The Right Start: Learn Portuguese for Beginners with 8 Enlightening Resources
What resources should you choose when you’re a beginner trying to learn Portuguese?
The way you begin can have a serious impact on the rest of your language learning journey.
Here are eight amazing resources to help you start out right on your trip to Portuguese fluency!
- Easy Portuguese
- Learn Portuguese Now
- “Learn Portuguese: 500 Basic Portuguese Phrases For Beginners”
- “Practice Makes Perfect: Basic Portuguese”
- How to Choose Which Version of Portuguese to Learn
If you want to learn basic Portuguese, Easy Portuguese is a good way to start.
It offers a mixture of Brazilian and European Portuguese.
Vocabulary lists are neatly organized by theme, so you can study common vocabulary in groups like animals, clothing, food, greetings and more. Plus, each vocabulary list comes with audio to help you nail the pronunciation.
Easy Portuguese also offers grammar lessons on topics like verb conjugations, word gender, pronouns and more.
This language immersion program takes you into the heart of the Brazilian Portuguese language through authentic videos created by and for native speakers. As you watch, you’ll not only hear native pronunciation and slang, but you’ll also learn more about Brazilian culture through media like movie clips, news segments, music videos and more.
Videos are categorized by level, topic and format, and include interactive captions to keep you learning while you watch. You can add unknown words directly from videos to flashcard decks to focus on during reviews.
After each video, you’ll be presented with a customized quiz to drill what you’ve learned from the video.
For anyone looking to dive headfirst into Brazilian Portuguese, Babbel has a great course to start you off on the right foot.
Babbel offers several leveled courses. This is convenient since it’ll walk you through the information in a logical order. You start with basic greetings before moving on to more advanced scenarios and building your knowledge, skills and confidence.
The beginner course offers a lot of great features including speech recognition for pronunciation practice, listening activities, translation exercises and more.
Whether you want to learn Brazilian or European Portuguese, Memrise has you covered.
That’s because Memrise offers two separate courses for the two distinct variations with a European Portuguese course and a Brazilian Portuguese course.
Since they cover the same material, you could even open both in separate tabs to see the differences (and similarities) between the two.
The beginning courses will teach you basic vocabulary words like greetings, food terms and more.
Want a good, basic primer to familiarize yourself with both variations of Portuguese? Try this one on for size.
This free website focuses on general rules and vocabulary terms that apply to both variations of the language. It also includes special notes when there’s a difference between the two, making it useful no matter which type of Portuguese you’re studying.
You can learn all the basics here, including the alphabet, pronunciation rules and simple vocabulary and grammar rules.
Learn Portuguese Now
Learn Portuguese Now has lots of free resources to help beginning students test the waters of Brazilian Portuguese.
One awesome feature is the list of common words. Each list includes a variety of associated activities, like a matching game, flashcard set, test and more. You’ll also find example sentences to show you the vocabulary in context. There’s even audio to help you learn the right pronunciation.
With other great features like free audiobooks, common phrases, beginning-level lessons, grammar lessons, idioms, cooking lessons and more, you’ll never run out of beginner-friendly learning materials!
“Learn Portuguese: 500 Basic Portuguese Phrases For Beginners”
Sometimes, you just want to sit back, chill and watch YouTube videos. That doesn’t mean you can’t start learning Portuguese at the same time!
This YouTube video focuses on teaching basic words and phrases used in Brazilian Portuguese. The words appear on the screen in both Portuguese and English, while the speaker (“Polyglot Pablo”) says them twice in Portuguese: first at a normal rate, then slowly, giving you the opportunity to note the finer points of the pronunciation.
There are 500 different words/phrases, so you’ll learn plenty of great vocabulary concerning greetings, basic questions, common phrases and more.
While the video’s worthy of your full focus, at nearly 53 minutes long it’s also great to have on while you’re doing other things, like cooking, showering or even falling asleep. No reason you can’t start studying Portuguese even if you don’t have time to devote solely to language study!
“Practice Makes Perfect: Basic Portuguese”
There’s something to be said for a good old-fashioned workbook. In a workbook, learning material is conveniently organized into digestible chunks and you never have to wonder what to study next.
And for workbook fans, “Practice Makes Perfect: Basic Portuguese” is a great way to start studying Portuguese. While the main focus of the book is European Portuguese, many Brazilian variations are also noted.
The book is divided into bite-sized lessons that introduce basic grammar rules and vocabulary. There are plenty of examples to show what you just learned in action. Then, the lesson ends with several activities to help you use the newly learned material.
Plenty of great vocabulary and grammar will carry you through to a much higher level of proficiency, but be prepared to supplement your conjugation education: This book only covers the present tense. With all the other material you can learn from the book, the rest of your vocabulary and grammar will likely end up more advanced than your conjugation abilities unless you pair it with another resource.
How to Choose Which Version of Portuguese to Learn
Once you’ve decided you want to learn Portuguese, the first step is to consider which version of the language you’d like to study.
The two most well-known variations of Portuguese are European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. Since there are differences in vocabulary, pronunciation and accent, it’s important to consider which version will be most useful for you.
Here are the two most important factors to consider:
First, the usability of the two versions of Portuguese varies based on your own personal goals and experiences.
Brazilian Portuguese is much more widely spoken than European Portuguese. Ethnologue estimates that about 10 million people in Europe speak Portuguese. Meanwhile, around 200 million Brazilians speak Portuguese.
Despite this, European Portuguese is still very useful for anyone looking to travel to or do business in Portugal.
Another key factor for some learners is ease. Many learners find Brazilian Portuguese easier to learn. Meanwhile, some feel that European Portuguese is more formal.
Before you decide, consider how much of a challenge you want and what language style suits you best.
If you still can’t choose between versions of Portuguese, you might also consider learning European and Brazilian Portuguese side-by-side—just be ready for inevitable mixups between the two.
Online Portuguese courses and other online Portuguese tools often list what version of Portuguese they teach. This’ll allow you to mix and match resources in order to study both simultaneously.
As you start your Portuguese learning adventure, let these eight resources point you in the right direction. And don’t forget to stop for a drink now and then!