fina estampa

Learning with Brazilian Novelas

I’ve always recommended my students to watch Brazilian films but there is another fun way to practice listening skills: watching Brazilian novelas. It’s a great way to be “immersed” in the language and even if you, at the beginning, don’t understand much of what’s being said, slowly you will find that you understand more and more. The plot is easy to follow even if you haven’t watched it from the very beginning and you can also read the synopsis of each episode and even participate in fan forums. When I was in Brazil last December I got hooked on the soap opera of the moment: Fina Estampa.  Growing up in Brazil I was never a huge fan of soap operas. Ok, I admit it: I have watched a few… The one that I remember the most  was called “Vale Tudo” – it had an amazing cast and the story caught the audience’s imagination. The whole country stopped to watch the last episode to find out “Who killed Odete Roitman”! Brazilian soaps normally last for about 6 -8 months (not like British soaps that go on forever!). Back to Fina Estampa… the title literally means “fine pattern”:  fino (masc.) / fina (fem.)  means fine, elegant, sophisticated and estampa means pattern, print, but also appearance, looks, so to say that someone has a  Fina Estampa means that they are sophisticated, elegant. The main characters are the rich and evil Tereza Cristina (played by Christiane Torloni, who is clearly having a lot fun playing the villain) and the poor and good-hearted Griselda (played by the excellent  Lilia Cabral). Check out the promo video below. So where can you watch Brazilian soaps if you don’t live in Brazil? There are some videos on youtube, but the best way is to watch it on TV by signing up to Globo International: go to  where you will be able to get the contact of the channels representative in your country.

Do you watch Brazilian novelas? If so, does it help you with your Portuguese? Do you have any learning strategies you use while watching it? Please leave your comments below. I would love to hear about your experience with Brazilian novelas!

And now the promo of Fina Estampa:

Official Website:

 It doesn’t look like it, but this woman of fine appearance is a  first-class shrew. 

– Crodoaldo! You took 45 seconds!

– I’m sorry, Queen of the Nile!

She has a lot of money. She’s very vain, but has a poor character. You can’t trust her.

– You, for example, dress like a…

– Lady of leisure?

– You want to show your friends how rich you are, you want to please your husband, don’t you?

– I like to look pretty for my husband, and as to my friends… I have to be tough with them.

22nd – the new 9 pm soap opera starts.

By Agnaldo Silva. Fina Estampa.



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