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If you want (or need) to keep up with news about Rio de Janeiro, be sure to make a “favorite” on your computer, notebook, and smart phone. Julia Michaels, an American journalist and writer who has lived for 30 years in Rio, started the popular blog two years ago. She is now regularly consulted by movers and shakers in business, government, and other fields from the U.S. and the rest of the world. RIOREALBLOG provides regular updates on everything important that’s happening in “A CIDADE MARAVILHOSA” (The Marvelous City).

OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO LANGUAGE LEARNERS: Besides keeping updated on “things carioca”, this blog gives you the same article in English and Portuguese on the same page, plus plenty of links to related sites, as well as news videos. You can practice your new language by reading articles and watching video links depicting real events in Portuguese, often with English explanations. Learn about Brazilian culture and history while improving your language skills. This type of bilingual publication, with practice for learners of both languages, goes right along with my prescription for learning the living language in everyday situations.

HOW TO USE RIOREALBLOG TO IMPROVE YOUR PORTUGUESE: Check into the blog a couple of times a week to see the latest news. Read (at least) the first paragraph of the lead article in Portuguese, then in English. It doesn’t matter if most of the words are brand new to you. Pick out and write down the key terms by referring back and forth between English and Portuguese. Choose five new words and write them on a slip of paper (ten words if you’re ambitious). Keep the paper in your pocket or tape it to your dashboard or bathroom mirror. Several times a day, think of the meanings as you read each word aloud in a normal voice (DON’T BE EMBARRASSED!! THIS IS HOW YOU LEARN!!). Do this and the words will become part of your active vocabulary list by the end of the week—GUARANTEED!

PLANNING A TRIP TO RIO? OPENING A BUSINESS IN BRAZIL? As the song says, “You gotta know the territory.” Besides the written articles on, click on links to interviews, on-the-spot news stories, editorials, and background videos, with newsmakers speaking educated native Brazilian Portuguese. Repeat aloud the key words you want to remember. This is an excellent way to train your ear to recognize and reproduce the sounds of Portuguese.

Combine with, and you’ll be well on your way to success in Brazil. Start today. Começa hoje!


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Trying to learn Portuguese on your own can be a little lonely. How do you get the feedback you need to improve your accent and choice of words? And who’s there to pat you on the back for a job well done when you finally manage to put together a complete sentence?

To help language learners with this need, in 2010 I
organized weekly conversation groups in San Diego,

Grupo de Conversa na praia do
Leme, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

California, and Rio de Janeiro through the
organization Actually, in Rio we
practice both Portuguese and English at the
same time. These groups have been meeting
regularly for a little over two years.

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