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LingoMap: Self and Relationships

2 January 2018

Olá a todos! (Hi everyone!) Tudo bem? (How’re you?) This is my first submission for the Routes into Languages LingoMap blog.

As you can see from my profile I’m a third year student of Portuguese and Spanish at Cardiff University, and for the first semester of my year abroad I am studying at the Faculdade de Letras (the School of Humanities) at the Universidade de Lisboa. As I’m writing this blog I’m also starting to revise for the upcoming período de availações (exam period) which starts next week. Therefore I thought it’d be a good idea to complete my first blog post which is on the theme of Self and Relationships.

Faculdade de Letras at the Universidade de Lisboa

Lisbon is a very international city and as a result has a lot of exchange students. It has two Erasmus’ (the name given to the European university exchange programme) societies which organise festas (parties) and cultural activities, for example turismo (sightseeing) in nearby cidades (towns). As a result I now have amigos (friends) from a variety of different countries. Since I’ve moved here I’ve made friends from Finlândia (Finland), Suíça (Switzerland) and Colômbia (Colombia) to name just a few!

‘Erasmus’ societies organise trips on weekends to destinations such as Lagos in the Algarve

As Lisbon contains some of the world’s highest ranked Portuguese-language universities, it is also an extremely popular destination for members of the diáspora portuguesa (ethnic Portuguese people who live in different countries). As a result I have made friends with students from os Estados Unidos (United States), Alemanha (Germany) and França (France) who all have Portuguese parents, so are also falantes de português (Portuguese speakers).

Portuguese is the official language of eight countries and is spoken in many more by the sizable Portuguese diaspora

As a student of Portuguese back at Cardiff University, the aim of my semester abroad in Lisbon was to improve my level of Portuguese. However, as Portuguese is not widely taught outside of ‘Lusophone’ (Portuguese-speaking) countries the second-language of many exchange students is English. Also due to the increase in popularity of tourism in Lisbon in the past few years, most people in the centro da cidade (city centre) insist on speaking to foreign people in English. This has on times made it more challenging to improve my language skills even though all of my cadeiras (university classes; although when literally translated strangely means ‘chairs’) are taught in Portuguese!

The (usually sunnier) Praça do Comércio is the one of the main tourist attractions in the city and as a result English is mainly spoken there

In addition to this it is very common for os jovens portugueses (Portuguese young people) to keep living at home until they have a trabalho (job). Therefore it’s common for people to study at their nearest university and commute from home to university every day. As a result there isn’t a large choice of residências universitárias (university accommodation) and what’s available is generally expensive. Therefore when they arrive many people check into a hostel while they procura quarto (look for a room) in an apartamento partilhado (flat share). Whilst this seems daunting at first it’s a great way to push yourself to speak the language and leave your comfort zone. Also it is a lot easier to find a good deal if you can speak Portuguese with your senhorio (landlord) as English is more commonly spoken by the younger generation!

Can you answer any of the following questions?:

  • What type of events do Lisbon’s ‘Erasmus’ societies hold to help exchange students meet new people?
  • What is the relationship between ‘Lusophone’ countries?
  • Why is English so commonly spoken in the centro da cidade in Lisbon?

Key Vocabulary:

  • Olá – Hello
  • Tudo bem? – How’re you?
  • Lisboa – Lisbon
  • Universidade – University
  • Festas – Parties
  • Amigos – Friends
  • Cidade – City
  • Trabalho – Job
  • Jovens – Young People
  • Apartamento – Flat

From February 2018 I will be working in Spain, so stay tuned for further updates!

Até a próxima!


1 comment
  1. Alison

    Olá Lewis! Thank you for being the first blogger on LingoMap 2018. I’m looking forward to reading about your 3rd year abroad and learning a lot too! Good luck with the exams.

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