What’s usually in your headphones?
Probably your favorite tunes, or maybe a the latest episode of that podcast you love?
Whatever you listen to, chances are your headphones are mostly playing audio in your native language, right?
Then it’s time to turn some of that listening time into Portuguese learning time.
Portuguese audiobooks are an awesome tool both for learning language concepts and for exploring the wonderful world of Portuguese literature. You can start your day with an audiobook course and end it with classic love poems. We’ll show you resources for those types of audiobooks and more later in this post.
So listen up on how audiobooks can boost your Portuguese.
How Audiobooks Can Enhance Your Portuguese Learning Experience
Listening is, unsurprisingly, a significant component of language acquisition—the more you practice those auditory skills, the easier it’ll be to understand and communicate with native Portuguese speakers.
But why audiobooks in particular?
One word: Flexibility. You can listen to audiobooks any time, and as often as you wish. They’ll help you attain full comprehension and hone your memorization skills as you play back different passages you didn’t quite understand.
There’s also the freedom to select how much or how little you want to absorb in a single lesson: a chapter, a paragraph, a page—all entirely dependent on how much time you have available for listening.
Just remember that all the basic study rules apply. Take notes to keep track of any unfamiliar words you stumble across, and try to keep a dictionary handy to review them. If your audiobook comes with additional materials (such as practice exercises or accompanying texts), make time to review those as well.
Additionally, you can use learning tools like FluentU to make sure you train your listening comprehension skills appropriately.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. (Note: Portuguese program is still in development!)
Now that we’ve brushed up on the basic know-how, here are some great resources to get you ready to listen.
Perk Your Ears Up for 8 of the Very Best Portuguese Audiobooks
First up, let’s close in on some essential language-course-style audiobooks. Then we’ll take a look at some authentic Portuguese books and stories on audio.
Audio-based Lessons for Brazilian and European Portuguese Learners
These audio courses are all designed with Portuguese learners in mind, and will take you on a guided path to increase your proficiency level.
As you listen, you can discover how much audio you can handle in a single sitting without getting lost or overwhelmed, which will give you a clear sense of how ready you are for real-life Portuguese conversation. You may also feel your motivation to learn rise as you become accustomed to listening to Portuguese and gradually start to listen to longer and longer audiobook chapters.
With all that in mind, here are some course options for auditory learners:
“Collins Easy Learning Portuguese” (Beginner, European Portuguese)
Created especially for time-crunched beginners, this audio course is divided into 12 units that cover all the European Portuguese essentials.
You have the choice between a traditional textbook accompanied by three audio CDs, or the full audiobook version. Each course module begins by introducing five key words and phrases before closing in on basic vocabulary and syntax conventions.
This resource is especially useful if you’ve got a trip coming up where you’ll need to use your Portuguese skills. Listen to it while you’re driving or doing chores around the house and make sure to repeat back the essential phrases so that you’re getting pronunciation practice.
“Get Talking and Keep Talking Brazilian Portuguese” (Beginner-Intermediate, Brazilian Portuguese)
Here we have two audiobooks, meant to be used alongside each other. “Get Talking” is the beginner guide, using 20 everyday scenarios and conversations you’d typically come across on a trip to Brazil, from asking for directions to shopping and getting to know people.
“Keep Talking” continues with the travel and cultural advice theme, helping get listeners familiar with new vocabulary terms and fast-paced conversations. Paired together, both resources enable travelers and keen Lusophiles to quickly brush up on the essentials, so that they too can interact with native speakers.
The courses are designed to be flexible enough that anyone can work out the language patterns for themselves and personalize their learning to suit. They also feature interactive role plays to get you ready for real-life situations in Portuguese.
“Perfect Portuguese with the Michel Thomas Method” (Advanced, European Portuguese)
Part of a well-known immersion software series, “Perfect Portuguese” is a fully audio-based option for advanced learners. It offers a natural transition from its predecessor, “Total Portuguese,” setting out to get students naturally using verbs and advanced language conventions. The course, along with other Michel Thomas Method programs, sells itself as an audiobook without the standard bookish conventions.
In fact, there’s no reading and writing involved whatsoever. The philosophy behind this course is “stress-free audio learning.” You’ll be listening in on a recorded classroom environment, learning with “virtual” students as they’re guided through the basics of Portuguese.
The main idea is that any language can be broken down into components that can gradually be reconstructed in real time, as one naturally progresses through several stages of sentence construction.
“Learn Portuguese Level 9: Advanced Portuguese” (Advanced, Brazilian Portuguese)
You may already be familiar with Innovative Language Learning, which produces focused but engaging educational content for all kinds of language learners. There are video lessons, audio lessons and podcasts created by professional teachers, and it’s one of the most prolific language resources out there. That means there are almost always new, high quality lessons for you to dive into.
We wanted to highlight the particular audiobook linked above because it’s a great resource for advanced speakers—and those are often hard to come by. It comprises nearly seven hours of advanced Portuguese audio lessons, plus review tracks and dialogue tracks that encourage interactive practice. There’s also a 200-page ebook for text-based lessons, so you get a well-rounded learning experience.
If you like what you find in this resource, check out the wealth of other learning materials found at Innovative Language Learning's Portuguese site.
Free Audiobooks from Brazil and Portugal to Supplement Your Studies
Now that you’ve got all the right learning tools up your sleeve, it’s time to move on to the kind of books Portuguese speakers enjoy themselves. Challenge yourself to listen to these classic literature treasures in the public domain.
“Coleção de Contos Brasileiros,” Various Authors
As its title (which translates to “A Collection of Brazilian Tales”) suggests, this audiobook is a compilation of 15 short stories by various authors.
Each tale is read by a different narrator, so you’ll get exposure to various Portuguese voices, dialects (both European and Brazilian) and regional accents—and appreciate the diversity of this beautiful language.
“Sonetos: Poemas de Amor” (“Sonnets: Love Poems”), by Luís Vaz de Camões
Luiz Vaz de Camões is one of Portugal’s highest regarded poets, commonly compared to classic literary geniuses like Shakespeare and Dante. This audiobook, narrated by a combination of native European and Brazilian speakers, focuses on the love poems the author penned in his lifetime.
Along with exposing learners to a variety of different accents, this audiobook will also introduce you to a literary classic, which in itself is essential to learning about the culture and history of the Portuguese-speaking world.
And, as you know, you can’t separate a language from its host culture (not that anyone would want to, right?) so even traditional gems like this one can give you plenty of insight into the inner workings of Portuguese society.
“Fábulas de Esopo” (“Aesop’s Fables”)
This book is entirely dedicated to Aesop’s classic tales and the morals behind them. Every story is followed by a brief analysis of the message the fable is bringing across. The audiobook, narrated entirely by Brazilian Portuguese speakers, is the first installment of a three-volume series (for those who’re interested, here’s where to find volume two and volume three).
It begins with a 13-minute section that introduces listeners to Aesop’s life and work, then follows on to the author’s renowned fables. If you know the stories quite well this is going to be a treat, as the sense of familiarity will greatly help you expand your Portuguese vocabulary. You’ll already know the gist of what’s being said, it’s just a matter of hearing it in the language you’re learning.
Even if you’re not familiar with the tales, you can use the English language stories as a reference whenever you get stuck, as they’re readily available for online reading.
“Saudades: História de Menina e Moça,” by Bernardim Ribeiro
This is classic European Portuguese literature at its finest. Also known as “Menina e Moça” (“Girl and Woman”), this book (whose full title has been translated into English as “The Young Girl’s Story” or “The Book of Longing”) pioneered the Portuguese “pastoral novel” genre.
The tale, originally published in 1544, is told from a woman’s point of view, following different storylines that are interconnected by a common thread of heartbreak and suffering.
The linked audiobook version is narrated by a Brazilian Portuguese speaker.
Now it’s time for us to close this auditory chapter! But your literary listening journey is only just beginning. Keep looking for new audiobooks and enjoy getting to know all the Portuguese language essentials through this powerful learning tool.
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