Besides Portugal and Brazil, Portuguese is the official language of Angola, Cabo Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It’s also widely spoken in Macau and the Indian region of Goa, making it the 9th most spoken language in the world. That’s why learning Portuguese is a great way to boost your career, especially because there aren’t many people studying it. Plus, knowing Portuguese makes it easier to learn other romance languages, such as Spanish and French. Lusophone countries are also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and Portugal is the perfect place for history lovers. As an added bonus of learning Portuguese, you’ll be able to enjoy Brazil and Portugal’s excellent traditional music and literature in their original form.
Why Learn Portuguese With Language Learning Software
Learning Portuguese is no easy task. The language has many dialects, challenging grammar, and difficult pronunciation. That’s why we recommend using language learning software to fully understand it. Language learning apps offer a structured Portuguese curriculum, which guides you through your language learning journey step by step. Courses get increasingly difficult as you improve, making sure that you never go beyond your limits. Additionally, they also ensure that you won’t forget anything by including regular reviews.
Grammar is one of the most important parts of Portuguese. There are many verb forms (with various conjugation exceptions) that you need to memorize. Since language learning software teaches you all of this in an organized way, you’ll have an easier time understanding when to use each verb form.
Portuguese pronunciation completely changes depending on the country (or city) you’re visiting. Language learning platforms help you with this by recording native speakers for listening exercises and using speech-recognition technology to tell you where you need to improve your speaking skills.
Recommended Language Learning Apps for Portuguese
Although Babbel only teaches Brazilian Portuguese, it’s a well-rounded language learning app that comes with intuitive and diverse exercises. The app follows the Babbel method, which teaches through real-life dialogue and spaced repetition, with 70% of students able to handle a basic conversation within the first five hours. Babbel also offers interesting Brazilian cultural trivia that allows you to understand the country better and discover new places to visit during one of your future travels. Finally, the course is well structured, and you get an official certificate for each level you complete. The best part is that you can take advantage of the 20-day money-back guarantee to test everything for yourself. If you aren’t happy with the platform, you can request a refund – no questions asked.
As an audio-based language learning app, Pimsleur is the best fit for those who want to hone their listening and speaking skills. The platform offers courses for both European and Brazilian Portuguese, each one with dedicated native speakers to guide you through the exercises. Pimsleur follows its own method, which integrates organic learning with spaced repetition and the principle of anticipation. This combination is proven to accelerate the learning process and increase understanding while ensuring you never forget any of the vocabulary you’ve already learned. Each lesson includes a section with cultural trivia, which is perfect to know more about the country you want to visit. Exercises can be downloaded for offline use, and the app is available on desktop and mobile. You can check Pimsleur yourself by taking the first lesson for free.
Busuu is a popular language learning app that offers an engaging Brazilian Portuguese course with a decent variety of exercises. It teaches all the skills you require to become fluent, and you can get up to B2 level by following Busuu’s curriculum. It also provides the necessary cultural nuances to help you blend in with the locals plus a social media platform to reach out to fellow students and native speakers. Busuu is available on desktop and mobile, and you can try everything out by signing up for the company’s limited free plan. While this locks you out from some important exercises, it’s enough if you’re just starting out. Meanwhile, a paid account provides access to all courses, meaning that you can study Portuguese and any other language available with just one subscription.
The Challenges of Learning Portuguese
Conjugating verbs is one of the biggest nightmares Portuguese students have as there are six morphological forms for tenses (present, three different past forms, future, and conditional). Then, you need to understand the three different moods – indicative, subjunctive, and imperative – and know when to apply each one. It doesn’t help that there are many exceptions to the rules either. In fact, it’s so complicated that even most native Portuguese speakers struggle with verb forms. Fortunately, language learning software comes with thorough grammar exercises that teach you the most common verbs.
Portuguese is also known for applying genders to inanimate objects. For example, would you say that a book is male or female? Well, in Portuguese, it’s male, and you need to add the correct article. So, the accurate translation for ‘the book’ is ‘o livro’, whereas ‘the chair’ is female, so it’s ‘a cadeira’. Language learning platforms that teach vocabulary and include new words in sentences are perfect for memorizing these details.
Finally, most people have a hard time getting the pronunciation right, and even students who have lived in Portugal for months can’t speak the language correctly. That’s because Portuguese has many words with accents (‘pêra’, ‘amanhã’, etc.) and that use a hard ‘R’ (‘carro’, ‘carreira’, etc.) – things that don’t exist in English. Plus, native speakers speak really fast and have their own dialects. For instance, there’s a big difference between European and Brazilian Portuguese – similar to British and American English. Local accents are also prominent in Portuguese: natives from different regions in Portugal and Brazil all speak with different pronunciations. Thankfully, language learning software speaking exercises feature native speakers who read the content slowly and clearly.
Best Ways To Learn Portuguese Online
It’s possible to complement your language learning software classes with other resources to speed up your learning journey. For example, both Portugal and Brazil have their own music genres that you won’t find anywhere else. From the soul-touching and melancholy Portuguese fado to the more fun and uplifting Brazilian samba and funk, you’ll find songs in Portuguese for any mood.
Both countries are also home to Emmy award-winning telenovelas, and YouTube is a big thing in Brazil – especially in the Minecraft community. All of this is perfect for honing your listening and speaking skills. If you want to do some reading, Portugal is known for its poets (Florbela Espanca, Luís de Camões, etc.), and the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho is an international sensation. But you can also improve your reading and writing skills by browsing the web, as Portuguese is widely used online.