25+ of the Very Best Online Tools for Learning Portuguese
Practice makes perfect, right?
That’s more true than ever when it comes to learning Portuguese.
Luckily, the internet has gifted us with many opportunities to thrive.
In this post, I’m upping the ante by showing exactly how the best online Portuguese learning tools can be used for meaningful learning and practice.
- Games to put your Portuguese vocab to the test
- Portuguese language podcasts to sharpen up your listening skills
- Ways to get speaking with other online language learners
- Flashcard apps that will help with memorization
- Online resources to help you brush up on your Portuguese reading skills
Games to put your Portuguese vocab to the test
Learning is always more effective when it’s fun, right? No matter how old you are, or how advanced your vocab may be, language games are a great tool for testing your skills.
Take a look at a few examples:
- Digital Dialects has a nice selection of games for both European and Brazilian Portuguese language learners. These guys have all your essentials covered: verbs, time units, colors and numbers to name a few.
- Similarly, 101 Languages has this vocabulary building game you can try. Select any topic from the list, read and listen to the vocabulary words to be covered, then get quizzed on the words you’ve learned.
- Syvum brings us an A-Z list of quizzes to get you up to speed on all your vocabulary words—from your usual topics like family and occupation, to more refined subjects like astronomy and mass media.
Trying to get attuned to the language? Then listen up—we’ve got just the thing.
Portuguese language podcasts to sharpen up your listening skills
Podcasts are great for immersing yourself in a language. Some can help you stay up to date with the latest news, others can give you insight into what people have on their minds and most will get you more accustomed to listening to a native speaker.
The great thing is, there are Portuguese-language podcasts available for all levels:
- European Portuguese beginners can always go to Practice Portuguese, which offers a wide range of listening materials with transcripts.
- If you want to take things up a notch, the RTP news site has a list of podcasts on a variety of topics that you can subscribe and listen to.
- For the advanced learners and history buffs, you can always give TSF’s Portugal Passado series a shot—native speakers are their target audience, so you’ll be exposed to the language being spoken at a colloquial pace.
As for Brazilian Portuguese podcasts? Once again, you’re spoiled for choice!
- BrazilianPodClass offers free listening exercises for all levels, updated on a weekly basis.
- Similarly, RLP gets people listening with their Real Brazilian Conversations, and has a weekly collection of colloquialisms.
- If you’re an intermediate speaker, make sure to check out the PortugueseLingQ list of podcasts and transcripts.
Feeling a bit more visual? Online videos are always an option:
- Semantica has a collection of mini-video series, which you can watch online or download from iTunes, that will help Brazilian Portuguese language learners practice their listening skills.
- FluentU offers a selection of videos with interactive subtitles to help you naturally grasp the language. With this immersion program, you’ll have instant access to a constantly-growing video library of both European and Brazilian material, along with flashcard-like vocab memorization features that allow you to learn every aspect of the language from real native content.
Now, it might be time to make the transition from aural to oral.
Ways to get speaking with other online language learners
Who says online learning can’t give you a healthy dose of Portuguese speaking practice? Just look at some of the great apps and websites you can use to hone in on your verbal skills:
- HelloTalk is a free app that will get you connected with native speakers from around the world. The idea is to help language learners to practice speaking in a more natural manner. The app also enables you to keep a record of words, sentences and audio files you amass along the way.
- Busuu may not be as comprehensive as HelloTalk, but it won awards for “best of 2014” for iOS and “best of 2015” for Android. The app itself is free, but if you really want to get the most out of it, you’ll want to get the paid subscription. A free option is available, though, providing you with access to flashcards, writing exercises and corrections from native speakers.
- If you want to connect with online Portuguese teachers, take a look at italki. Their whole concept is to make a connection between language learners and professional teachers and community tutors who are keen to help others learn their native language.
- While it’s not a language learning tool as such, you could always interact with native speakers on Reddit. Just look through the respective subreddits for Brazil and Portugal if you’re feeling up to the challenge, and make sure to check out their special Portuguese subreddit too.
Flashcard apps that will help with memorization
Because these days, there’s an app for everything.
Flashcards are a great memorization tool for verbs, new words and the occasional idiom. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to flashcard apps—it’s just a matter of choosing the right one for our specific learning needs and using it to its fullest potential.
Not sure how to get started? Take a look at these:
- Word Bucket (Android, iOS) is a free language learning app that helps you find, learn and practice new vocabulary words as you go about your daily routine. It features games, progress reports and even comes with a vocab leaderboard if you feel like adding a friendly competitive edge to your learning.
- Gengo Flashcards (iOS) promises to get you talking like a native European Portuguese speaker in record time. This one isn’t free, but it boasts 250 pre-made flashcards and the ability to create your own learning materials. Words are read by native speakers and the platform has a selection of vocab quizzes too.
- Wlingua (iOS, Android) has a free Brazilian Portuguese app, with a collection of more than 3,000 words for speakers of all levels. Like Gengo Flashcards, words are read by native speakers. Wlingua’s standout feature, though, is that you can take your learning experience to the offline world—ideal for a long commute on the train, or if you’re waiting for your next appointment.
- The MosaLingua Brazilian Portuguese app focuses on useful words and phrases and offers over 3,000 pre-made flashcards—you can use these in addition to flashcards you add yourself. Along with MosaLingua Web, you can learn words and phrases in context with content like e-books, audiobooks and videos, and keep all your content and progress stored in one place.
- Fun Easy Learn (Android, iOS) is another free app, for both Brazilian and European Portuguese language learners, quite similar to Wlingua. The big point of difference is that Fun Easy Learn boasts unrestricted access to 6,000 words, which are categorized into 140 thematic topics. This app has some really nice graphics, too—so if you’re more of a visual learner, definitely check this one out.
Online resources to help you brush up on your Portuguese reading skills
Don’t forget to take a look at reading resources in the public domain. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:
- The US Foreign Service Institute’s Portuguese online resources include free e-books and audio files for both European and Brazilian Portuguese learners.
- Archived web pages can also bring us quite a bit of knowledge and wisdom. While the webpage is no longer being updated, the BBC has a list of quick-fire facts about the Portuguese language that you can listen to and read at the same time. There’s even an English-language version handy if you want to refer back to it.
Looking for something more advanced? Try your hand at reading some local news sites. News articles are, by default, written in accessible language. Not only that, but keeping up with current events will help you understand the social context shaping the words you’re being exposed to. Start with these resources:
- Brazilian Portuguese speakers should focus on the main online outlets: Folha, Estadão, O Globo or even BBC Brasil. Obviously, there are plenty of others around, but those are the most prominent of the lot.
- As for European Portuguese learners, Kadaza has quite a comprehensive list of news sites you can pick and choose from.
There you have it!
We’ve given you all these online Portuguese language tools—now get practicing.
Read up, learn your vocab, make things fun and get speaking like a pro in no time!