Gone are the days when Portuguese learning was confined to a physical classroom.
You can transport yourself to the streets of Portugal or Brazil with just a few clicks.
Unless you’ve been living in technological isolation, you know that the internet is a gold mine for language and culture content of all types.
Naturally, this includes various study materials for those who relish the idea of learning Brazilian or European Portuguese.
We’re not talking about basic how-to’s or simple starter guides. We’re talking about actual structured online lessons from credible sources that’ll resonate with learners of all skill levels.
Curious to find out more? Follow us as we showcase some of the finest, most treasured resources the web has to offer for Portuguese online courses.
Let’s set the scene with a quick glimpse of what to expect from these expansive and eye-opening resources.
The Educational Advantages of Learning Portuguese Online with Courses
There are good reasons why, over the years, online language learning has seen a surge in popularity. Here are just a few:
- Many respected language institutions have gone out of their way to publish their course materials online. For Portuguese learners, that means leveraging the expertise of credible academic sources and qualified language tutors with a simple click of a mouse!
- Online courses allow you to be in full control of your learning. While you can still find more structured courses, it’s often up to you to set the pace and intensity of your studies according to your time constraints, goals and abilities.
Even if you’re using a more structured course, it’s still up to you to choose from among many and determine what’s best for your individual needs.
- The convenience that comes with this autonomy is a desirable bonus. No longer is the inability to physically “make it” to a lesson a barrier.
In fact, the ability to do things in the comfort of your own home can be quite a strong motivator in itself. When you know you’re responsible for pulling your own weight, you’ll want to hold yourself accountable for doing justice to your chosen online courses.
- If you ever need an extra pick-me-up, supplementary resources are always just a Google search away and are even made available by online courses and teachers themselves. And they’re usually quite fun to explore, too—think online games, blogs, podcasts, movies, apps, radio stations… the possibilities are practically endless!
- Lastly, people are generally drawn to web-based learning because it’s incredibly cost-effective. Online content is often either free to access or very reasonably priced.
The main area where you’ll find a cost divergence is when looking at different Portuguese immersion courses—for example, software packages are quite popular among Brazilian Portuguese learners, but tend to be on the pricier side.
On the other hand, many of the online courses we’ll be recommending are quite accessible for students on a lower budget. And at the end of the day, a bit of research is all it takes to suss out whether investing in a more expensive option will be worthwhile.
Now that we’ve given you a brief taster of what to expect, let’s take a closer look at what’s in store for those who choose to take this study path and learn Portuguese with online courses.
12 Portuguese Online Course Resources to Transport You to Fluency
Whether you’re the fully self-guided type or you’ve got an affinity for structured learning, your online options are abundant.
As you look through this list, think about your current objectives and skills and see how they match up with some of the different courses available. This’ll make it easier to select a good lesson plan in the long run.
Let’s take a look at our top suggestions now!
Babbel is an immersive platform that consists of a nice, varied selection of online Portuguese courses for beginner-level learners of the Brazilian dialect.
The platform’s main offerings include six beginner lessons, Portuguese grammar exercises and a special “Country and Traditions” module that focuses on travel-based and everyday vocabulary that would be useful in all kinds of interactions.
Portuguese learners of all levels, from beginner to advanced, will be able to easily tap into an array of native content through the upcoming immersive Portuguese program.
FluentU takes real-life online videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and more—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
In other words, the program leverages the learning potential of authentic online videos, from Brazil and Portugal alike, to create study materials and practical activities that show you how native speakers actually use the language.
E-Local is the University of Coimbra’s online platform for language learning. It specializes in Continental Portuguese, as well as Dutch, Finnish, Italian, Hungarian and Polish—all of which are taught at a beginner (A1) level.
Courses are free for the university’s students, and quite accessible for outsiders, too. Just try their free demo and if you like what you see, all they ask is an admin fee of 20 Euros (about $24 USD) for a full year’s subscription.
Paying gives you access a wide range of study resources, like videos, photos, audio recordings and even a Facebook group that allows students to work collaboratively with other learners and native speakers alike.
Udemy has become quite famous for its vast collection of online courses. In fact, the site hosts a series of lessons for Brazilian and European Portuguese learners of all levels.
Many of these courses are available at a fee, with prices ranging around $10-$30, but there are a few free gems lurking around, too, including this 3-minute taster.
Udemy’s materials follow a really clear, structured path, usually combining a mixture of online videos, written notes and revision quizzes to get learners practicing and honing their skills at a steady pace.
U-Now Open Courseware
U-Now is the University of Nottingham’s open courseware platform. The British institution uploaded two of its Portuguese courses online, so that anyone, anywhere, can access them on their own time—for free!
Currently, your study choices are a beginner Brazilian Portuguese course and an intermediate European Portuguese course, both of which are structured to fit around a typical college semester.
Each of these consist of a series of listening, reading and writing exercises covering a wide range of topics. Audio transcripts are also provided, to allow students to check up on any unfamiliar words or phrases.
Learn Portuguese with Rafa
This course by Rafael Tavares (aka Rafa) taps into his experiences with speaking European Portuguese at home, growing up in South America (Venezuela, actually, though he says that he has visited Brazil a number of times) and learning English in the United Kingdom.
The course steers away from dry academics and gives full insight into daily linguistic conventions. Over the years, he has developed courses for both European and Brazilian Portuguese learners.
His website includes plenty of materials for beginners, including written guides on grammar, verbs, conjunctions and vocabulary, as well as a series of instructional videos that put all of these into context.
Verbal Planet is a website that connects students of all levels with native Portuguese-speaking tutors.
It’s an incredibly flexible option for Portuguese learners who want to build up fluency in a highly interactive manner—after all, having live conversations is a great way to immerse yourself in the language!
While the site’s options are pretty easy to customize—you can test the waters with a single Skype lesson or plunge all the way into a complete course—this is a great option for letting someone else take charge of your learning.
CoLanguage is another tutoring site you can try that offers a little more structure but still accommodates any level.
The Skype lessons you can schedule with teachers here are also very flexible. They base their lessons on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) levels, so you’ll get regular feedback based on these standards. You can even work to obtain a certificate in a CEFR level if that would be useful for you.
The Portuguese teachers you’ll find here are pre-screened and lessons come with a quality guarantee.
MIT Open Courseware
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has quite a rich open courseware catalog. If you’re trying to get your head around Brazilian Portuguese, MIT has undergrad study materials available to download for free.
Make sure you take a close look at the full list of courses so that you can select the level that best matches your current abilities. In a nutshell, materials cover levels from beginner to advanced, mostly consisting of lecture notes and supplementary resources that can be used for wider reading.
There’s also an accelerated introductory course offered for those who have a background in Spanish.
EasyPortuguese is a no-frills website offering a trove of educational material for beginner-intermediate Brazilian Portuguese learners.
It’s not a structured course, per se, but it’s perfect for those who are looking for a more self-guided approach to online learning. All of its content is accompanied by audio files and the site includes some handy grammar guides, too.
Vocabulary lists are its strongest asset. Words are categorized into a number of different themes, including food, nationality, Brazilian and Portuguese names and adjectives.
Live Lingua FSI Project
Live Lingua’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) project offers free-to-access, public domain courses across 40 different languages. This includes a handful of beginner to intermediate lessons for both Brazilian and European Portuguese learners.
Each course is accompanied by e-books and audio files. Learners also get access to an online recorder for some much-needed pronunciation practice.
And this is another resource that gives you a leg up if you happen to have dabbled with Spanish in the past—there’s a course that helps you transition into the Portuguese language seamlessly.
While the BBC no longer updates its Portuguese study material, beginners to the Brazilian Portuguese dialect can still get some great resources out of the site’s archives.
For those wanting to boost their cultural knowledge, the “Brazil Inside Out” series contains audio files and transcripts about different aspects of local life, from football to Carnival and music.
Another highlight is the Talk Portuguese course, which introduce you to some common Portuguese phrases for everyday situations.
Online Portuguese courses are meant to be personalized experiences, so don’t be afraid to try out different options before settling on a resource that works for you.
Then, just keep practicing at your own pace and you’ll soon find yourself reaching new levels of fluency!
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