Learn Portuguese with 6 Blogs That’ll Skyrocket Your Motivation
Learning Portuguese isn’t just about memorizing conjugations and nailing those tricky accent marks.
It’s also about music and dance, finding exciting new cities and learning about new cultures.
That’s where learning with Portuguese blogs come into play.
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—it can also open a window to Lusophone cultures that’ll motivate you to continue learning.
The best English-language blogs for Portuguese learners can show you what music has easy lyrics to understand, what websites, podcasts 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 is a complete authority on Portuguese, but taken together, they offer excellent supplementary materials to traditional learning methods. 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.
Learn Portuguese with 6 Blogs That’ll Skyrocket Your Motivation
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 (a.k.a. “language hacks”) from the perspective of a learner, as well as her two cents on the many resources she’s used to study the language.
In particular, she’s 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.
The blog hasn’t gotten an update since 2014 but it remains a fantastic resource for Portuguese learners.
Street Smart Brazil
The online language school Street Smart Brazil was founded by Luciana Lage, an experienced university-level Portuguese teacher. This is the school’s blog.
As the name suggests, the blog is focused on Brazilian Portuguese. It’s particularly valuable for learners looking who want approachable coverage of narrow grammar topics.
You might enjoy, 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.
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.
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.
Slipcue merges learning with Portuguese and learning with Portuguese music into one beautiful (though visually dated) resource. 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 from a musical point of view, 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 the complex “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 wasn’t vocabulary that I was likely to use and remember when I was starting out with the language.
On the other hand, 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. He’s taught at the university level and coached in the private sector. In other words, he knows what he’s talking about and he’s good at getting it across to his readers.
He offers a good overview of some important European Portuguese topics for learners, though 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 Rafa’s page about verbs 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.
This blog of a Lisbon language school has 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 language-learning adventure by learning Portuguese with blogs.
As you get more comfortable with 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.