Note: I make reference to something else in the course at the beginning, just disregard that 😉

(If you are viewing this on a RSS reader, this video can only be watched on liveinbrazil.org – sorry!)

Summary of the video:

  1. What the 4 learning types are.
  2. How you can use to help your Portuguese along
  3. What reading materials are out there for readers
  4. How to find like-minded people around you via .
  5. Why you should consider BrazilCupid if you are single.
  6. The sneak trick to find language exchanges.
  7. How to use to unlock TONS of free Portuguese videos.
  8. How to use a VPN to get access to Brazil-specific Movies and TV.

If you apply these ageless techniques, you too will come closer to learning Portuguese fluently.

Are there any tools or recommendations you have to help us learn?


P.S. try my fluency crash course below 🙂

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  • OI gostei muito de seus conselhos !! Sou brasileiro mas adoro línguas! sao dicas que valem para estudo de qualquer idioma ! 🙂

  • OI gostei muito de seus conselhos !! Sou brasileiro e adoro línguas! São dicas que valem para estudo de qualquer idioma ! 🙂

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