In the world of language learning, “practice makes perfect” is more than just an adage—it’s a mantra.
And let’s face it: nailing those Portuguese verbs, accents and grammar nuances calls for commitment.
But if you’re not quite getting the balance right, there’s no need to fret! That just means it’s time to get acquainted with some new online material.
You’re probably aware that technology is the gateway to fluency. There’s an abundance of educational online tools to tap into these days, like podcasts, magazines, translator apps, blogs and games too.
In fact, with so many choices at our fingertips, all that’s needed is a bit of planning.
That’s what we’re here to help you with. Here’s a practical guide guaranteed to help you practice your Portuguese skills like a pro.
How to Practice Your Portuguese Online with 13 Clickworthy Resources
Think about the different elements that come with learning Portuguese. There’s listening, speaking, reading and writing. Within these categories, there’s spelling, grammar and pronunciation too. Keep these in the back of your mind when searching for new study aides. Take a look at our handy tips to get inspired.
1. Get Some Speaking Practice Under Your Belt
The internet has gifted Portuguese learners with plenty of speaking practice opportunities. No longer is language immersion confined to a classroom setting or even to far-reaching geographical boundaries. Nowadays, you can connect with native speakers who can guide you through all of the essentials, right in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re at an intermediate-advanced level, consider signing up for a language exchange. Not only will these get you conversing with our Lusophone friends, as well as get you familiar with the local accents, it’ll also strengthen your reading and writing skills.
To give you an idea, here are some of the top websites for this type of online Portuguese practice.
Here’s a site that does exactly what it says.
Conversation Exchange has a growing list of Brazilians and Europeans looking for people to talk to. Users list their countries of origin, along with the languages they already speak and would like to know. It also allows people to choose their preferred method of communication: Skype, WhatsApp, face-to-face communication or pen-pal correspondence.
WeSpeke is a social network that allows learners to practice their speaking skills with native speakers—for free! Along with getting its users talking, the platform also features a series of text, audio and video resources that have been specially curated by its wider online community.
One of the things that makes WeSpeke stand out from other language exchange platforms is its notebook feature—a personalized page where learners can add newly-acquired vocab and expressions for their own reference.
My Language Exchange is quite simple by design and, as such, quite user-friendly. It allows people to sign up and create a profile that lists their country and learning goals, so they can then connect with a like-minded conversation partner.
Choose between email/pen-pal practice, Skype conversations or text chats. The site helps to “break the ice” by providing free exercises and guidelines for getting the most out of their online practice.
2. Take a More Structured Approach
Looking for something more structured? Consider signing up for an online video lesson. These cover all levels and abilities and can be customized according to your needs and interests.
Some of the best sites for Portuguese learners include:
Verbal Planet is a platform that helps students get acquainted with language tutors from around the world. Interactive Skype lessons are the site’s forte—you can book a single lesson to test it out or opt for an entire course right from the get-go.
Everything has a personal touch, as lessons are customized according to one’s individual schedule, comprehension levels and objectives. There are tutors specializing in both Brazilian and European varieties, and you can read community reviews before settling on a course.
Verbling is quite similar to Verbal Planet—its crucial point of difference is that tutor profiles are more detailed. Their listings have a mix of Brazilian and Portuguese teachers, highlighting their hourly rates, schedules, qualifications and the number of lessons they’ve given.
Verbling also encourages its tutors to post an introductory video, introducing themselves to potential students. While lessons aren’t free, users can request a 30-minute trial for a much-reduced price.
3. Add in a Bit of Listening
Tuning your ears to your Portuguese accent of choice is a comprehension must—after all, how else will you know what people are saying? If you’re intimidated by the idea of listening to local radio stations, these websites offer a friendlier alternative.
RhinoSpike enables people to listen to text passages as they’re read by native speakers of several languages. There are a number of European and Brazilian Portuguese audio recordings and transcriptions to browse, or you can sign up to submit your own requests. The site has a built-in recorder that allows users to directly record audio from their browsers, as well as the option of uploading sound files from the computer itself. People can also send a list of words that they would like to hear from a native speaker.
Most sound files will list the accent in which they’re presented (some of them are “Unspecified”) and all of them can be downloaded once you’ve signed up as a user. RhinoSpike has a bit of everything for learners of all abilities—even the audio files come with transcripts, so beginners can easily get their head around the content too.
These are best suited for intermediate-advanced speakers who have a bit of knowledge about Lusophone literature, as this will help you identify the right books to listen to. Librivox’s books are audio-only, so they might not be the right fit for those at a beginner level.
Quizlet has a massive catalog of words and sentences from the Tatoeba Project: a website with a growing collection of audio files with words pronounced by native speakers. Tatoeba’s English-Portuguese catalog includes an array of words with translations—but because it’s user-curated, finding a term with corresponding audio can be tricky (you need to click on each word to check if an audio recording is available).
This is why Quizlet provides something more focused: it gives Brazilian Portuguese speakers access to a 400-word vocabulary list, sourced from Tatoeba, with translations running alongside them. While you’re practicing your listening skills, add a bit of pronunciation to it: simply repeat the Portuguese words you’re hearing to get the most out of this online resource.
4. Make It Fun!
Portuguese online practice should be memorable, and adding a light-hearted flair to your studies can greatly help with this. In particular, interactive exercises are a fantastic way to put learning into a practical context.
Here are some of the best resources that prove this:
The FluentU platform is the perfect example of how to make Portuguese practice fun. The platform is well-suited for all learners, allowing them to naturally immerse themselves in the language. Online video is paired with exercises in a way that’s going to make all that vocab and grammar stick. All in all, it’s the ideal combination between native and interactive.
If you want to practice your verbs and vocab, Conjugemos is a great option. The site is a verb conjugator with a clever twist. It features thematic online games, flashcards, crosswords and printable lists for Portuguese learners created by qualified language instructors.
If you want to test your writing skills, try the Splatman game: the objective is to write the Portuguese words that correspond to the given clues without getting splatted. For something that can be played with a friend, try the Tug-of-War challenge—you’ll need an account to access it, but it can be a good way to see how your vocab fares against a like-minded classmate.
Beginner-intermediate European Portuguese learners might benefit from Loecsen’s Portuguese lessons. Listen to different phrases, scroll down to find additional resources and access a series of other interactive exercises broken into several themes.
Right at the end of each page, you should find the next exercise in the sequence. Words are complemented by humorous stick figure illustrations that are bound to help you memorize your essentials—from basic greetings to vocalizing your current emotions.
Here’s something exclusively for those interested in the Brazilian Portuguese variety. Transparent Language is quite renowned for its textbooks, and its online resources are worth tapping into as well. The site’s free online quizzes will allow you to hone your spelling, grammar and reading comprehension in a low-key setting.
SurfaceLanguages is a site that offers online practice resources for beginner-intermediate Brazilian and European Portuguese learners. It features a series of different games and interactive reading and listening exercises separated into various different topics. Flashcards, multiple-choice quizzes and pronunciation tests are a few other noteworthy features.
We’ve given you all the right tools, now it’s time to test them! Try them out, see how each of them fit with your interests and objectives and keep practicing those skills.
Keep at it, and you’ll soon find yourself understanding, speaking, reading and writing in Portuguese like a native!
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