Oh, Portugal! It's renowned for its cooking, beautiful landscapes, and musical language!
Sometimes confused with Spanish, the Portuguese language remains one of the key languages of the European Union, and is currently spoken by more than 230 million speakers in countries such as Brazil, Mozambique, and Equatorial Guinea.
Despite its melodious consonances, the language of Camoes struggles to find its place in a lot of schools as a second language, in preference of more traditional languages such as French or Spanish.
Whether you want your child to learn Portuguese or discover the Latin language yourself, it is quite possible to become an expert in the Portuguese language without necessarily going through a language school.
Why Learn Portuguese?
Although Portugal is a lot smaller than many other countries, its language can be found far and wide. In fact, Portuguese in an official language in 9 countries across 4 continents, spoken in Europe, South America, Africa, and even Asia.
What might surprise you further is that it is the seventh most spoken language in the world, with an estimated 220 million native speakers.
Therefore, learning Portuguese to travel is a great idea and one that might even open doors for your along the way!
One of the official languages of the UN, Portuguese is a great language to have on your CV if you wish to not limit yourself to staying in the UK. However, even if you feel quite at home in England, Portuguese (unlike Spanish which is found on a lot of English-speakers' CVs) can make you stand out from the crowd of candidates when you apply for a job.
But be quick! UNESCO estimates that there will be more than 335 million Portuguese speakers by 2050, meaning that by learning the language you will be joining an incredibly fast growing community. Be one of the first and get learning Portuguese now before everyone catches on to how great a language it is!
Interesting fact: Did you know that Portuguese is the fifth most used language on the web?
Here are our tips for easy learning of Portuguese!
Learning to Speak Portuguese with a Private Tutor
To become bilingual in the Portuguese language, one of the most effective methods is Portuguese lessons with a tutor.
From Portuguese pronunciation to Portuguese grammar and phonetics, a native Portuguese tutor will be able to teach you all the linguistic skills necessary for learning the Portuguese language.
The learner must first determine their own language level before choosing their tutor:
- Novice level: the basics of phonetics,
- Beginner level: some Portuguese vocabulary, personal pronouns, and numbers, few words and phrases
- Intermediate level: knowledge of Portuguese grammar, Portuguese conjugation and adjectives, wider range of expressions and phrases,
- Advanced level: verb conjugation, the participle and the gerund, not quite fluent but close,
- Expert level: fluency in classical Portuguese (oral expression and written expression).
Students are advised to hire a native speaker as a tutor as they will be able to transmit not only their knowledge of the language but also of Brazilian or Portuguese culture. Remember that European Portuguese is different to the Brazilian Portuguese language.
Don't forget that learning a new language is an adventure that requires commitment and patience.
You will need to:
- set yourself realistic goals, for example learning a certain number of words a day, or aiming to have at least one conversation in Portuguese a week, depending on your level,
- integrate the language learning process into your every day life in order to have a consistently immersive process,
- take all opportunities to practise available to you; the more exposure to Portuguese that you have, the better your learning experience will be.
Every parent wants the best future for their children, and further academic support is sometimes necessary for helping children achieve their best. They may be performing lower than average for a number of reasons, but even students who are doing brilliantly in school can benefit greatly from the help of a private tutor and end up achieving top grades.
Whether they’re at primary school, secondary school, college, or university, you could offer your child the best gift by funding academic support tutorials to give them a rounded view of Portugal and its language rather than them just learning the 'commercial' language which they'll probably find in resources and apps.
The main difference between one on one tutoring and your child learning Portuguese in school is that, with academic tutoring, you're usually the only student and thus get all of the focus. Unlike in school where the teacher is tasked with providing general instruction to a number of students, tutors are expected to tailor their lessons to each individual student.
Superprof is an online platform for tutors to advertise their services and to connect with pupils. The website offers you the option to filter tutors based on your preferred search criteria, whether that be price, years of experience, location, etc...
On Superprof, you can find qualified teachers who can give you classes in person, or via webcam. You can see all of their qualifications, as well as how much they charge so there will be no nasty surprises at the end of the class!
To find the ideal tutor, Portuguese students can decide to take Portuguese lessons remotely. Indeed, our teachers offer lessons via webcam (with the Skype software) in order to review Portuguese from elsewhere in the world.
To check if a tutor accepts online lessons, look for the small "webcam" icon on his or her Superprof profile.
Whether you are planning a language study trip to Sao Paulo or Lisbon, or want to become familiar with a new Latin language, private lessons will be your education's best ally...
The Best Portuguese for Beginners Apps
As we all know, smartphones and tablets are a part of every aspect of our lives.
So why not learn Portuguese by using an app on your smartphone or tablet?
Fun interactive software is available to all age groups, from children and beginners to the expert adults. Learning via an application allows you to both enrich your vocabulary while also discovering the Portuguese irregular verbs. You can also practice speaking the Portuguese language as to later be able to hold a conversation with a native.
To learn how to speak in Portuguese, here are some of our highly recommended applications:
- Learn Portuguese 6k words,
- Portuguese for free children,
- Play & Learn Portuguese,
- 100% Portuguese,
- Learn Brazilian easy,
- ITalk Portuguese...
An application allows you to review both your Portuguese writing and your Portuguese speaking. Indeed, some applications offer voice recognition services, which allow the student to control his or her pronunciation thanks to correction provided by native speakers.
This is a good way to know if you have a Portuguese accent or a Brazilian accent!
The applications are perfect for revising between two courses in a language school or between classes with a private tutor: in public transportation, at work, or at a university, all kinds of students can improve at a regular or intensive pace with these great learning tools!
Let's take a look at one of the above apps.
Babbel is a mobile app which offers learning resources for various languages, including European Portuguese. The idea of the ‘Babbel Method’ is to keep language learning fast and fun while adopting world-class techniques, proven strategies and the strongest academic learning practices to teach languages.
Speed, especially in such a technology-driven world, is of utmost importance to many learners, as is ease of access. This is why Babbel has found such great success. It offers powerful and progressive lessons which guarantee the shortest path to real-life conversations thanks to dialogues, cognitive techniques, speech recognition activities and topics tailored to your native language and personal preferences.
To learn Brazilian Portuguese and find out everything you need to know about the vocabulary of Portuguese-speaking daily life, why not download a free application?
Learn Portuguese Online
Studying Portuguese online instead of at a language school or via homeschooling allows students to have more freedom and flexibility in their studies.
To immerse yourself in the official language of Portugal, some web resources allow you to learn Portuguese for free and easily thanks to weekly lessons that are great to memorize for maximum learning!
Educational games, tests, quizzes, exam simulations...There are many resources available to you!
Portuguese online exercises are particularly useful to accompany a student with his or her educational process: the images, sounds, and videos work on the child's visual memory, auditory memory, and general memory.
Here are some useful sites to learn Brazilian Portuguese or Classic Portuguese:
- Easy Portuguese,
- Portugal mania,
- World of languages,
- My Lisbon,
- Rio welcome...
Good to know: some Camoes language learning websites offer English-Portuguese and Portuguese-English dictionaries that allow you to work on your accent, but also to understand all the subtleties of Portuguese words and idioms.
Portuguese online courses are perfect for preparing an immersion trip to Brazil or Portugal. Don't forget that you can learn to speak Portuguese directly on your laptop!
Students with a visual memory may prefer online video libraries, such as on Youtube or Dailymotion. Video hosts will offer to teach you the basics of the Portuguese language through free and fun language classes.
Trust experienced surfers to progress quickly in speaking or spelling Portuguese!
How to Learn Portuguese for Free
To become a polyglot without having to pay a single penny would be a dream come true...
In the face of the sometimes exorbitant prices of certain language schools with their registration fees and prices per hour, students are always looking for cheap resources to learn Portuguese.
Our advice: vary educational tools in order to be able to master the Portuguese language and culture as a whole.
To improve your memory and learn a foreign language for free, here are some useful resources:
- Portuguese TV shows and films in their original versions with English subtitles at first, then in original Portuguese with Portuguese subtitles,
- Portuguese exercises online,
- Portuguese courses online,
- Educational video libraries,
- Apps for smartphone and tablet,
- Portuguese courses via associations,
- Portuguese learning manuals, available for free in the library.
Want to learn Portuguese with a professional?
No problem: students from all over the world can learn Arabic, Turkish, German, Spanish, or Portuguese via MOOC courses!
These lessons, 100% free, are popular because they allow learners of all ages to boost their professional careers by taking reputed courses prepared by associate professors in some of the best universities worldwide. Students can find lessons available on the Fun-Mooc catalog.
The Portuguese student can take these professional lessons for free and even validate his or her learning with an official language certification, although this has an additional cost.
Moreover, listening to podcasts is a great way to enhance your language skills.
Portuguese With Carla, for instance, is a podcast entirely dedicated to learning the European version of Portuguese. Both Carla and her husband, who run the website and podcast, are Portuguese natives and have lived in the country most of their lives.
What can you expect from this European Portuguese programme?
- High-quality audio recordings
- Colloquial language
- Idiomatic expressions
- Guests with differing accents
- A variety of themes (Leisure, Eating, Travel, Medical, Work, Business, Shopping, etc)
- Grammar tips
- Transcripts for every lesson
- Innovative language acquisition techniques
- Memorisation tricks
The lessons provided are all unbelievably free of charge, the owners just ask that you leave them a great review on iTunes if you have benefitted from their tuition!
How to Teach Yourself Portuguese
Taking classes in school is not compulsory if you are looking to succeed, especially in the field of foreign languages.
Learning Portuguese on your own has many advantages, the most important being the learner's independence. Indeed, the learner does not have to comply with the schedule he or she has determined with his or her teacher: he or she can therefore scatter his lessons as he or she pleases, regardless of the tutor's availability.
This freedom also translates to his time with Portuguese exercises. The student has carte blanche when it comes to choosing his educational resources in order to learn Portuguese on his or her own. Here, no textbook is imposed: the student chooses Brazilian Portuguese courses that interest him or her!
However, do not confuse learning on your own with loneliness. In Bill Gherry's article on self-study on January 5, 2017, he explains:
"A selfmade man (or woman) learns from others before learning on his or her own, contrary to what the word self-taught means. Experience is obviously important, if not essential, but the potential for growth and learning must be expressed. "
Okay, it is not strictly your own doing but using your initiative to be proactive and find yourself a penfriend or mate to chat with online can really advance your language skills fast.
Using the telephone to speak to someone in your second language can be absolutely terrifying, but don't hide behind your computer screen for too long. The quicker and the more regularly you get chatting to people in person or on the phone, the more confident you will be with your speaking.
Maintaining a friendship with a penpal is so much easier now that you can correspond via email, text message, Skype, Whatsapp and more. This also facilitates a better bond by allowing you to get to know each other much faster thanks to a quicker connection and prompt replies!
No more waiting for letters or postcards to arrive in the post!
A couple of examples of websites dedicated to those seeking penpals from other countries are My Language Exchange and Global Penfriends.
But you don't have to strike up a relationship with people abroad or on the Internet.
You'll probably find that, if you look in the right places, there are Portuguese speakers in your very own town wanting to team up with people to either talk in their mother tongue or to teach beginners about their language. Look out for leaflets in cafes, notices on notice boards or for adverts on local Facebook groups to find someone who you can meet up with and improve your language skills over a cup of coffee.
With Facebook being such a great place to connect about almost anything, with groups set up for all purposes, why not put the feelers out and ask your friends or group acquaintances if they know of anyone who might be interested in a Portuguese-speaking monthly meet up.
Travel To Portugal
It may seem a mystery how a stay in Portugal could teach you more than a dozen lessons with a professional linguistics tutor, but visiting a country can teach you so much in the way of language and culture and thus facilitate learning a language like Portuguese, which is steeped in history.
As a tourist in Portugal, you can soak up conversations all around you, independently learn to read signs written in the language and discover local traditions taking place and their meaning to the country. What's more, you can discover the delicious food found in this European country!
The younger you are, the easier it is said to be to pick up a foreign language yet if you leave yourself completely open to learning and are willing to show yourself up by trying out your conversational skills in order to communicate with the locals, then you will pick up the language in no time. You just need to take a leap!
Where is the best place to go in this Iberian peninsula?
The Algarve is the clear favourite for tourism, particularly families looking for a great climate and beautiful sandy beaches, but if you want somewhere a bit more original then you could opt for Ericeira and join in the surfing scene. Sintra, meanwhile, offers inspiring architecture whilst Porto shines with culture, particularly when it comes to food. It is known as one of the best places in the country when it comes to cuisine!
However, there is no denying that the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon, is one of the best places to visit as a newcomer. There's great weather, great views, great food and great music (known as fado).
Many airlines fly from the UK to various cities in Portugal, with the most popular route being London to Lisbon.
To really become an expert in the Camoes language, it is therefore advisable to:
- Travel to Portugal or Brazil,
- Talk with a Portuguese stranger,
- Work in Portugal, in an English school for example,
- Do an internship in Portugal,
- Take part in a Portuguese language exchange program,
- Study in Portugal,
- Talk with people of Portuguese origin in your own country, in associations for example,
- Immerse yourself in Portuguese culture (Portuguese cuisine, Portuguese literature...).
By combining digital resources, textbooks, and meetings, a Portuguese student can very easily obtain a bilingual Anglo-Portuguese level if he or she is serious and shows a lot of perseverance.
You now have all the cards in hand to start learning the language of Camoes!
If you are based in the capital, you can look online for 'portuguese classes london'.