Is the call of caipirinhas, Capacopana, Carnival, tropical sunshine and samba luring you in?
Well, before you can fully access all the wonders Brazil has to offer, there may be one thing you need more than sunscreen and mosquito repellant: Brazilian Portuguese skills.
While Brazilian and European Portuguese have some clear overlap, there are also many notable differences, including grammar rules, vocabulary words (including slang) and pronunciations.
There are plenty of amazing resources out there to help you hone your Brazilian Portuguese, but I’m going to share 15 of my favorites!
- Why You Should Learn Brazilian Portuguese
- How to Learn Brazilian Portuguese
- 15 Resources to Learn Brazilian Portuguese Like a True Brasileiro
Why You Should Learn Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese is widely spoken.
Portuguese is a very widely spoken language, with around 234 million speakers. According to the CIA World Factbook, Brazil is the world’s fifth-most populous country with over 208 million people.
While Portuguese is spoken in many other countries, Brazil has the most significant population of Portuguese speakers. If you’re unsure of which variation of Portuguese to study, Brazilian Portuguese may have an edge because it’s so widespread.
It’s more common than French and German.
Despite being widely spoken, Portuguese isn’t as widely studied as many other languages.
Spanish, French and German are traditionally the most commonly studied foreign languages in the United States. However, Portuguese is more widely spoken than German, and it’s a more common first language than French or German.
Learning Brazilian Portuguese can help you connect with Brazilian culture.
Let’s face facts: Brazil has a lot to offer. Between the music, dance, sports, food, history and natural wonders, there’s so much to enjoy. Learning Brazilian Portuguese can help you connect with Brazilian culture on a much deeper level.
If you think you love the culture now, imagine how much greater your affection might be once you understand Brazilian Portuguese!
How to Learn Brazilian Portuguese
Use multiple resources.
One resource is a good start, but using more resources can give you a broader perspective. Each resource has its own distinct style and approach to the language. If audio tools are available, the voice, accent and inflection of the speaker may also vary significantly.
Using multiple resources to learn Brazilian Portuguese can better equip you to understand real Brazilian Portuguese.
Practice the four essential components of language.
Thoroughly learning any language requires a balance of skills. As you study Brazilian Portuguese, try to improve your reading, writing, speaking and listening to prevent any major weak points in your skillset. Some resources will be better for learning and practicing your reading skills, while others might be better suited to improve your writing, listening or speaking skills.
This is also another good reason why you should utilize multiple resources.
If you study Brazilian Portuguese for one hour on Saturday mornings, there’s a strong chance you’ll forget some of what you learned from week to week. It’s only natural!
Any skill you’re not using can fade. Studying more often can help keep what you’ve learned fresh in your mind and prevent some of the backsliding caused by long gaps between study sessions. Even if you just study for a few minutes each day, it can help keep you on the right track.
Full fluency takes time, but setting smaller goals along the way can help you stay motivated and focused. After all, you might not feel like studying some days, but if you’ve made it your goal to learn five new words each day, that concrete goal may be the extra push you need to keep going.
Utilize your Brazilian Portuguese language skills.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” Well, this is certainly true when it comes to Brazilian Portuguese. Using the skills you’ve acquired helps to reinforce them; so try to use your newly acquired language skills as often as possible.
Whether you speak to yourself, find a conversation exchange partner, keep a journal in Brazilian Portuguese or enjoy Brazilian Portuguese books and movies, anything you can do to use your skills can serve as extra practice.
15 Resources to Learn Brazilian Portuguese Like a True Brasileiro
Available: iOS | Android
Do you think that you’re just too busy to learn Brazilian Portuguese? Well, this will change with Nemo! No, Nemo won’t slash your commute in half or convince your boss to give you your coveted 10-hour workweek. But what it can do is cram a little learning into whatever few moments you have to spare.
Nemo is designed to be used in those spare moments that so often go to waste.
Audio from native speakers helps you along with the pronunciation. Since the audio is saved to your phone, you can even get in some practice when you don’t have internet access, like on your next flight.
Card decks are available to help you pick up new vocabulary with a strong focus on commonly used words.
Want to see how you sound? The Speech Studio lets you record yourself to compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker.
Available: iOS | Android
Using authentic resources is a convenient way to get exposure to how natives use their language, from the comfort of your home.
FluentU’s language learning program is based on authentic videos, which have interactive captions that provide you instant access to any word’s definition, example sentences and a memorable image.
Add the words you’ve seen in videos to personalized vocabulary lists and flashcard decks. Practice them with flashcards and quizzes that deliver a rich multimedia learning experience, and answer questions by tapping your keyboard or practice speaking skills by using your voice.
Please note that our Brazilian Portuguese program is still in development, and European Portuguese is not yet available.
Learn Portuguese + by Vidalingua
Classroom study usually includes a good balance of lessons and activities, but achieving that balance in an app is sometimes difficult. Learn Portuguese + by Vidalingua strikes that balance with over 100 lessons and more than 4,000 exercises. This combination of lessons and exercises can help teach you important skills and prepare you to use them.
This app focuses mostly on key phrases you may need, with lessons on topics like greetings, questions, numbers and time. Audio pronunciations are available with multiple accent options, and you can even set the speed.
When it comes time to reinforce what you’ve learned, there are plenty of exercises to choose from. You’ll find word jumbles, pronunciation exercises and multiple-choice questions that put your skills to the test.
Learn Portuguese Free for Beginners
Available: iOS | Android
Did you blow your budget by booking your next trip to Brazil? No worries! Learn Portuguese Free for Beginners can help you learn valuable Brazilian Portuguese skills for free.
This free app works offline too. It’s chock-full of basic words that fall into categories like body parts, foods, colors, animals and common verbs.
Lessons and activities combine reading, writing and speaking, while audio from native speakers can help you get the pronunciation down.
Available: iOS | Android
Looking to expand your vocabulary? LinGo Play is a vocabulary trainer that combines flashcards and games. With thousands of words covering hundreds of topics, like education, business and health, there’s plenty to learn.
Beginner students can start out with lessons, while more advanced students can jump right in with educational games. And since there are 16 different exercises, you won’t be left doing the same thing every time you study.
LinGo Play is designed to fit easily into busy schedules and can be used for as little as five minutes a day to expand your vocabulary during your downtime.
LinGo Play offers both Brazilian and European Portuguese, so once you master your Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary, you might consider learning some European Portuguese.
Games, games, games! Not to bash traditional studying, but there’s nothing quite like a game for a much-needed break that keeps the learning on a roll.
Digital Dialects has plenty of Brazilian Portuguese learning games that fit the bill. These games cover topics like colors, numbers, animals, phrases and more. You’ll also find spelling games, verb conjugation activities and general vocabulary builders.
Learn101 is all about teaching language learners the basics, so it’s a great place for beginner students to start. The site teaches the alphabet and common adjectives, nouns and phrases. Not only that, but lessons on pluralization, gender, verbs and grammar give you all the information you need when starting out.
This site can help teach you some key phrases that you can use right away. The combination of vocabulary and grammar lessons can also help prepare you for additional studying down the road.
Learn Portuguese Now
Learn Portuguese Now has its fair share of beginner Brazilian Portuguese lessons. You’ll find vocabulary lessons that cover animals, body parts, clothing, colors, numbers and other common topics. Not only do you get a vocabulary list, but the site also provides flashcards and games to reinforce the vocabulary.
Lovestruck? Check out Learn Portuguese Now’s love quotes!
In addition to vocabulary, Learn Portuguese Now also offers valuable cultural insight on topics like music, food, the flag and more.
Fun with Brazilian Portuguese
Sometimes you might feel like reading your Portuguese lessons, while other times, it’s more desirable to just watch a YouTube video. And if you want to really nail down a topic, sometimes watching a video and reading a lesson is an unbeatable combo.
Fun with Brazilian Portuguese gives you those options. Lessons come with both written instructions and YouTube videos, so you can select what works best for you.
Since the site covers a wide array of topics, there are lessons appropriate for beginner through advanced students.
Scrabbin can help you connect with native Brazilian Portuguese speakers for conversation practice. While you can’t specifically select “Brazilian Portuguese” as a language, you can search for “Portuguese” and then look for Brazilians.
If you’re targeting a specific area of Brazil, you can choose a filter for that region to get a better idea of regional variations in Brazilian Portuguese.
Available: iOS | Android
Writing practice can be almost as hard to get as speaking practice. And if you’re shy, interacting with native speakers by writing may be a little more comfortable for you than speaking to them.
The Slowly app focuses exclusively on written communication. Through this innovative app, you can send letters to people around the world. You can also enter your interests to help you find a penpal with whom you have more in common.
Available: iOS | Android
Speaky is designed to help you connect with native speakers. Through the app, you can find a partner and exchange texts. Using this web platform, you can also make audio and video calls through your browser.
Since Speaky offers text, voice and video, it provides speaking, listening, reading and writing practice to help you develop a more well-rounded language learning experience.
There are tons of Brazilian websites that can provide great reading practice. But unless you’re pretty advanced, you probably won’t be able to understand many of the words you encounter.
With Readlang, you don’t have to worry about not understanding! You can just click on the words you don’t understand for an instant translation, making authentic resources much more accessible.
Plus, once you click a word, Readlang automatically saves it. You can go back and study the words you’ve looked up using convenient flashcards.
Época is a weekly news magazine with plenty of online content. While the articles may be too advanced for beginner and intermediate students, using Readlang can make the site much more accessible. Not only can you get practice reading Brazilian Portuguese, but you can also stay abreast of the latest news from Brazil.
It’s no secret that Netflix is rich in international content. And luckily for Brazilian Portuguese learners, there are plenty of amazing options that are completely binge-worthy.
TV buffs can enjoy exciting options, like “3%,” “O Mecanismo” (“The Mechanism”), “Coisa Mais Linda” (“Most Beautiful Thing”) and so many more. If you prefer movies, check out hits like “Cidade de Deus” (“City of God”) and “Tropa de Elite” (“Elite Squad”).
For students learning Brazilian Portuguese, Netflix’s optional subtitles are particularly exciting. If your skills are advanced enough, you can watch without any subtitles. However, if you need a little extra help, English subtitles are available for all the content in Portuguese.
Not only that, but some Brazilian Portuguese content comes with even more subtitling and audio options to select from. For instance, “3%,” “O Mecanismo,” “Coisa Mais Linda” and several other selections offer subtitles in Brazilian Portuguese.
Similarly, many of the same options that have Brazilian Portuguese subtitling also offer English dubbing. If you’re worried you might miss something by watching in Portuguese, try watching in English first. Then, you can watch it again in Portuguese.
This approach will give you the opportunity to pay more attention to the language itself rather than focusing on and trying to keep up with the plot.
Having the ability to communicate in the native language will open up a whole new world to you in Brazil. So, start working on your base tan, samba steps and Brazilian Portuguese with these 15 resources!