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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Where are you at? (1 Beginner–10 Fluent)

Beginners A2

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

CEFR Scale

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

Where are you at? (1 Beginner–10 Fluent)

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Learn Portuguese through Short Stories

Portuguese Spelling Reform 1990

In 1990, various Portuguese-speaking countries agreed on a spelling reform to create and maintain a cohesive, international standard across borders.

In Portugal, in particular, the spelling reform came to effect in 2009 followed by a transitional 6-year period where the old and new orthographies were allowed to co-exist.

In Portugal in particular, there is to this date a de facto spelling double-standard in Portugal.

This double standard is caused, on one hand, by a widespread lack of awareness of the new spelling rules and, on the other, by the fact that several journalists, authors, and a few publishers simply refuse to follow the new orthography (for reasons that are outside the scope of this post).

To see the same words spelled differently on different sources can be a bit confusing for language learners (for instance, baptismo vs. batismo). The goal of this article is to clarify what has changed since the latest Portuguese spelling reform came into effect.

Let’s get started.

Note! The spelling reform pertains exclusively to orthography, that is, it doesn’t have anything to do with phonology or lexicon. This means that Brazilians, the Portuguese, Angolans, and other Portuguese native speakers* keep pronouncing the words as they did before the reform. Also, they obviously keep using their local, culture-specific words and expressions.

*Learn where in the world Portuguese is spoken: Portuguese Speaking Countries and Communities around the World

Silent consonants

With the exception of h – which in Portuguese is always mute – we no longer write unpronounced consonants such as silent c’s or p’s.

Here’re a few examples:

. . .

But! We keep the c’s and p’s when we pronounce them:

. . .

! A common misunderstanding

I often hear people (Portugal) talking against the spelling reform (and refusing to follow it) based on a widespread misunderstanding: they think that all those p’s and c’s mentioned above are – according to the reform –  gone, even when you pronounce them, which is not true as illustrated by the table above. 

There are a few words subjected to alternative spellings. Those are cases where some pronounce the c’s and the p’s while others don’t. Then, either spelling is considered correct:

infeccioso‘’ or infecioso
sectorial‘’ or setorial
olfacto‘’ or olfato
. . .

Last but not least, in some words, these c’s and p’s are pronounced in the European standard but not in Brazilian. And vice-versa. 

In these cases, there is a double standard according to each variant of Portuguese:

European standardBrazilian standard
. . . 

Reading tips! Learn more about how the European and Brazilian standards compare: European vs. Brazilian Portuguese – How Different Are They Really?

Diacritical marks

To accommodate differences in pronunciation between the European and Brazilian standards, some words are subject to different accent marks:

European PortugueseBrazilian Portuguese
. . .

Further reading tips! The circumflex accent marks a more closed vowel sound. Learn more about Portuguese diacritics here: Portuguese Word Stress and Accent Marks

Before the reform, the 1-person plural in the preterite tense (pretérito perfeito) took an accent mark to graphically distinguish it from the present tense (same pronunciation and spelling otherwise)*.

After the reform, it became optional to use the accent mark:

Ontem ficámos em casa
Hoje ficamos em casa
Ontem ficámos/ficamos em casa
Hoje ficamos em casa
Ontem cozinhámos bacalhau
Hoje cozinhamos bacalhau
Ontem cozinhámos/cozinhamos bacalhau
Hoje cozinhamos bacalhau
. . .

* Only applies to regular verbs of the -ar conjugation group.

A few verbs of the second and third conjugation groups (-er, -ir) had, before the reform, a circumflex accent mark on 3-person plural. That’s not the case any longer:

crêem (crer)creem
vêem (ver)veem
lêem (ler)leem
. . .

Before the spelling reform, the verb form para (verb parar, 3-person)  took an acute accent mark to denote a more open vowel sound in comparison to the preposition para

Nowadays the verb form and preposition are homographs (same spelling, different pronunciation):

pára (verb from) para (verb from) 
para (preposition)‘’

 The diphthong oi no longer takes an accent mark (to denote an open vowel sound) unless it comprises the last syllable:

. . .


The hyphen drops

We no longer use a hyphen in compound words with prefixes such as anti-, re-,  co-, extra-, intra-, pro-, multi-, pluri-, contra-, among others:

. . .

Also, we don’t use the hyphen in compound words in which the prefix ends in a vowel and the remainder starts with r or s

However, we do have to duplicate the s and r so that the spelling agrees with Portuguese spelling-pronunciation patterns*. 

. . .

* Learn more about Portuguese spelling pronunciation patterns here: European Portuguese Pronunciation – Complete Guide to Portuguese Phonology and Spelling-Sound Patterns

We don’t hyphenate compound words with the prefix mal- unless the suffix starts with a vowel or h:

. . .

We no longer use a hyphen between haver’s verb forms and de:

hei-de ir ao Japãohei de ir ao Japão
hás-de me entenderhás de me entender
. . .

Reading tips! Haver is a high-frequency verb. Learn more about it: The Portuguese Verb “Haver” and All the Things You Say with It.

The hyphen is kept

For the most part, we keep hyphenating some compound words to be consistent with the language’s spelling-pronunciation patterns.

With the exception of prefixes re– and co-, we hyphenate compound nouns in which the prefix ends in a vowel and the suffix starts with the same vowel:

. . . but
. . .

Also, we use the hyphen in compound words with prefixes ending with an –r – such as hiper-, inter-, or super- – and suffixes starting with the same letter:

. . .

We hyphenate compound words denoting plants and animals:

. . .

We hyphenate compound words with prefixes ending in –m (nasal sound) such as bem-, além-, áquem-, and recém- 

. . .

We hyphenate compound words that take the prefixes ex-, vice-, pré-, pós- och pró-:

. . .

Lower- or uppercase?

According to the spelling reform, weekdays, months, and seasons are no longer capitalized:

. . .

Concerning titles and headings, only the first word is capitalized:

O Crime do Padre AmaroO crime do padre amor
Crime e CastigoCrime e castigo
E Tudo o Vento LevouE tudo o vento levou
. . .

Moreover, forms of address are no longer capitalized:

Senhor Doutor

Sr. Dr. 
senhor doutor
sr. dr.
Senhora Engengeira 
Sra. Eng.
senhora engengeira 
sra. eng.
Excelentíssimo  Senhor
Exmo. Sr.
excelentíssimo senhor
exmo. sr.
. . .

You get to choose whether or not you capitalize religious scriptures, saints and other sacred figures, subjects of knowledge, monuments, streets, and public places:

Nossa Senhora‘’ or nossa senhora 
Bíblia‘’ or bíblia
Igreja da Misericórdia‘’ or igreja da misericórdia
Matemática‘’ or matemática
Avenida da Liberdade ‘’ or avenida da liberdade 
. . .

Perfect vs. Imperfect

Break Free from the Tyranny of the Present Tense

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Master Portuguese Strong Language and Swear Like a Native.

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