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.
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This intensive course is for language learners striving toward the A2 level.
In European Portuguese, the equivalent of the present continuous is formed by the auxiliary verb estar in the present simple followed by the preposition a, after which comes the main verb in the infinitive.
estar [pres.] + a + cantar [inf.] Neste momento, a Catarina está a cantar. At this very moment, Catarina is singing.
Notice that the present continuous (all progressive tenses for that matter) looks slightly different in the Brazilian standard.
Accordingly, the preposition a after the auxiliary verb is left out and the main verb comes in the present participle instead *:
estar [pres.] + cantar [pres. participle] Neste momento, a Catarina está cantando. At this very moment, Catarina is singing.
Portuguese compound tenses use ter as the auxiliary verb – the Portuguese counterpart to have:
Ter | Present simple Presente
Vocês Eles, elas
Now, the English present perfect often refers to a completed action in the past, which is never the case in Portuguese.
Take the following English sentence and see how the Portuguese version calls to the preterite (a simple past tense):
have [present] + sing [past participle] Catarina has sung a lot in the past.
cantar [preterite] A Catarina cantou imenso no passado.
Here’s the thing. When we use a structure analogous to the English present perfect – auxiliary verb (ter) in the present tense followed by the main verb (cantar) in the past participle – then, we are referring to actions that started in the recent past and continue all the way up to the present (and not to complete past actions).
Let’s look at a Portuguese sentence using this compound verb structure:
ter [present] + cantar [past participle] A Catarina tem cantado imenso nos últimos meses.
have [present] + be [past participle] + sing [present participle] Catarina has been singing a lot over the last few months.
As you can see, the English translation calls to the present perfect continuous rather than the present perfect simple.
Now, the example above depicts something that has been ongoing “over the last months”. Imagine, however, that we use the same structure (in English) to illustrate an ongoing action unfolding on the same day that the observation is made.
In that case, the Portuguese equivalent will be other than the one above. There are actually two options:
(1) ter [preterite] + a + cantar [past participle] A Catarina esteve a cantar toda a manhã.
(2) ter [pres.] + estar[past participle] + a + cantar [inf.] A Catarina temestado a cantar toda a manhã.
have [present] + be [past participle] + sing [present participle] Catarina has been singing the whole morning.
While the second option offers a more clear indication that the action is still ongoing, the first one is simpler (probably more common) and will do the trick as well.