Intermediate B1

This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the B1 level.

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My suggestion* for these two weeks is to focus on:

  • perfeito vs. imperfeito / subjunctive mood intro
  • reading and listening comprehension
  • conversation

*There's always room to adjust the course according to the group's preferences:

After this course, you'll have come closer to the B1 level and have the tools and strategies to get there and beyond.

Not sure if you should enroll in the A2 or B1 course?

Clean Slate A0

Geared toward Absolute Beginners, this course gives you a solid start and foundation to build upon.

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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.

Portuguese short story for beginners - de maos dadas - Portuguesepedia
Easy Reads for Portuguese Lanugage Learners - Entre a Felicidade e a Tristeza - by Portuguesepedia

I will keep you updated on upcoming course seasons

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Beginners A2

This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the A2 level.

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My suggestion* for these two weeks is to focus on:

  • prepositions
  • past tense: perfeito vs. imperfeito
  • listening comprehension and conversation

*There's always room to adjust the course according to the group's preferences:

After this course, you'll have come closer to the A2 level and have the tools and strategies to get there and beyond.

Not sure if you should enroll in the A2 or B1 course?

Beginners A1

This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the A1 level.

If you have just started your learning journey, you may find this course too challenging. Consider enrolling for the Clean Slate A0 instead (if available).

CEFR Scale

This is an all-round course, meaning that we’ll work on all aspects of language learning (at the A1 level):

  • pronunciation
  • listening comprehension
  • reading comprehension
  • conversation
  • grammar

After this course, you'll have come closer to the A1 level and have the tools and strategies to get there and beyond.

Not sure if you should enroll in the A1 or A2 course?

There are plenty of interesting options for our accommodation. It will most likely be a countryside house near Tavira.

I haven't booked it yet because I want to get a better idea of the group's composition (how many couples/singles) and your preferences before I do so. That will for instance help me understand how big a house we might need.

I look forward to soon talking to you about this and much more. Até breve, p

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Learn Portuguese through Short Stories

The Portuguese Alphabet

What the Portuguese alphabet looks like, as well as what it sounds like, might be one of the first things you wonder about when you start learning the language. 

The Portuguese alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and comprises 26 letters of which 5 are vowels and 21 are consonants. The letters K, Y, and W are only used for loanwords, meaning that only 18 consonant letters are, in fact, used to write Portuguese words. 

Let’s listen to what the alphabet letters sound like in Portuguese.

a (á)j (jota)s (ésse)
b (bê)k (capa)t (tê)
c (cê)l (éle)u (u)
d (dê)m (éme)v (vê)
e (é)n (éne)w (dáblio)
f (éfe)o (ó)x (xis)
g (gê)p (pê)y (ípsilon)
h (agá)q (quê)z (zê)
i (i)r (érre)

In addition to the alphabet letters, there are the so-called digraphs, that is, two-letter clusters that stand for one sound. Then, of course, you should acquaint yourself with the diacritical marks we use to indicate stress, nasalization, and vowel height. Read on.

Create a rock-solid foundation in Portuguese

Alphabet letters vs. language sounds

It is useful to look into the relationship between letters and language sounds. Letters are a representation of the latter and we use them to register spoken language in a written format. 

More often than not, the relationship between alphabet letters and language sounds is not on a one-to-one basis. This is the case for both Portuguese and English, and many other languages.

For instance, there are in Portuguese 5 vowel letters, just as in English. Yet, these 5 vowels stand for 9 different vowel sounds. The opposite is also true. One vowel sound can be denoted by different vowel letters. 

The same goes for consonants. In Portuguese, there are more consonant sounds than consonant letters. Thus, consonants combine with other consonants to produce new consonant sounds. And vice-versa, the same consonant sound can be represented by different letters.

For instance, the letter x can render four (!) different sounds. Here’s a video for you.

Reading tips! Luckily, there are Portuguese spelling-pronunciation patterns that make this relationship between letters and language sounds more predictable. Learn more about it: Portuguese Pronunciation: A Helpful Guide to Portuguese Basic Sounds and Spelling Patterns.

Portuguese digraphs: beyond single letters

Digraphs are consonant pairs that render a specific sound. Here are 5 of them:

ssrrchnhlh
massacarroachoninhomilho

ss

This double-s always occurs between vowels (e.g., massa). It produces a voiceless s-sound as in simple.

rr

The double-r also occurs between vowels (e.g., carro). It is pronounced with the back of your throat, therefore, producing a guttural sound similar to the French r

ch

This digraph always produces a hushing sound, as in shave. It can occur both at the beginning or in the middle of words (e.g., acho, chapéu).

nh

This digraph (e.g., ninho) renders a nasal sound and it is somewhat close to the ng sound in words such as mingle, tango, or English

lh

The lh-digraph (e.g. milho) produces a sound similar to the l-sound, as in London, though slightly different.

Get Your Pronunciation Right

Portuguese diacritics

Five diacritical marks are used in Portuguese to indicate stress, nasalization, vowel height, and other sound changes. Here’s a quick rundown:

Acute accent (´)Circumflex accent (^)Grave accent (`)Tilde (~)Cedilla  (ç)
avó
avo
avô
avó
irmã
irmão
caça
caca

Acute accent (´)

The acute accent indicates syllable stress and vowel height. 

Take the words avó (grandmother) and avo (fraction). Both words have exactly the same letters, but while in avo you stress the first syllable, in avó you’d stress the last one.

Also, the o in avo produces a closed-vowel sound, while the ó in avó produces an open-vowel sound.  

Circumflex accent (^)

The circumflex, as the acute accent, indicates syllable stress and vowel height. 

Take the same word avó as before, and also the word avô (grandfather). You’d stress both words on the last syllable, but there is still a difference in how you’d pronounce both words. 

While the ó in avó produces an open vowel sound, the ô in avô produces a slightly more closed-vowel sound.

Grave accent (`)

In Portuguese, the grave accent only denotes contractions, namely

  • à – contraction between the preposition a and the definite article a
  • contraction between preposition a and some pronouns, for instance, the demonstratives aquele/aquela (àquele/àquela).

Tilde (~)

The tilde indicates the nasalization of vowels and diphthongs (e.g., irmã, limão). 

Cedilla  (ç)

This diacritic is only used for the letter c, and only when the following letter is a hard vowel – a, o or u

Here’s how it works: the letter c before any hard vowel (e.g. caca ) produces a /k/-sound, as in catch. If you use the cedilla (e.g. caça), that same c will turn into an /s/-sound, as in soup

Further reading! Learn more about Portuguese diacritical marks word stress: Portuguese Word Stress and Accent Marks.

Perfect vs. Imperfect

Break Free from the Tyranny of the Present Tense

Portuguese Bad Words

Master Portuguese Strong Language and Swear Like a Native.

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