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Back in the 1990’s, I lived in Brazil and learnt Brazilian Portuguese. From December 2015 – March 2017, I lived in Portugal and would like to share my experiences with those two variations of the same language.

Was it easy to get along in Portugal speaking Brazilian Portuguese? Short answer: Everyone understood me but the problems started when Portuguese people answered back. In the beginning, I was really frustrated. When Brazilians speak, I understand almost everything and that was not the case at all in Portugal.

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Language exchange and introverts are not the best combination, that’s for sure. For a long time I avoided language exchanges completely, I changed my italki settings so that I wouldn’t appear in the list of possible language exchange partners. Some weeks ago I decided to give it another try with language exchanges. I’m still ambivalent about it. Language exchange involves much more social interaction than tutoring. It feels more like an obligation. This is even more so the case when your native language is highly in demand while your language partner may speak a language that few people study and it’s therefore difficult for him to find a language exchange partner.

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Cuando comienzas a aprender un idioma sueles estar muy motivado y rápidamente vas a ver progresos. Claro, puede ser que llegues a algunas de estas mesetas  frustrantes durante las primeras etapas del aprendizaje. Pero normalmente vas a tener material suficiente para simplemente continuar y al fin y a cabo vas a llegar al próximo nivel.

Sin embargo, una vez que has llegado a un buen nivel B2 (intermedio superior), las cosas a menudo se complican.

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Introverts are often very good language learners which is not too surprising. Language learning requires many skills which introverts have in abundance.  They’re not easily distracted. They like to do things in the quietness of their homes. They can concentrate well. However, many introverts struggle with speaking their target language.

shyphoto credit: Timidezza via photopin (license)

Shyness vs introversion

Many people seem to think that introverted people are shy.

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When you start to learn a language, you’re usually very motivated and quickly see some progress. You may reach some frustrating plateaus at these early stages, too but normally you have enough material to just go on and eventually reach the next level.

However, once you’ve reached a good B2 level, things often become complicated – and even more so if your aim is to become a polyglot which means that once you’ve reached B2 with your first foreign language you will have probably started to learn another language already.

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