The problem facing anyone going from Spanish to Portuguese is to mistake similar words or sentence structures to be the same. They are not. I am speaking from experience. I also have to catch myself from using Spanish in my Portuguese. Luciana Lage from Street Smart Brazil and I are making a series of videos on how to learn Portuguese via songs. Our latest video on the song, Eu vou estar by Capital Inicial, focuses on common mistakes Spanish speakers make in Portuguese. The blog post accompanying the video with a link to the song lyrics is on the Street Smart Brazil site. Here’s the video:
(My country is the Portuguese language. Fernando Pessoa) The idea of feeling an affinity with a language is not foreign to me given that I speak seven languages and have studied ten. In fact, my likes and dislikes for the sounds of languages have repelled me from certain languages and attracted me to others. But as my daily life crosses between several languages, I don’t feel particularly at home in just one language. Actually, my homeland is the multi-dimensionality of my linguistic world. If I could speak one sentence in one language and then a sentence or word in another and switch back and forth all day from language to language, I’d be at my best. But then few would understand me. Finding home in one particular language Recently, I’ve become curious about how someone can find their home in just one language. The idea first came to my attention when I was reviewing the movie “The Last Sephardi” (El ultimo sefardí) for my CNN interviews in Miami in January about the Ladino language of the Sephardic Jews that has stayed alive for over 500 years outside of Spain. In the film, there’s a conversation with Ladino speakers in Istanbul… Read more »
(Photo is of Lisbon, Portugal.) Feeling like I am in Portugal without leaving the United States I ventured into the Little Portugal area of San Jose, California, where the local immigrant population from the Azores islands convene around a church, a couple cafes and restaurants and a store. Oddly, I hadn’t been there for over 10 years. I say this is odd because I learned most of my Portuguese via KSQQ, the Portuguese immigrant radio station but I hadn’t been to a Portuguese community event since a fado music dinner in 2000. From movie set in Lisbon to San Jose, California Having recently re-read the book, Sostiene Pereira (Afirma Pereira in Portuguese and Pereira Declares in English), by Antonio Tabucchi in the original Italian, set in Lisbon in 1938 when the António de Oliveira Salazar dictatorship was setting nationalist policies and censuring the press, I had a strong desire to be in a Portuguese environment and experience a bit of the café culture described in the novel. (I’ve also seen the movie, starring Marcello Mastroanni, many years ago and am getting a group of my friends together to watch it in Italian.) A journalist/translator, Pereira, thinks he can live his… Read more »
Learning languages with music, preserving the Ladino languages with songs, CALA CNN, February 10, 2012 On Friday February 10, 2012, the CALA show on CNN interviewed Montserrat Franco and I in Spanish about how to learn foreign languages using music, why it’s important to be multilingual, how the ancient Ladino language of the Spanish Jews saved a boy’s life in the Holocaust and how Sephardic Jews maintained their language, Ladino, outside of Spain for over 500 years. I introduced my book, El idioma es música, and Montserrat delighted us by singing a Ladino song and speaking a bit in Ladino. Both Montserrat and I speak seven languages each and we believe firmly in the power of music to teach us foreign languages. Despite the tragedy of the Bosnian War, people in Sarajevo held music concerts during the way to keep their spirits up. The human spirit is indeed stronger than politics. Music feeds the soul and also keeps us in touch with our roots and learning foreign languages.
Susanna Zaraysky, políglota y autora de “El idioma es música” explica cómo se puede estudiar lenguas con música y los medios de comunicación. Susanna cuenta su experiencia viviendo en Bosnia después de la guerra de Yugoslavia y como el idioma ladino salvó la vida de Moris Albahari, un joven bosnio judío en la segunda guerra mundial. Montserrat Franco habla 7 idiomas y canta en ladino (idioma de los judíos sefardíes). Ellas muestran cómo la música ladina ayuda a conservar el idioma de los judíos de origen español. Entrevista con Ismael Cala en el program CALA en CNN en Español, el 10 de febrero 2012.
Montserrat Franco y Susanna Zaraysky explican cómo la música ayuda a aprender idiomas y cómo la música ladina (judeo-española) está conservando el idioma ladino. Colombia al día con Enrique Cordoba, WLRN, Miami, el 15 de enero 2012. Hay dos partes de la entrevista.
Why is the UK losing 11 to 26 billion dollars a year? Nick Chambers explains that there aren’t enough foreign language speakers to service export markets. Susanna Zaraysky answers why English speakers are not good at foreign languages and how to motivate English speakers to learn new languages. BBC’s Newshour on 30 January 2012.
I wrote a guest blog post, Use Music to Learn a Foreign Language, on Aaron Myers’ Everyday Language Learner blog. He and I met in the fall of 2011 when I was reveling in the delight of Istanbul, Turkey. Over lunch, we discussed how to promote language learning. I like his title “Everyday Language Learner” because becoming multilingual requires a daily effort. The blog post explains why music is essential to language learning with some background on the scientific and academic research on music, language and listening. I also give some tips on using songs and TV to learn languages. Use Music to Learn a Foreign Language
Luciana Lage of Street Smart Brazil and I have a video series on how to learn Portuguese via Brazilian songs. Here is the introductory video where we explain the connection between listening, music and learning a new language. The next video is our first using the song Você Não me Ensinou a Te Esquecer by Fernando Mendes. We point out the grammatical and pronunciation differences between Portuguese and Spanish. We offer the Spanish version of the song, Tu no me enseñaste a olvidar by Marcus Maestro to show the differences between Portuguese and Spanish. I even sing a bit of this sensual song and wear a clown nose to show how to say “Não” and other nasal sounds correctly. Another video on Você Não me Ensinou a Te Esquecer will be posted soon.
Susanna Zaraysky habla con Mercedes Soler en el program de NotiMujer en la CNN en Español sobre el idioma ladino (el antiguo español de los judíos explusados de España durante la Inquisición católica en 1492), de dónde viene, como se mantuvó y porque es importante para los sefardíes (judíos españoles) de no perder su lengua ancestral. Se ve a Liliana Benveniste cantando Yo me akodro d’akeya noche en ladino. Susanna Zaraysky speaks with Mercedes Soler in CNN in Spanish about the Ladino language (ancient Spanish of the Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition). They discuss the origins of the language, how it was maintained and why it’s important for Sephardic Jews not to lose their ancestral language. Liliana Benveniste sings, Yo me akodro d’akeya noche.