In the North East of the city, it has been said that residents can pretty much get around the area by speaking exclusively Brazilian Portuguese.
‘We came here looking for opportunities… for work really. The situation in Brazil right now is not very good.’
Words that came from a resident of Bel Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil), Maia, like many Brazilians, headed to North American cities such as Chicago, Boston, New York and Philadelphia, in the search for better working opportunities.
Each year, the city has experienced an expansion in cultural diversity and this has been due to people like Maia who travel to The United States.
This has therefore resulted in a breadth of native Portuguese speakers across the city.
‘Brazilian Philadelphia’, is a populous community-based in the heart of Philadelphia.
However, there is also a notion in which communities such as the one aforementioned have a tendency to ‘keep to themselves’.
And although it is a diverse city to live in, it is often known to be one of the most divided cities in the United States.
How does this present an issue when it comes to those that are looking to learn a new language such as Portuguese?
Well, you may find it a challenge in embracing other communities within the city if residents come across a touch apprehensive in communicating with others.
A great way to counteract this, especially if you aren’t a native Portuguese speaker, is by improving your language skills.
A plethora of native-speaking Portuguese residents living in Philadelphia offers their time to support those hoping to improve their language speaking abilities.
Many of these teachers and tutors may lead to group-based learning opportunities as well as one-to-one tutoring sessions.
Exposing yourself to such opportunities allows you to embrace the culture and communities that are present within the city.
Firstly, why would it be beneficial in learning such a language?
Let’s take a look at some of the psychological benefits as well as the reasons as to why studying Portuguese as opposed to other languages may be right for you.
Why Should You Study Portuguese?
With approximately 220 million native Portuguese speakers in the world, along with an additional 50 million of those that have gained fluency as an additional language, it is one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages.
For native English speakers, you may not realize the similarities between the two, making the experience of learning much easier compared to other languages with different alphabetic systems i.e. Mandarin & Cantonese.
Unlike French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, English hasn’t derived from the group of romantic languages.
However, both English and Portuguese have taken a lot of influence from Latin, and the result of this is that you will soon come to realize a large section of the vocabulary is notably similar.
Such linguistic similarities don’t alone derive from Latin. Both languages also take influence from Greek. Also, forming a strong understanding of Portuguese will present you with a platform to learn other romantic languages such as Spanish & Italian.
With a lexical similarity of around 80% between both Portuguese and Spanish, this explains why those who are fluent in one romantic language find it much easier when learning another.
So, if you have ambitions in becoming multilingual, and you have a particular interest in Hispanic, Latin-based romantic languages, Portuguese is a great place to start.
An additional benefit, especially for those that have a taste for adventure, is that Portuguese is the mother language not alone for Portugal and Brazil.
Several countries across Africa list Portuguese as their official language, these include Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde.
Studying a language also generates developments upon different parts of your life:
- A stronger awareness and understanding of other cultures
- Boosts overall brain power whilst increasing the effectiveness of memory
- Enhances the ability to multitask
- Enhances decision-making skills.
Opting for a Personal Language Tutor
With Philadelphia being home to a large concentration of Portuguese speakers, there are ample opportunities for those that are hoping to learn.
Take the local Meetup as an example.
This platform is an opportunity for those within the city to meet fluent speakers either personally or through Zoom & Skype sessions. On the platform, over 500 native Portuguese speakers advertise their profiles online, and a number of these are trained language teachers that can be contacted directly.
Why would you opt for a one-to-one tutor as opposed to a more conventional, group-based learning approach?
Well, hiring your very own personal tutor is often considered a more unique and effective learning approach because:
Students are able to learn at their own pace, a pace that is reflective of their experience level and learning style.
Having your own regular tutor creates a more personable learning experience. That’s right, if you are in a structured learning environment with a large volume of students, an individual will find fewer opportunities in questioning the educator, and thus is more likely to misinterpret information.
It is also said to improve overall attitudes toward learning. Learning a new language stimulates the mind, and in doing so, it can motivate and develop one’s capacity to endorse new information. A personal tutor should evoke this attitude through engaging content that is personalized to the student's proficiency and experience level.
One-to-one tutoring aids in the fostering of independent learning. That’s right, a tutor should effectively work as a ‘facilitator’ in which the individual is promoted to develop their language skills personally before relying on support.
The tutor should also be expected to set work throughout the periods of time between each lesson. This will also help to foster independent learning whilst allowing the student to consolidate prior learning whilst preparing for future learning principles.
Sessions can be conducted either online or in person, and there are advantages and pitfalls for each.
What is imperative is that regular sessions are conducted and that an element of consistency within each week/fortnight exist.
It is known that if lessons are conducted sporadically, there is less chance for both student and teacher to engage in regular learning opportunities.
If both student and teacher do not align their schedules and leave a specific time/day each week, it reduces the chance of the lessons taking place within an expected time frame.
Also, if approaching your lessons like this, you will no doubt be spending longer and shorter days in between each session, and this level of unpredictability can prevent the memory capacity for learning at an effective and persistent rate.2
Searching for the Top Portuguese Tutors in Philadelphia
There are several factors to consider before reaching out to prospective language tutors.
Identifying the level of proficiency you wish to reach is firstly important.
Are you heading out to Brazil to catch the infamous carnival in Rio De Janeiro, and you want to learn some keywords and basics to help your experience be a little more authentic?
Or, is a loved one fluent in Portuguese and you wish to grasp a firm understanding of the language? No matter where you are in the country, from Houston To Los Angeles, there is a breadth of language tutors offering their services.
There are also countless reasons that account for an individual's language learning ambitions, and each reason often determines the level of fluency one wishes to achieve.
Superprof is a great platform to identify suitable tutors across the city.
A selection of tutors with varying levels of expertise and teaching experience can be found at the click of a button, and a quick scan of each of their profiles will help you to identify which tutors are applicable in a reflection of your learning ambitions and experience level.
Whether you reside in the Southwest, Central, or Lower/Upper Northern parts of Philadelphia, establishing how far you are willing to travel is important prior to contacting prospective tutors.
Some tutors are also willing to conduct their lessons at the student's house, although this can come at an additional price to cover transportation costs. Alternatively, lessons can be conducted via Zoom or Skype meaning both student and tutor needn’t make a step from their home.