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Entry 3 – Chris Grzech

November 12, 2012

I write now from Salvador, Bahia.  I came here to visit a friend who completed his masters degree at UofL.  I’ve been staying at the apartment of his girlfriend’s sons.  We went to the historic district today, Pelourinho.  I think this is the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited in my life.  The architecture is astounding, from the modern buildings to the ones which date to the beginnings of Portuguese conquest of Brasil.  The Baianos (people from the state of Bahia) that I’m staying with have been the best of hosts.  We have eaten the famed Acarajé, as well as Moqueca, and fresh crab.  All delicious.  One of my hosts is an architecture student at the Universidade Federal de Salvador and is an excellent and knowledgeable guide.  We’ve been to the beach as well and seen the first lighthouse built in the Americas, which is situated at the southernmost point of the city, in between the ocean and the bay on the other side.  I received a “Bonfim” bracelet today.  One makes three wishes for each knot that ties the ribbon around the wrist.  When the ribbon falls naturally, the wishes supposedly have been realized.  My friend had tied one around my wrist before he left Louisville, and it remained there for a year and a half, finally falling shortly after I arrived in Campinas.  As for the wishes, well…it’s nobody else’s business!  Haha.  Saw some Capoeira as well in passing, accompanied by music on drums and Berimbau. Pretty cool.  The traditional dress of the Baianas (traditional dress of afro-brazilian women in the northeast) has been interesting to see as well.

Giving English classes has been going well in Campinas.  I have a new student who’s from Angola.  His accent in portuguese is very close to the portuguese accent of Europe, also the manner of speaking and expressions he uses.  I’m teaching with a Cambridge book on grammar.  I’ve been giving lists of cognates to the students, as realizing cognitive patterns is something which helped my portuguese immensely from when I began learning until now.  For example:

The ending -ção in portuguese almost always translates to “-tion” in english.  Examples:

celebração = celebration          inflação = inflation

observação = observation          nação = nation

recuperação = recuperation      disposição  =  disposition

intenção =  intention                 reencarnação = reincarnation

inspiração =  inspiration

This is the tip of the iceberg.  There are only two words which are exceptions to this rule that I can think of off the top of my head as well as some cases in which the root of the word is entirely different, but 98.9% of the time this rule is functional.

There are many other such endings which have almost-always-consistent equivalent endings.  I think teaching these things along with the normal beginning level lessons helps a lot because students gain confidence in how many complicated words they already know how to form in english.  In class we go over differences in pronunciation.  I’m really enjoying teaching.

Até a próxima!

Chris

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