Wait—what did he just say?
I didn’t catch that at all.
Is she even speaking Portuguese?
If you’ve tried to watch content in Portuguese, these phrases may have escaped your lips a few times. That’s because understanding spoken Portuguese can be more than a little tricky.
But you don’t have to struggle alone! You can use subtitles to get a leg up so that you can enjoy Portuguese movies, TV shows and even YouTube channels, allowing you to practice your listening skills without being in over your head.
These seven resources for learning Portuguese with subtitles are a great way to dive into listening practice!
Why Learn Portuguese with Subtitles?
First of all, using subtitles can allow you to access more authentic material. Real-world audio-based content can be challenging for students to approach, but with subtitles available, even beginners can enjoy media intended for native speakers.
Why should you want to watch authentic content, anyway? Well, that’s because it uses Portuguese more like it’s used in everyday life. Academic Portuguese is often slower and clearer, whereas authentic materials use a more natural pace.
Plus, watching authentic materials can help you pick up valuable vocabulary you might otherwise miss, like Brazilian slang.
Using English subtitles can also make it easy to quickly determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases. Without subtitles, you’ll have to either guess a word’s meaning based on context or pause what you’re watching to look it up. Subtitles give you a clearer and more immediate understanding of words and phrases.
Finally, using Portuguese subtitles can help you connect spoken and written Portuguese. Reading and listening are two different skills and it can be hard to connect the spoken and written words in your mind. However, if you read along in Portuguese as you listen, the mental connection can become clearer.
Learn Portuguese with Subtitles Thanks to 7 Unbeatable Resources
Put your Netflix subscription to great use!
Netflix offers tons of authentic content from around the world, including Portuguese-language TV and movies.
Perhaps best of all, the platform offers optional English subtitles, allowing you to turn them on and off to meet your learning needs and preferences. Beyond that, some options allow you to use subtitles in either English or Portuguese, making it easy to adjust the settings to meet your level, needs and goals.
To find Portuguese content, just search “Portuguese.” Really, it’s that easy! While you’ll also see a few English-language options in the mix, you’ll find plenty of authentic Portuguese shows and movies.
For instance, movie lovers can enjoy the critically acclaimed “Cidade de Deus” (“City of God”). If you’re looking for a bingeable TV show instead, check out the dramatic “3%.”
Subtitles sure are handy, but wouldn’t it be nice if they could provide you with more information? If you use the upcoming FluentU Portuguese program, they can!
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
And sure, each video comes with subtitles… but each word within the subtitles can also be clicked for tons more information like its definition, part of speech, some examples and even other videos that use the word, all without even leaving the video you’re watching.
Plus, if you stumble upon a word you’d like to study more, you can add it to your vocabulary list with just a click.
If that’s not enough, you can also access a full transcript of each video and peruse a key vocabulary word list before you even start the video.
Want to change things up? FluentU also offers quizzes that combine videos, images and example sentences into engaging, interactive flashcards and activities.
Regardless of your current proficiency level, FluentU can help you improve your Portuguese skills. You choose what you watch and how much you watch. Meanwhile, FluentU’s algorithm tracks your learning to present you with questions appropriate for your skill level, allowing you to build on what you’ve already learned.
FluentU is also convenient: You can use it in your browser, download the iOS app or enjoy the Android app. A Portuguese program is currently in development so stay tuned for a fun and immersive way to study Portuguese!
Your go-to shopping destination just got a little better! You can stock up on a nice selection of DVDs with Portuguese audio and optional subtitles. Just watch for regional restrictions before you purchase to make sure that you can use them at home.
On Amazon, you can search for your favorite movies to check if they’re available. For instance, you might enjoy “Monstros S.A.” (“Monsters, Inc.”), which features Brazilian Portuguese audio and optional subtitles in English and/or Portuguese. Similarly, Portuguese students can check out “Aladdin,” and explore similar subtitle options.
One of the easiest ways to find subtitled movies in Portuguese on Amazon is to search “Brazilian subtitled” or “Brazilian edition movie.”
European Portuguese learners will have a bit less luck. While you can search “Portuguese subtitled,” the search will yield some movies with English audio and even some books. Instead, you may have to choose a specific European Portuguese movie and search for it by name.
Music fans, rejoice! You can practice your Portuguese skills by watching subtitled music videos.
Lyrics Training offers great music videos, like “O Sol” (“The Sun”) by Vitor Kley. But Lyrics Training has a twist! The subtitles are incomplete, and your task is to fill in the missing words.
Luckily, if you mishear something, just hit “Rewind” to replay the most recent line.
You set the level, so this program is appropriate for beginning through advanced Portuguese students. Beginners fill in fewer words, while expert-level students are challenged to fill in every word. If the challenge seems too great, you can also print the lyrics for easy access.
For students focusing on European Portuguese, it can be more challenging to find authentic resources. But Practice Portuguese is a YouTube channel that can hook you up with great listening activities that focus on primarily European Portuguese.
Practice Portuguese offers an array of videos designed specifically for Portuguese learners, but the real highlight is the subtitled options. Animated dialogues frequently offer subtitles in Portuguese, making it easy to read along as you listen.
Plus, the animations make it easy to figure out word meanings. For instance, Portuguese students can learn some food vocabulary, as well as some differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese, by watching “Encomendar uma Pizza” (“Order a Pizza”).
To find subtitled options, just look at the video titles: The channel clearly labels its subtitled options.
Movies, TV and music are undeniably great, but if you’re looking to travel, you might want to hear what real people on the street sound like. Easy Languages is a terrific YouTube channel that lets you listen to real Portuguese speakers.
The “Easy Brazilian Portuguese” playlist features on-the-street interviews with real Brazilians.
You can learn about Brazilian life and culture with videos like “A birthday in Brazil.”
And the subtitling’s pretty irresistible: Videos have dual captioning, allowing you to see both the Portuguese caption alongside its English translation simultaneously. This makes it easy to read along with what you hear, while quickly looking at the translation for any words or phrases you don’t understand.
If you want to watch real Brazilian TV, wwiTV is your hookup. This free website provides links to livestreams from some of the biggest TV channels in Brazil.
While the livestreams don’t have subtitles, some of the recorded clips on wwiTV feature auto-generated subtitles. You can set these subtitles to Portuguese or auto-translate to English by clicking the “CC” in the bottom right-hand corner of the YouTube videos on the site, like in the case of the recorded broadcast for NBR TV.
Let’s be real: auto-generated subtitles aren’t perfect. They do get some words wrong. However, when people speak clearly, as they do on news broadcasts, they can be pretty helpful.
Plus, more advanced Portuguese students could make an additional learning activity out of finding the errors in the subtitles.
These seven resources to learn Portuguese with subtitles might be just what you need to improve your listening skills without being overwhelmed. Use these subtitled resources to level up your Portuguese skills!
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