Maybe you think of yourself as an auditory learner: When information comes to you through the spoken word or song, it sticks in your brain forever.
Listening practice is still important, even if you’re not an auditory learner!
Whether you need to tune up your listening skills or you think it might be time for an immersive lesson, I’m here to help you find an option for learning Portuguese with audio that best aligns with your goals.
- The Michel Thomas Method
- Practice Portuguese
- Collins Easy Learning Portuguese
- Maria Oliveira’s Language Learning
- “Behind The Wheel Portuguese” by Language Dynamics
- Mimic Method Portuguese
- BBC Active Portuguese
- Why Use Audio to Learn Portuguese Pronunciation?
Website | iOS | Android
Pimsleur has a strong auditory focus. Much of the program consists of listening to a conversation and then repeating parts of it, gradually building up knowledge until you can recall the phrases that have been said when prompted.
Pimsleur does come with a reading component, too, but this is secondary and not heavily focused on. The audio is the huge selling point for them—you can use this program to learn easily and effortlessly, wherever you go. Many people even use it for learning while driving!
The program teaches Portuguese in a simple yet holistic manner, making the content easily digestible so that it can be put to use in real life. The CD set also comes with two reading booklets and two hours of reading instruction.
Your mileage will vary depending on which dialect you’re studying, though. The Brazilian Portuguese package is incredibly comprehensive, with modules spanning across all levels, while the European Portuguese software is only geared toward beginners.
Website | iOS | Android
This immersive platform will appeal to Brazilian Portuguese learners with a collection of authentic videos and relevant recap exercises.
You’ll be hearing the native accent right from the get-go, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to supplement your study with personalized, interactive activities.
All the videos also display subtitles in Portuguese and English (both of which can be toggled on or off) so that you can follow what’s being said in real time. The action of tapping on or hovering over any unfamiliar word or phrase within the subtitles automatically stops the video and presents you with an info box containing the translation, grammar information and even other videos that feature the word in use.
FluentU breaks down how much you’ve learned into percentages and rewards the achievements of your daily goal–which can be as little as one minute of practice a day—with points.
The Michel Thomas Method
Website | iOS | Android
Michel Thomas is a fascinating character who mastered 10 languages in his lifetime and, after surviving concentration camps, dedicated his life to education. He spent 50 years in education and developed his own method of teaching a second language.
The Michel Thomas Method offers auditory learning in its purest form. There are no textbooks, no writing exercises and no flashcard memorization techniques. Everything is packed into a series of CD sets, spanning from beginner to advanced practice.
Taking a relaxed approach to language instruction, the Michel Thomas method insists that students don’t try to memorize vocabulary words or even take notes during the lessons. The course offers an immersion experience without the strain or stress that usually accompanies learning something new.
There is a bit of vagueness as to which language variety the Michel Thomas Method caters for, but a brief look at their audio trial indicates that theirs is a European Portuguese study source.
Practice Portuguese is the place to get your fix of educational European Portuguese podcasts and videos (that you can sort by level). Many of these are free to access if you want to test the waters before getting into their courses.
The course also includes over 100 quizzes and promises to teach you over 2,000 phrases and more than 250 verbs. The program tracks your progress and allows you to move at your own pace.
All study materials will expose you to an array of topical exchanges, from simple routine tasks like grocery shopping to interesting cultural discussions about traditional foods and recent current affairs. Premium podcast features include synchronized transcripts, pronunciation exercises and interactive quizzes.
Collins Easy Learning Portuguese
Collins Easy Learning Portuguese is an audiobook and CD set. In addition to purchasing on the Collins website, you can also check the pricing on Amazon.
This Portuguese audio resource is best suited for learners who want to brush up on their European Portuguese basics—not just novices, but travelers too.
It focuses on teaching you keywords to utilize in the most common situations travelers find themselves in.
The short, introductory course is divided into 12 units. Each module begins with five key phrases, then covers the basic grammar and vocabulary skills required to use them. A 48-page booklet with audio transcripts and practice activities is also included.
Check out the website for a short clip of some of the course audio!
Maria Oliveira’s Language Learning
Maria Oliveira is a language instructor, translator and Language Program Specialist who has spent the last 25 years working as a Spanish and Portuguese language instructor in the Bay Area. A Portugal native, her courses are online-based and completely interactive with a heavy focus on listening.
You can access the courses anytime and anywhere you choose. The website caters to European and Brazilian Portuguese beginners and has a number of courses for both varieties, at $84 each. These courses feature 30 lessons covering everything from basic vocabulary to the conjugation of regular and irregular verbs.
After completing the course, you’ll have learned numerous terms and phrases that’ll help you with travel and business meetings in Portuguese-speaking countries. If you think this might be the course for you, take advantage of the sample lesson available on the website.
As a bonus, if you’re ever interested in learning Portuguese abroad, Maria Oliveira offers a study abroad program in the Azores, Portugal.
“Behind The Wheel Portuguese” by Language Dynamics
May be available on Amazon
This is an older method that’ll appeal to those who thrive on repetition and want to practice in their downtime.
The audio CDs have been devised so that anyone can listen and learn while driving—in an immersive, but non-intrusive manner. Courses are led by a native Brazilian Portuguese instructor and complemented by an American translator who helps you stay on track of the words spoken.
The program includes 10 60-minute CDs and takes learners from basic to high intermediate speaking and comprehension level. The format of the lessons has more of a classroom feel, with English spoken first and the corresponding Portuguese translation following.
It’s a bit on the pricey side, but you’ll be getting 10 solid hours of intensive Portuguese instruction.
Mimic Method Portuguese
Mimic Method Portuguese is unique in its approach: Its creator argues that learning how to mimic the sounds and the words being spoken is the first step toward fluency.
As such, the Mimic Method teaches Brazilian Portuguese entirely based on pronunciation—starting with the sounds, then moving on to syllables and sentence construction. Once you’ve nailed the accent development and conversation units, the Mimic Method starts teaching scholarly essentials like reading, writing and grammar.
The creator explains that most people complete the Portuguese course in 8-12 weeks, but it’s entirely self-paced.
Website | iOS | Android
HelloTalk is a language-exchange software that connects you with users from across the globe, getting you to listen and speak with Portuguese natives.
You can look for a language exchange partner from Portugal or Brazil or even from specific cities if you’d like to focus on a more regional dialect.
A cool feature of the app is the ability to not only send messages but also pictures with doodles to your exchange partner. It also provides a safe environment for making mistakes and receiving feedback.
Website | iOS | Android
Forvo has become a popular tool for crowd-sourcing pronunciation. It’s like a dictionary for how words are meant to sound: You simply type in the word or common expression you want to hear, then click to listen.
Files are uploaded by users from all over the globe—but a quick test indicates that, as far as Portuguese is concerned, the Brazilian accent dominates.
Forvo is meant to be a pronunciation reference, not a translator tool for large blocks of text. The platform allows speakers to submit audio files of word pronunciations and hear pronunciations from other speakers of the language all over the world. You have to be a user to submit an audio file, but you’re free to look up (and hear) words without an account.
Portuguese currently has over 137,000 pronounced words on file so grab your list of those words that are giving you trouble and give it a whirl!
BBC Active Portuguese
BBC Active Portuguese is a UK-based site that sells specialist audio and textbook courses for Portuguese learners. Their Quickstart audio-only course is available for absolute beginners and comes in CD format, but can be loaded onto your MP3 player.
They also offer another course for beginners that comes in a book/audio combo as well as a couple of courses geared toward travel.
Yes, we know all the prices are in Pound Sterling but, if you find something that piques your interests, you could always do an Amazon search for the materials to see if you can find them in your currency. For example, you may be able to purchase their “Talk Portuguese,” “Get By in Portuguese” and “Quickstart Portuguese” programs through Amazon.
Why Use Audio to Learn Portuguese Pronunciation?
Whether you choose to adopt audio as your primary method of study or as a supplementary resource, taking things up a level is guaranteed to make a resounding difference.
Obviously, if you want to reach fluency in any language, you need to know how each word is structured, enunciated and pronounced. Though sounding like a native may not be your primary goal, effective communication should be. You want to make sure your pronunciation is good enough so that you can be understood by others.
To speak naturally, you need to go beyond textbook statements and get a feel for how the Average Joe (or Average João) actually speaks.
Needless to say, audio learning will greatly help in this regard. Many audio resources you’ll come across—free or otherwise—will try to expose you to how Portuguese is used in an everyday setting. You become accustomed to the rhythm, intonation and stress they use, as well as content like vocabulary, grammar and slang.
That being said, don’t forget that listening goes above and beyond the courses and resources we’ll be covering in this blog post. Try to get creative with how you approach your auditory experience! Ramp it up by listening to topical podcasts, popular music, online videos and interesting movies with subtitles.
Finally, remember to stay on top of your reading and writing too: use any textbooks, dictionary apps, blogs and other study material to complement everything you’re actively listening to.
As you can see, there are so many ways to learn Portuguese with audio. We’ve given you plenty of materials to play with to improve your listening skills.
Hopefully, these resources will get you started on your auditory journey toward fluency!