I say “I can” because I feel entitled. English will never be my native
language, but I have been studying it for a lifetime and I did learn the
alphabet in English first! But I still make mistakes in English and all other
10 languages I speak. Including Portuguese. Native mistakes, mind you!
Making mistakes has bothered my perfectionist nature more in the past.
Still, they are crucial for language learning and making progress. Imagine you
always choose the formal form of sorry in Portuguese, “desculpe”. You are
happy, and even proud of yourself. Until you steer away from the touristic uses
of the language and start making friends. Then using “desculpe” might still be
a safe choice, but if you say it to children, it might sound odd, because being
informal towards children is more common.
This is a simple example of how you used something correctly, without
realizing it could be “wrong” too, and should have used “desculpa” instead.
Mistakes are important, but it’s paramount you don’t get too attached,
and please listen to corrections. Mistakes can be annoying for native speakers
(and even physically painful, if you say “desculpa” at a restaurant), but that is our problem!
making sense of why you made a mistake: perhaps it reveals what is normal in
another language you speak; put it in perspective – if you weren’t talking to
the president, and made yourself understood, then…; laugh at it – I personally
find mistakes very clever.
might start relaxing and enjoying the art of communicating in different sounds,
structures and codes.
If you have
enjoyed this quick lesson and would like to learn more Portuguese outside of
the box, then please contact Catarina from The Language Unschool - firstname.lastname@example.org