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Language Learning Tips for Portuguese Beginners

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Portuguese > Tips to Learn Portuguese

Portuguese, in all of its versions, is spoken by more than 200 million people around the world, making them the 7th most spoken language globally in terms of native speakers. It is behind Mandarin, Hindi, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Malay.

Portuguese uses the Latin alphabet, just as many other European languages do. Therefore, it is often thought to be an easier language to grasp than if you want to learn Russian, Arabic, or Korean for example.

It doesn’t matter if you want to be completely fluent, or just have a conversational level, the most effective processes for studying Portuguese are often the same as for any second language. This means that if you want to learn Italian, Spanish, or German, the best way to go about it doesn’t necessarily change that much.

Nevertheless, there is not one perfect teaching method for everyone. Some will prefer strong discipline while others will be keen to rely on more relaxed methods to teach them.

Throughout this article we will look at everything that you need to know in order to learn Portuguese in order to communicate with a native speaker in Portugal, Brazil, and even certain countries in Africa.

Why You Should Learn to Speak Portuguese

Portuguese is spoken on 4 different continents Portuguese is the seventh most spoken language in the world

Why take Portuguese lessons? If you are in need of some great reasons to learn Portuguese, here they are:

  • To become a global citizen! Portuguese is spoken all over the world, and far beyond just Portugal and Brazil. Did you know it is a native language in countries like Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau, and East Timor?
  • It is an undeniable asset to have on your CV. There aren’t as many native English speakers who speak Portuguese as there are for languages such as French and Spanish.
  • To explore very different cultures. The distribution of Portuguese across the world means that it is found in countries with very different cultures. But be aware that the accent probably changes from place to place!
  • To go on a language study trip. It would be a pity to live in Brazil without any knowledge of the language: the transition would be tough.

Portuguese is also a much more accessible language than if you want to learn Japanese for example. As we have already noted, it uses the same alphabet as English and therefore you don’t need to tackle a new writing system which could lead you to becoming discouraged.

How Can You Choose the Right Portuguese Lessons?

You need to be driven and motivated to succeed in learning any language Find the teacher who will take you from “I can not” to “Of course I can!”

First of all, it is going to be extremely important to choose the right Portuguese teacher to match your needs and expectations.

For example, if you are a student who wants to improve their European or Brazilian Portuguese language skills in order to take a test, your learning needs will be different to those of a traveler wishing to spend a few weeks in a Portuguese-speaking country.

Studying for a test will require you to increase your proficiency to a level that has a good understanding of verbs and their conjugations, where as someone on holiday will only need to know a few key expressions, but understand a little bit more of the link between the language and the culture.

For thorough mastery of the Portuguese language, a serious tutor with a serious methodology is recommended. For a beginner who can cope with some Portuguese spelling and vocabulary, conjugation, or grammar, a native student as tutor will do just fine.

What we mean here, is that you will need to look at your teacher’s qualifications and experience in order to make sure it matches up to your objectives. Not any old native speaker will be able to teach you the intricacies of Portuguese grammar.

The most important thing when choosing a Portuguese course and its tutor is the method and personality of the tutor. Most private tutors offer their first lesson for free. This is the perfect time to see if this tutor is right for you.

It will be difficult to improve, study, and progress effectively if you do not feel comfortable and trust the tutor and their methodology.

Where Should You Look for Your Private Portuguese Teacher?

One important question you’re probably asking yourself is where to find Portuguese lessons. Although Portuguese is usually overlooked in favour of French, Spanish, and German, it is often possible to access classes very easily, whatever your age and requirements (evening classes for adults for example).

Portuguese has always been a language that has not enjoyed the same exposure as other European languages. This means that language courses in Portuguese are often no available at high school (although this depends on where you are in the world).

But this doesn’t mean that you have to wait to start your Portuguese learning adventure until university, although the options at this stage include a variety of Bachelor’s Degrees in Portuguese. You can get your learning off the ground beforehand by taking Portuguese online courses, via sites like Portuguese Online, which offers an immersion in Brazilian Portuguese through various methods (conversation teaching or video podcasts, for example).

The learner will also be able to train thanks to language applications, such as Babbel, which offers more playful and visual content at rather advantageous rates.

Finally, you can find a Portuguese teacher online via platforms like Superprof, which offers various learning methods and a wide array of classes (group, individual, via webcam, at home, or at the teacher’s home) and many tutors with different methods.

 

Search through our database to find a tutor that suits you Our platform is full of excellent Portuguese teachers who are waiting for you!

The Price of a Portuguese Class

The price of a Portuguese class varies enormously according to many criteria. For those who want to learn Portuguese on their own, without outside help, it is often possible to learn completely free of charge. But you can bet on slow progression and acquiring the language in a less safe way. For one, there is no one to ask about any doubts that you have.

We believe that this method of learning can be a complement to enriching your linguistic skills, but that on its own, it will not make you bilingual, if that is your goal.

There are several tips to note when it comes to the cost of a Portuguese class:

  • Web-based courses tend to be cheaper, as do group classes (pooling costs),
  • Courses provided by natives are on average more expensive. It is sometimes by paying the price of a native that we can learn more about Brazilian culture, or the history of Portuguese civilization,
  • Great differences in price exist depending on the geographical zone: large cities remain more expensive than smaller urban areas due to transport being more expensive and there being higher living costs,
  • On the outskirts of big cities, tutors generally give classes at lower prices.

Learning to Speak Portuguese: Don’t Forget to Study in Between Lessons

Don’t forget that you need to study between Portuguese lessons in order to give yourself the best chance of being successful. There are very effective methods when it comes the memorization process. From your first lessons in Portuguese, you will have to become familiar with your learning method of choice if you want to speak the language like a pro.

Obviously you will need personal motivation in order to succeed in learning Portuguese, but you will also need to use of all the resources available to you to study in between lessons. If you don’t study outside of your classes, you are more likely to forget what you have studied before the next lesson comes around.

Many learning options exist, like systematically making notes so that you don’t get lost in the process of learning the language. To do this, the learner might want to build a color code (ex: a certain color for a new word of the Portuguese vocabulary, a different color for an adjective or a pronoun etc…). The only rule will be to remain clear while noting the most useful information.

Many applications also act as virtual teachers. These include Duolingo, which sets you learning goals, and Mosalingua, which introduces you to an innovative memory-based approach that will help you to revise knowledge when it is in the process of being forgotten. This methodology is based on scientific studies regarding the forgetting curve. According to this approach, a notion, a word, or an idea must be reactivated intermittently in order to be permanently memorized.

Use all of the resources available to help you study This student is despairing–but little does he know there are apps to help with that!

Online solutions do not stop there and there are many websites that will make it possible to study the basics of Portuguese for beginners, or more complex concepts for the more advanced student. Some sites even offer effective pronunciation modules.

Immerse yourself in the language and learn to speak Portuguese through Youtube tutorials, which are sometimes very detailed and helpful.

Yes, in addition to more traditional studying methods such as textbooks, there are many solutions available to us. Choice is a luxury here, but be sure to use everything out there to increase your chances of success.

In short:

  • Having learning objectives will make it easier for your tutors to know what learning methods to use. For someone who just wants to learn and assimilate some Portuguese, the self-learning method can be a useful and effective approach. It will be more difficult for a learner who is looking for fluency in Portuguese.
  • The important thing is to choose a tutor with whom you feel confident and whom you can trust. The form of the learning is sometimes as important as the language itself (what you are learning).
  • There are many ways to learn the language and they can be used in conjunction with each other (private tutor, group classes, applications to test your level or revise certain concepts, websites, forums to help to solve certain linguistic problems, etc.).
  • In short, it’s very easy to take Portuguese classes with a learning method available for every type of learner.
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