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There are plenty of online resources out there for those of you learning Portuguese. However, in language learning as in any other field, there’s the good the bad, and the ugly…
The question then is: What are the best online resources to learn European Portuguese?
In this article, I will take you by the hand and guide you through those resources that are worth your time and, for the premium ones, your money as well. Read on.
Portuguese resources for beginners and lower-intermediate level (A1-B1)
If you are looking for one-off payment quality online courses, then take a look at these:
For those of you who understand how crucial pronunciation is to language learning, consider Portuguesepedia’s popular course on that topic:
Social networks to improve your speaking
Oftentimes, language learners believe that speaking in their target language will only be possible at a later stage in their language-learning journey. That is not true. Such a mindset holds you back and slows down your learning.
And here’s the thing! There are, nowadays, tools that make it simpler than ever before to make new native-speaker acquaintances or find tutors with whom you can practice. Here are a couple of them:
- Italki is an online language-learning platform that connects students with language tutors. If you are looking for 1-on-1 lessons to drill your speaking, Italki is the way to go.
- Tandem is a language exchange app. It allows you to connect with native speakers of your target language who, in turn, are learning your mother tongue.
Further reading! Learn how to drill your speaking from day one: Practice Speaking Portuguese Without Leaving Home.
Many students learn best through organic materials like short stories. If you’re one of them, take a look at these resources:
As a Portuguese learner, you want to start sharpening your ears right off the bat. Here are some suggestions for podcasts designed for beginners and lower-intermediate levels.
On Portuguese Lab, you will find plenty of short podcast episodes to listen to. There are also available free transcripts for some of the episodes.
In this entertaining podcast, Carla and her co-host present you with everyday life dialogs and then go back to break it down for you, bit by bit.
If you’re a YouTube fan you’ll be pleased to know that there are a few channels suitable for beginners.
Further reading! Discover more YouTube channels catering to Portuguese language learners: 10 YouTube Channels for Portuguese Language Learners.
When you start learning a new language, one of the first things you do is to grow your vocabulary – no words no talk, right?
Drops is a spaced-repetition app that helps you increase your vocabulary retention rate. It is the only quality spaced-repetition app (that I am aware of) that has European Portuguese available.
This tool can be very useful, especially when you’re dealing with bigger chunks of text. For instance, when you need to write a text in Portuguese but you’re not able yet to formulate your thoughts directly in the target language.
You can then write it in your tongue to get the first draft in Portuguese. There are, however, a couple of things that you want to keep in mind.
First off, Google Translate defaults to Brazilian Portuguese. If you are learning the European variant, you need to go to settings and choose European Portuguese.
Also, the bigger your input text is (in your mother tongue), the higher the chances are that the output (in Portuguese) comes out with issues concerning structure, word choice, and misinterpretation of context. So, you always need to scrutinize it, sentence by sentence, to get it idiomatically right – an excellent drill to improve your idiomatic feel for Portuguese.
These are all similar tools and are suitable for translating small phrases or single words at a time. They give you contextualized usage examples and different ways to use the same word or expression.
Infopedia is a Portuguese-Portuguese online dictionary listing several usage examples of any word that you might want to look up. Only the fact that it is Portuguese-Portuguese makes it more immersive than the options above, which is excellent for your learning.
Verb conjugator! Most importantly, you can use it to check any Portuguese verb conjugation. All you need to do is to write the verb in the search box and click on the “Conjugação” button – it will conjugate all tenses for you. Another online verb conjugator is also provided by Reverso context.
This is a very capable online audio phrasebook accessible either through a mobile app or your browser. You can freely browse through dozens of different everyday life themes.
Portuguese resources for upper-intermediate advanced learners (B2-C2)
As you advance your Portuguese language skills you will, at some point, reach the fluency threshold. This will allow you to start listening to Portuguese radio and podcasts, watching TV programs and YouTube channels, etc. – the same ones native speakers listen to and watch. Isn’t that wonderful?
Here are a few suggestions of media resources you can use to solidify and further grow your language skills.
The advantage of audio content is that you can listen to it on the go, which is convenient for those of you with busy lives.
When it comes to radio broadcasting, I’d recommend that you listen to channels that are more news-oriented and with programs debating politics, society, and current affairs. Some of your options are Antena 1, TSF, and Rádio Observador.
There are dozens of good Portuguese podcasts to choose from. Here are a few suggestions:
These are short-format episodes that will take you to all the corners of Portugal to show you its culture and heritage. Each episode will be about a specific place of interest.
This is a conversational podcast where the two hosts pick up topics related to social behavior, family, and relationships in general.
Once a week, four commentators sit around the table to discuss Portugal’s current affairs, not without a good dose of humor.
The host of this program interviews different personalities to discuss arts, architecture, history, science, and music, among others.
More podcast shows! Are you an avid podcast listener? Here are some more suggestions: 16 Podcast Shows to Nurture Your Portuguese Language Skills.
RTP (Rádio Televisão Portuguesa) is Portugal’s public service broadcaster and you can browse many of its TV programs online. Go to RTP play. Some programs might deny you access if you’re streaming from abroad without a VPN.
Granted, you will come across series and films in English with Portuguese subtitles. By watching these, you may learn a couple of new Portuguese expressions. Better than nothing.
But don’t be mistaken! Watching foreign programs with Portuguese subtitles is second-best (at best).
Ideally, you want to watch stuff in your target language, Portuguese. It is of course way more challenging to keep up with it, but well worth the effort since you will learn so much more.
Tips! A handful of Portuguese TV shows come with subtitles (unfortunately, it is not common practice to subtitle Portuguese programs). You might be interested to glance at the following: 22 Portuguese TV Shows Online with Subtitles to Boost Your Language Learning.
If you happen to subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, you’ll find Portuguese/Brazilian movies and TV shows.
Try, firstly, to watch them without using English subtitles – you will then be 100% immersed in your target language, which brings the best possible results (from a language-learning perspective).
Alternatively, you can take the first round with subtitles, and then a second round without. Or even better, maybe you will find TV shows and films that you have watched before and that you are familiar with – that is an excellent opportunity to fully immerse yourself in your target language.
Reading tips! Now that you’ve learned about all these resources, make sure you also have a sound learning strategy guiding your choices:
• Here’s How to Push Through Your Portuguese Speaking Skills
• Mindsets and Strategies to Learn Portuguese the Best (or any other language)
Stay tuned for upcoming Courses, Stories, and other Novelties.