Boost your Portuguese vocabulary in 3 steps

Hey folks, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here and with good reason…

Things have taken off for me in a way that I never imagined possible: I’ve now grown to have the second largest online English school in Brazil!  Though in the meantime, this blog has continued in my heart.

It is neither forgotten nor abandoned, and therefore when a friend of mine named James asked if he could put some content up… I naturally hoped on it: the opportunity to get new stuff up and help a buddy out is a win-win!

Without further ado, here is a post from James from Semantica:


Vocab, vocab, vocab.

Whatever technique is working for you in your quest to master the language, there is no getting around the fact that when it comes to portuguese vocabulary, the more the better. Kindly ignore any learning program that says to just start talking with the bare minimum of vocabulary. Whether you prefer a conversational approach to language learning, or a more traditional grammar-rules based approach, you need vocab and you need it fast.

The trick is to acquire more words in less time.
Here are my all-time 3, top tips for getting there:
(1) Label your world.

This works subliminally. Label everything you want to know the name of in your house with a post-it note. Every time you open the kitchen cupboard you will see the word “armário”. Remove them when you find yourself seeing these words in your head before you are in eyesight of the item.

(2) Power Flashcard sessions

Wait. Don’t skip down to the next tip. You already know about flashcards but I doubt you know how to supercharge them. It took me a while to perfect this process but once I did, I easily gained thousands of new words – many of which are low-frequency (not used every day). The low frequency vocab normally takes years and years to get. But without these you’ll be stuck in beginners camp always using the most common words.

  1. Keep your cards + a pen near you, with 5-10 blank ones on top.
  2. Never let the deck exceed ~10 cards.
  3. Spend no more than 5 minutes per day doing this routine. Never miss a single day. Never.
  4. Start with the english side first.
  5. Say the answer out loud (or whispered).
  6. Rotate through the deck.
  7. Place a card on the table only when you’ve gotten it correct 3 times in a row – without much stress.
  8. Keep going until all the cards are on the table or the 5 minutes is up.
  9. If all cards are retired and you still have time, shuffle the deck and flip them over to do the portuguese side.
  10. Only when a card has been correctly memorized 3 times in a row – both sides, can it be removed.
  11. Replace the retired cards with new ones as they come up in your studies or thoughts.
(3) Meet the Cognates

Cognates are words that share a common origin. Many portuguese words are very similar to english and thus EASY to learn. While these are not always the most commonly used words, I’m going to show you 100 portuguese verbs that are so similar to english AND in common usage here. You can and should learn these right now. I would strongly recommend using these BEFORE trying to memorize the “core” portuguese verbs. These are just as good, everyone will understand you without hesitation, and you will get into the conversation right away. If you can conjugate the verb IR, and you’ve done some of steps 1 & 2 above, you will have THOUSANDS of sentences at your disposal really, really quickly. 100 top Portuguese Cognates (just verbs):

From the video learning course, INTENSIVO.
If you’re serious…

about learning Portuguese of Brazil, there’s a world of opportunity and adventure waiting for you. But only if you can speak their language. For the motivated, check out our other posts under the category of Learning Tips.


LIB 012: An Interview with Mark Hillary of Reality Check


Podcast-artrssNo matter what it is in life, there will always be nay-sayers looking to bring their situation and those around them down.

This is even more amplified when you make the leap to live in Brazil, there are some people who just are not willing to make things work…

…it usually manifests itself in the form of comparing things back home to those in Brazil and develops from there. 

While many of us clearly understand that this is an apples to oranges comparison, this doesn’t come without someone setting things in our community straight from time to time.

And today we have the enforcer himself in our midst: Mark Hillary.

He’s written a fantastic book called Reality Check (that you should buy btw) that hits these complaints head on.  His book is important to read as the things he addresses are common areas of concern that you have or will experience in Brazil.

This interview was a lot of fun to do and you will be amazed at the wisdom he has to throw your way.

[Read more...]

3 Steps Making Your Plan to Move to Brazil a Reality

moving to brazil, preparing to moveHere sitting at my desk on a grey and foggy Danish morning while taking one for the team as my wife finishes her thesis, I’m purchasing flight tickets to Brazil.

As I look through the jungle of fare prices and restrictions, the same feelings and thoughts that once raced through my mind and body during the original days of planning our move to Brazil, have come again.

Though, for us this isn’t something new, we are used to almost robotically going through the steps required to prepare for a big move and it’s as if everything falls into place on it’s own.

Still, I can’t help but think about the 1000’s of questions people ask me about moving to and living in Brazil and having been there and done that myself, it’s time to put some at rest…

1000’s sounds like a jungle of information to navigate through, though in reality this flattering amount of e-mails and messages can be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Preparing for the Move
  2. Executing the Move
  3. Establishing a Life in Brazil

And since getting this “aha” revelation during these last few days, it has inspired me to do something that will cost me…

[Read more...]

Your Top Questions about Brazil Answered!

Questions about BrazilMy e-mail inbox gets pleasantly flooded daily with curious members of our community interested in finding out how they can best tackle moving to Brazil.

So I figure that it’s about time to put some more detailed answers to these questions than is possible over a quick e-mail.

Without further ado, here are the top questions asked about moving to and living in Brazil with my best answers for the community.

1. Finding a Job (and the Visa)

Here’s a popular question: “Kevin, can I come on a tourist visa, find a job and then get a work visa?”

[Read more...]

How I Accidentaly Married My Brazilian Car

Car in BrazilIf you’ve ever rented a car long term or looked at buying on in Brazil, then this story will appeal to you… And teach you effectively what not to do!

To make things a bit clearer about this story turned life lesson, let’s rewind to 2010. After loads of planning and saving, my wife and I had finally found our shortcut to get back into Brazil and live happily ever after…

The plan was the following: we would land in São Paulo, stay with some friends and purchase a relatively good priced car to drive us around. We would then drive down to Florianópolis (the land of milk and honey) to give birth to our sweet Brazilian girl - aka: anchor baby.

Everything went pretty much according to plan and we purchased a spacious Ford Mondeo – a car that would later prove to stick with me through thick and thin.

Everything went well and when selling it, something unexpected happened…

[Read more...]

How to be a Local Celebrity in Brazil

Maringá HollywoodLooking for a way out of the mundane and into something extraordinary?

Today, I’m going to tell you a story of how an average Joe took his boring life and transformed it into something amazing.

It all started years ago back in a mundane 9–8 job in the USA, where our man “Jeff” was working 60 hours a week serving the lifestyle he had learned was “the right way to live”.

The truth is that it wasn’t Jeff’s cup of tea and he was ready to move from an ordinary, stress-full lifestyle into a life full of love and acceptance.

You see, Jeff valued personal relationships over tasks and pure routine – what would await him in the little city of Maringá, Paraná would shock and surprise him forever…

[Read more...]

3 Ways to Networking Success in Brazil

success in BrazilSuccess in Brazil is all about who you know.

I’ve never been a great natural networker, maybe it was due to me being a bit of a homeschooled goober growing up or possibly due to the fact that I didn’t see the importance of it…

Whatever the reason, I did the ol’ proverbial face-plant after arriving in Brazil!


Because being self-reliant is something that only functions in “cold” countries, whereas being inter-reliant is vital to success in Brazil. You see, at the core of the Brazilian society lays a strong social inter-dependance that makes relying on each other necessary. Some say that this inter-dependance has come about due to unreliable social services and governmental bureaucracy, others say that it is just the way Brazilian people are.

Either way, this is something that hit me like a ton of bricks about it’s importance lickity-split after arriving in Brazil. It’s the catalyst to your job opportunities, getting things done and having a happy, fulfilled life in Brazil.

So without further ado, here’s 3 tips to get you up and building a successful network – or as Brazilians refer to it “amizades” (friendships).

[Read more...]

Must Have Tools to Learn Portuguese

Portuguese tools, portuguese learning 101We all know that a successful lifestyle in or in connection with Brazil requires that you learn Portuguese fluently, though with a jungle of resources out there, it’s hard to know where to start and what dots to connect.

With that said, I’ve been through a lot of different experiences, programs, courses and more when learning how to speak Portuguese and it was quite a challenge to figure out the best path to fluency.

I tried courses like Rosetta, Pimsluer, a Portuguese language academy, grammar books, memory games and so on without success, though my breakthrough came in an unexpected form…

It was through a series of techniques that would be my pleasure to share with you today.

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3 Barriers to Annihilate When Moving to Brazil

grenadeThe idea of living in eternal summer surrounded by caring people who want to live life to its fullest sounds nice right?

Though we all know that dropping everything we know and making the switch to living in Brazil required more then just “wanting to do so”. Arriving in Brazil without a place to stay, source of income, solid visa or knowing the language could be the proverbial “stick in our spokes” that sends us flying.

What if you could keep that stick from entering your spokes and be able to cruise in peace and happiness, would you take those actions?

Based on the 1000’s of e-mails I’ve received since starting this site, I’m going to answer the top 3 problems that we face in this community and give you solutions so that you can sleep soundly at night :)

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A Tour of Cities and Housing in Florianópolis, Brazil

Lagoa da Conceição, FlorianópolisThis is a continuation of 3 Reasons to Live in Florianópolis, Brazil from Monday.

Anyone who knows me understands that I love living on the “Ilha da Mágia” (The Magical Island).  So much in fact that my daughter is able to call herself a native “Manézinha da Ilha” – a title reserved for people born on the island paradise.

When looking at Florianopolis, the first thing we notice is that it’s big, about 45km from north to south (roughly 30 miles) and has a lot of diversity!

You have the über rich city called “Jurerê Internacional” to the vibrant “Lagoa da Conceição” and everything between.

So what are the different areas of the island like and what would you find infrastructure and housing wise?

This is exactly what you will be getting today – but first an overview of the island:

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