16/SET/2009 12:08 AM
In my opinion, "to pick up Italian" gives the impression that your learning process was easy, almost natural. On the other hand, "aprender italiano na marra" implies that you had a hard time learning it. The expression "na marra" means "à força," so one could imagine that you were forced to study the language. I couldn't come up with a good counterpart in English, but the idea would be the following:
I had a hard time learning Italian.
Learning Italian was a challenge to me.
I was forced to study Italian.
I had to learn Italian one way or the other.
I had to study Italian no matter what.
I hope that helps,
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English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
preposition student 15/SET/2009, 10:18 AM
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