portuguese-blog

Get Inspired: 7 Portuguese Blogs to Skyrocket Your Motivation

Learning Portuguese isn’t just about memorizing conjugations and nailing those tricky pronunciations.

It’s also about music and dance, finding exciting new cities and learning new cultures.

That’s where Portuguese blogs come in.

There are so many tools for learning Portuguese available online, so why bother with blogs?

Well, having a few great Portuguese culture and education blogs in your bookmarks can not only provide keys tips for language improvement, but can also open a window to Lusophone cultures that will motivate you to continue learning.

The best English-language blogs for Portuguese learners can show you what music has easy lyrics to understand, what websitespodcasts or apps fellow learners have found useful and ways of approaching grammar that can be quite different from traditional textbooks.

Below, I’ve picked out my very favorites from the many Portuguese blogs that are out there.

No single blog will provide a complete authority on Portuguese, but taken together, they will offer excellent supplementary materials in various ways. Learning Portuguese can be a long slog, so having a variety of material to work with can make the journey much more interesting and motivating.

The blogs at the top of this list tend to prioritize the Brazilian experience, while the last two are devoted mainly to European Portuguese.

Follow These Trailblazing Portuguese Blogs by Language Learners and Experts

Hacking Portuguese

Enter the world of Lauren, who—like anyone with sense—was hooked on Brazilian choro music from the moment she heard it. This obsession with one of the world’s greatest music styles eventually led her to study the Portuguese language.

She doesn’t claim to be the world’s foremost expert on the language. What she does do is provide guidance on Portuguese language issues (“language hacks,” as they’re called these days) from the perspective of a learner, as well as her two cents on the many resources she has used to study the language.

In particular, she has penned solid book recommendations, software reviews and an incredibly thorough guide to the trickiest of pronunciation problems: the Portuguese “r” (and all of its variants). Spending some time in the weeds on that facet of the language is worthwhile and fascinating.

Street Smart Brazil

This is the blog of the online language school Street Smart Brazil, founded by Luciana Lage, an experienced university-level Portuguese teacher.

As the name suggests, the blog is focused in particular on Brazilian Portuguese. It’s particularly valuable for learners looking for approachable coverage of narrow grammar topics.

I enjoyed, for example, their take on the vast array of usages of the diminutive in Portuguese. It covers the straightforward usage of the diminutive (describing something of a small size) but also how it can be used to express sarcasm, irony, affection and more. It’s a fun post and it shows you an important facet of Portuguese grammar to boot.

There are also a number of great posts on culture and the complications of using the language in everyday life in Brazil.

Brazilian Gringo

This blog comes from Josh Plotkin and Jairet Crum, two expats from California who landed in Brazil. A few grammar topics are covered, but the blog is stronger in preparing you for the “just go there” learning style, and getting you over the annoyances and cultural hurdles of daily Brazilian life.

It has short essays on teaching English in Brazil, adapting to Brazilian customs, being a foreigner in Florianópolis and more. The blog also covers niche topics that are important to anyone who wants to converse with native speakers, such as how you shouldn’t hesitate to interrupt and talk over Brazilians.

What About São Paulo?

At the time of publishing, this blog is having some issues, but hopefully it will be back up again soon. It’s worth seeing, so please do check back later! 

This blog is by a British expat in São Paulo, Andrew Creelman, who it seems is still working to learn the language. It has a heavy focus on being a foreigner in Brazil and attempting to operate in that culture. If you’d like to commiserate with someone who has been through some embarrassing Portuguese misunderstandings—and hey, getting through those situations and diving in again is more important than anything else for learning—this is the place to go.

As the blog often suggests, São Paulo isn’t the most sought-after Brazilian destination. To Creelman, São Paulo is underrated and overlooked, and his blog makes the case for visiting and appreciating this city. And it’s worth listening to his point of view. Losing yourself in South America’s largest metropolis is a great way to meet Brazilians from all over the country and take in some of the best theater, dance and music in the world.

Visitors’ complaints about the city aren’t off-base; transportation can be a nightmare and the pollution is noxious, but if you like big cities with loads of culture, I strongly agree with Creelman that this is the place to enjoy life and learn Portuguese.

I happen to be blocks away from Avenida Paulista (São Paulo’s Times Square) as I write this, and I’ve stayed in the city frequently over the years, back from when I was just starting out. If you’re a beginning Portuguese learner, I second Creelman’s question: what about São Paulo?

Slipcue

This site dates back to when bloggers used to cobble together their own HTML just to build a couple of webpages (the same era that I was starting my Portuguese-learning adventures in). I’m delighted that it’s still up, because it was the single biggest web inspiration for me to learn the language, and constantly led me to search out new lyrics and information as I continued the long learning process. I’ve never found a better set of recommendations and commentary on Lusophone music.

Joe Sixpack, a San Francisco DJ, covers every Portuguese-speaking area, so he can set you on voyages well beyond the Rio-based samba and bossa nova you may have already heard, to expose you to all sorts of accents and rhythms. His site is a bit old-fashioned and even frustrating to navigate. So I’d recommend that most learners start with his picks of the best Brazilian albums. Then explore the rest of Brazil and the Portuguese-speaking world.

The emphasis here tends to be on really strong, funky tunes, without much weight given to the quality or artistry of the lyrics. This is actually a positive for Portuguese learners.

I recall looking up every word of “Águas de Março” (“Waters of March”) when I was a beginner, and sure, the lyrics take you on a worthwhile meander through a series of engrossing images. But that was not vocabulary that I was likely to use and remember when when I was starting out with the language, whereas the lyrics to Jorge Ben’s “País Tropical” (“Tropical Country”) are about living the good life in the best place on earth, with incredibly simple nouns and verbs, every one of which I could use in early conversations.

Slipcue tends to urge you towards lush and funky songs with approachable lyrics, which can be motivating for language students.

Learn Portuguese with Rafa

Rafael Tavares, a.k.a. Rafa, is a Portuguese guy with degrees in language acquisition and modern foreign language education, who has taught at the university level and coached in the private sector. He offers good coverage of some important European Portuguese topics for learners, and this site is definitely worthwhile for those focusing on Brazilian Portuguese, too.

To give one example, if you’re learning a new tense, you might take a break from your workbook and come to this page to get a very digestible overview of what all the different tenses are in Portuguese, and what functions they serve in communication.

He also covers important cultural topics that you’ll want to have a handle on, such as the lovely Portuguese breakfast.

Portuguese Connection

This is the blog of a Lisbon language school with content on all kinds of practical and motivational issues for learners of European Portuguese. It’s a bit difficult to browse or search for specific subjects, but you can navigate by date and you’ll chance across useful posts, such as very common false friends to watch out for and fun bad words. There’s also coverage of the culture of Portugal, including its music.

 

By now you should have a good set of bookmarks in your browser to provide motivation and insight for your Portuguese learning adventure. As you get more comfortable in the language, you can of course also search out subjects that are of interest to you in Portuguese and start to read blogs written in the language itself.

And if you get really inspired, you might eventually join the blogger universe yourself and share what you’ve discovered as you learn the language.


Mose Hayward also writes for TipsyPilgrim, whose Brazilian section covers the gestures you need to feign fluent Portuguese, mastering the sloppy Brazilian kiss, drinking from a Brazilian beer can’s “butt” and other essentials.

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