My skills in Portuguese seem to be growing every day. I am a slow learner but try to learn something new every day. I have seen my conversation skills grow markedly every week recently. When I listen to Portuguese I have a simple inner monologue going. I first am listening for all of the words that I understand which have been said. Then I am telling myself the different possibilities of what was said based on the context and words I recognized. The next part of the monologue is normally do I understand enough to respond. If I do then I will think to myself do I have the vocabulary to say a response that makes sense. Finally I think about if I actually want to respond.
This internal monologue has gotten better each and every week as I understand more vocabulary. Here is some of the progress that I have made. When I had only been in country about a month and a half I went to a wedding. At this wedding we had some great table conversation which I really didn’t understand much of at all. I was able to pick up a few words here and there but I do remember two specific words that were actually only one word. The words were “de coracao” which means “the heart” I thought that they were talking about the heart of the matter in my internal monologue. It lead me to actually respond that I understand. Later I was told that the word I heard was “decoracao” and actually means decoration.
A few months later the internal monologue is different when I talk with a guy after the church service. We were able to talk about cooking food, talking about missing another missionary on furlough, and how nice the church/dedication service was. This conversation went so well that when I expressed how my Portuguese has not been progressing as well as I wanted. During this conversation making a story to accompany the words that I was able to follow was easier.
One day in the future I hope that I will not have to fill in as many words in the stories that I tell myself during a conversation in Portuguese.