Geared toward Absolute Beginners, this course gives you a solid start and foundation to build upon.
This is an introductory course to the Portuguese language as spoken in Portugal. Throughout the course, we will focus on the Portuguese sound system and basic Portuguese grammar.
You will also learn how to introduce yourself and day-to-day, useful phrases. Finally, we will discuss learning resources and strategies to support your learning journey.
After the course, you will have a basic understanding of European Portuguese pronunciation and grammar. You will also be capable of engaging in simple, short oral interactions. Last but not least, you will be aware of a variety of learning resources and strategies to help you succeed at learning the language.
I will keep you updated on upcoming course seasons
This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the A2 level.
Learning to say the numbers in Portuguese is one of those things you want to achieve as soon as possible in your language-learning journey.
You see, numbers pop up all the time in everyday life conversations and you’ll often need to recall them on the fly when talking to people. If you’re not able to do that, your conversational flow will suffer.
Here’s the first glance at Portuguese numbers:
1 – um/uma
12 – doze
2 – dois/duas
13 – treze
30 – trinta
3 – três
14 – catorze
40 – quarenta
4 – quatro
15 – quinze
50 – cinquenta
5 – cinco
16 – dezasseis
60 – sessenta
6 – seis
17 – dezassete
70 – setenta
7 – sete
18 – dezoito
80 – oitenta
8 – oito
19 – dezanove
90 – noventa
9 – nove
20 – vinte
100 – cem
10 – dez
21 – vinte e um
1.000 – mil
11 – onze
22 – vinte e dois
1.000.000 – milhão
In what follows, I will walk you through the logic behind counting in Portuguese and, of course, will make sure that you pronounce the numbers correctly.
Drilling numerals into our heads
It is one thing to know the Portuguese numbers. It is another to be able to recall them at will. The best way to develop such readiness is to practice saying Portuguese numbers as you go through your day (in-context practice).
You see, even intermediate-level students already acquainted with Portuguese numbers still struggle to recall them in conversation.
Imagine the following situation. You’re learning Portuguese and you’re brave enough to approach people in your target language. You say Hi! and introduce yourself. The other person replies and the conversation is flowing well until …
Well, until you want to mention, say, your age! You go, Uh uh, you get stuck there. Has that ever happened to you?
It probably has. And that’s in part a positive thing because it means that you’ve been daring to talk in Portuguese, well done!
But at the same time, it is a pity that your conversational flow systematically gets interrupted whenever you need to mention your age or recall any numeral for any other reason.
Here’s the thing – you must go beyond learning the numbers. You’ve got to etch them on your brain so that you’ll have them at hand.
How do we achieve that? Practice. Daily practice.
Integrate it into your day-to-day life. Maybe you’re playing a board game or cards and you need to keep score – well, do it in Portuguese then. Or maybe you’re killing some time doing sudoku – say those numbers aloud in Portuguese as you go through it.
There are certainly several other everyday life situations where you can drill Portuguese numbers. Just keep tapping into those daily opportunities and, before you know it, Portuguese numbers will be second nature to you.
Reading tips! Daily practice is a vital principle of language learning in general. Here’re a couple of articles on must-know learning strategies:
Note the nasal sound in um! All Portuguese words ending with the letter m produce that nasal sound. So, make sure that the air flows out through your nose when you say um.
Numbers 2, 3, and 6 end with the letter s. That means that you’ll pronounce those last syllables with a sh-sound, as in sheep. The same applies to the number 10 that ends with the consonant z. All Portuguese words ending with either s or z produce that same sh-sound.
Now listen carefully to numbers 7 and 9. Did you notice that you hardly hear that eat the end? It is almost mute, right? That’s the case for most Portuguese words ending with the vowel e.
Numbers 11 – 20
Again, you can barely hear that last vowel e in the numbers 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, and 20.
And what about the double-s on 16 and 17? In Portuguese, whenever the sgets trapped in between vowels (take the word casa for example), it will produce a voiced sound, as in zebra or these. The double-s, however, always renders an unvoiceds-sound, as in simple.
Pay attention to how we pronounce 15. You don’t hear the u-sound when you say quinze, do you? In general, we don’t pronounce the u on qui-syllables. The same applies to que-syllables. But! We pronounce u on qua-syllables, as in quatro.
After twenty, we just go on counting, easy! We put together the tens and the units. Mind that we always write and pronounce that little e (and) between the tens and units.
And of course, you’ll need to learn the tens (10 and its multiples) all the way up to 100.
Btw! Do you remember what I’ve just said above about how to pronounce qui and que syllables? Well, there is no rule without an exception – the number 50, cinquenta, is one such exception where we pronounce that u.
Numbers 101 – 1000
cento e um/uma
cento e dois/duas
cento e três
cento e dez
cento e quarenta e cinco
. . .
. . .
There’s “cem”, and there’s “cento”
We go on through the hundreds (100 and its multiples) until we reach 1000. Note that after cem (100), you’ll switch over to cento. Again, don’t forget that e between the tens and units, and the hundreds and tens.
One more thing to keep in mind! The hundreds (200 and upwards) change endings according to gender. We say duzentascasas (a casa), but we say duzentoscarros (o carro).
mil e um/uma
mil e vinte
mil e duzentos
mil duzentos e quinze
mil e novecentos
mil novecentos e oitenta e um/uma
vinte e cinco mil
quinhentos e cinquenta e cinco mil e quinhentos
quinhentos e cinquenta e cinco mil quinhentos e cinquenta e cinco
. . .
. . .
Keep adding up
After 1000, we basically apply the same logic as before. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First off, we don’t say that e between thousands and hundreds, as in 1981. But! We do say e with plain multiples of 100, as in 1200 or 1900 (see the table above).
Also, we say e between thousands and tens, or between thousands and units, as in 1020 and 1001 respectively.
When counting in thousands, we say eas we normally do between hundreds and tens, and tens and units, as in 555 5555.
European vs Brazilian! Both bilião and trilião is European spelling, whereas bilhão and trilhão is Brazilian. Most importantly, they mean different things. Bilião corresponds to one million million in Portugal, whereas bilhão in Brazil corresponds to a thousand million. Trilião amounts to one million billion in Portugal, whereas trilhão in Brazil equals a thousand billion.
The ordinal numbers in Portuguese take different endings according to gender and number:
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
When do we use them?
As in English, we use ordinal numbers when we rank something.
But! Unlike English, we use the “normal” numbers to refer to the days in the month. For instance, we say vinte e cinco de maio (25th of May). Accordingly, the sentence he turns 25 on the second of April translates to ele faz 25 anos a dois de abril.