Learn Portuguese 101 A Complete Step-by-sp Guidfor AbsolutBe

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Learn Portuguese 101: A Complete Step-by-step Guide for Absolute Beginners

Learn Portuguese 101: A Complete Step-by-step Guide for Absolute Beginners

The nasal sounds, the incredible dialects, the diversity in its melody, the sense of humor!

Its a chance to connect with others who speak the language.

We totally understand why you want to learn Portuguese! Its a language of diversity, color, warmth, shared cultures and a very complex history. Its mysterious, expressive, intricate and ready for you to start speaking it!

Whether youre interested inEuropean PortugueseBrazilian Portugueseor both, weve got you covered. Heres a handystep-by-step guide with carefully selected resourcesfor you to start your journey right.

Download:This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere.Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Theres no such thing as a right or wrong dialect in Portuguese. There isnt a variant that is more correct than the other, more appropriate than the other, or more truthful or authentic than the other.

You can decide which dialect to study based on the following factors:

How important is the number of speakers for you?

Some people learn languages for the sole purpose of being able to speak with as many people as possible. If youre one of these people, you might want to go for Brazilian Portuguese (approximately 182 million speakers) rather than European Portuguese (approximately 10 million speakers).

While making your decision, its also interesting to consider that the Portuguese dialects spoken collectively in African countriessuch as Angola, Cape Verde, Guin-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tom e Prncipeare much more similar to the one spoken in Portugal, and they also account for a large number of speakers (about a total of 15 million native speakers). Which leads us to

What region of the world are you interested in?

It might be easy to choose a dialect based on the type of culture youre most drawn to. Pretty much all Portuguese-speaking countries have cultures that play around a lively social life, delicious (heavy) food, the beach, the sea and friendly weather that invites you to go out and get some sun.

The difference lies mostly in music and dance traditions, common everyday communication and, of course, history. This could be an interesting starting point to decide which dialects youd like to study.

One things for sure: youll have the European option, the South American option and the African option. Thats a lot of different cultures and dialects to choose from!

You might just go with your intuition. When you listen to the Angolan dialect, the Portuguese dialect, the Brazilian dialect or even the Cape Verdean dialect, which speaks the most to you? Sometimes following your passion is the best way to learn a language faster!

Some language learners prefer a realistic approach. You might think a dialect sounds fantastic, but never picture yourself visiting its country or you dont believe youd be compatible with its culture. And thats fine!

Choose a dialect you think will be more useful for you, either in terms of career, travel prospects or even a potential place you could call home in the future.

Finally, realize thata choice doesnt have to be made.Although Portuguese dialects can sound almost like completely different languages when you hear them, most speakers from different countries can still understand each other.

Once you learn one version of Portuguese, you can always adapt and see what the main differences are from one dialect to another. It isnt impossibleor even that difficultto jump to European Portuguese after learning the Brazilian dialect, for instance. All you have to do is try, and youll even get a wider reach!

The positive news is that Portuguese will be very similar in writing wherever you go. If you can understand European Portuguese when you read it, the same will be possible in Brazilian Portuguese.

The main difference between dialects is definitelypronunciation:while Brazilian Portuguese sounds more open, cheerful and melodic, European Portugueseand most African countries that still take European Portuguese as their reference for the media and academiawill sound faster, more contained and Eastern European-like.

Another difference to be noticed isgrammar,most notably the use of Present Continuous by Brazilians as its used in Spanishestou jogando(Im playing),estou vendo(Im seeing),estou comendo(Im eating)while European Portuguese uses a practical formula that doesnt require learning extra verb conjugations:estar a+ (verb in its infinitive form)estou a jogar, estou a comer, estou a ver.

Finally, a big difference between dialects isthe use of two different words for the 2nd person singular (you)that are often used interchangeably in Brazil, sometimes even in the same sentence:tuandvoc.

In theory, these would be used differently depending on the level of formality, but that rule is blurry in practice. In Portugal, however,tuis used for informal contexts only andvocis almost never used anymore, as there are other ways of expressing formality in daily life.

Theres a widespread belief that Brazilian Portuguese is the easiest to learn because it sounds clear, open and slow. While this last aspect is true in comparison to other dialects, it isnt always the case that people find it easy to learn.

Brazilian Portuguese learners will often struggle with the fact that letters can change sounds radically depending on their position in a word. Theyll also find that Brazilians are quite flexible in their way of expressing themselves in daily life, sometimes changing grammar rules without reason or logicits just the way people speak.

European Portuguese, on the other hand, is very coherent in terms of grammar (what you learn in books is mostly the way people speak in reality) and pronunciation (a t is always a t, never a dj), but learners often struggle with its Russian-like accent and the speedy way in which natives talk, which doesnt seem to create a separation between words.

In the end,all Portuguese dialects will seem difficult for one reason or the other,but that shouldnt demotivate you from learning them! All languages have easier and more difficult aspects to them, just like personalities. Its all about getting the right strategies to learn Portugueseno matter what kind.

Brazilian Portuguese is melodic, open, cheerful and slower in sound compared to other dialects, which makes it uniquely pleasant to the ear!

Something youll quickly understand about Brazilian Portuguese is thehuge difference between what the language is in theory (what you find in books) andhow people actually speak.However, some patterns can be recognized right away, such as the use of very unique discourse markers liken?(isnt it?) or the use ofoi?to show you havent understood something.

Additionally, youll recognize Brazilian Portuguese due to the aforementioned interchangeable use oftuandvoc, two words that refer to the 2nd person singular (you) which are sometimes used in the same sentence just as frequently. Once again, in theory, these would have different uses according to context, but youre likely to find many speakers who use both without a clear separation.

Heres a sampling of what Brazilian Portuguese sounds like:

While European Portuguese is extremely similar to Brazilian Portuguese in appearance and writing, pronunciation will immediately help you distinguish which one is which.

Thats becausethose who hear European Portuguese for the first time might think its Russian, Ukrainian or Polish.This is due to the omnipresent sh sound and the use of closed vowels that dont open your mouth too much, giving it a very Eastern European melody! Portuguese from Portugal is also way more coherent in terms of grammar: Whatever you read in the books is what youll find in reality, with the exception of a few contractions that are also common in Brazil.

The use ofvocis almost non-existent nowadays and, in some situations, it might even be considered rude. Apart fromn?,which is also used in Portugal as a contraction ofnão ? (isnt it?), common discourse markers aretipo(like),pandep/op.If youre wondering what those last three words mean well, they have absolutely no meaning! Theyre just things we say, like hmm in English. Its just a sound!

In recent years, the Angolan wordbuhas been imported and is used everywhere to mean a lot or much, which isnt used in Brazil. These are good points of reference to help you distinguish between the two dialects!

Heres what European Portuguese sounds like:

Weve decided to group our favorite online resources and tips in such a way thatll allow you to create a language-learning routine from scratch or add them to your existing one.Work with these eight steps:

Get an immediate hold of Portuguese pronunciation

Learn the phrases that serve you best

Start talking and writing as early as possible

Take Portuguese lessons online to boost your grammar and vocabulary

Play with apps to keep your Portuguese alive

Explore entertaining YouTube channels and TV series

Practice listening with podcasts and radio stations

Make Portuguese and Brazilian books your new best friends

Portuguese is particularly tricky when it comes tolistening comprehension and pronunciation,as its written so differently from the way its spoken in daily life.

To learn Portuguese at a faster pace, make sure you focus on producing language (speaking, writing) as much as you focus on receiving language (reading, watching TV, listening to podcasts, playing with apps). Dont make the common mistake of choosing one group over the other, which will make having a regular conversation almost impossible!

Wed recommend devoting at least20 to 60 minutes a dayto active Portuguese practice. This could be writing a diary entry, having a speaking lesson, reading a simple news article and testing yourself for comprehension or watching a video in Portuguese to see how much you can understand.

All Portuguese dialects share common features when it comes to pronunciation:

the nasalization of vowels (speaking some vowels through your nose, for example

the tendency to almost completely disregard vowels at the end of words, which is even more evident in Portugal

If you tend to mistake Portuguese for Spanish a lot, be aware that Portuguese never uses words with-ie-. In fact, it simplifies them. For example, the Spanish wordstiempo(time),quiero(I want),tiene(he/she has) orbien(well) becometempo, quero, temandbemin Portuguese, regardless of the dialect.

Music is a fantastic place to start getting used to pronunciation,as it makes sounds clearer, words easier to understand and provides a closer feel to the unique sounds of the language. Both Brazil and Portugal offer a huge variety of music genres, likesamba(and its subgenrepagode),bossa nova,funk,alternative rock, great pop songs to dance to,fado,indie rock bands and creative rap songs.

Both countries showcase contributions from African cultural influences in their music, not to mention a powerful tradition of protest songs.

We recommend theFluent Forever Pronunciation Trainer Resourcesto practice your listening skills and improve your pronunciation. While it isnt free, this tool focuses on phonetics, vowels, lots of repetition and spelling rules, making it very useful for beginners. Here are theBrazilian Portuguese versionand theEuropean Portuguese version!

You can also get an immediate understanding of Portuguese sounds as native speakers use the language withFluentU.

FluentUtakes authentic videoslike music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talksand turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks.Click here to check out the websiteor downloadthe iOS apporAndroid app.

Please note that our Brazilian Portuguese program is still in development, and European Portuguese is not yet available.

Each video comes with interactive captions, flashcards and exercises to make sure youre actively boosting your Portuguese language skills while you watch. A Portuguese learning program is currently in development, so stay tuned for animmersive, authentic way to learn Portuguese, coming soon!

Now that youve gotten the hang of Portuguese pronunciation, its important that youdecide on your purpose for learning Portuguesebefore following the next few steps.

Maybe youre learning the language because you think it sounds pleasant and youre just having fun. In that case, its okay to learn phrases and vocabulary in a progressive, level-by-level logic (introductions, family, countries and nationalities, moving on to jobs and career, etc).

However, if you have a very specific goal with Portuguesesuch as getting a job in Brazil, visiting family in Portugal or traveling to Cape Verdeyou might want to limit your phrase list andget focused on your learning.

Omniglot is a useful platform for anybody getting started in any language. It presents the most common phrases in bothBrazilian PortugueseandEuropean Portuguese, giving you an overall idea of how to get started. Alternatively, you can begin with these31 common greetings(both dialects) and45 basic Portuguese phrasesto use in your first conversations.

But what about apps and online courses? Well, youre right! These are also useful sources you can use to your advantage to help you learn common phrases. More on that in step four! But first

We know, we know. Speaking and writing in a new language can be a terrible source of anxiety and cause you to feel overwhelmed and awkward. But hey, both Portugal and Brazil are known for being quite warm, welcoming and socially receptive, so you cant go wrong with this one!

Heres why its important to put your Portuguese to practice as soon as you start learning your first phrases:

just how different the language can sound

when spoken by natives in comparison to grammar manuals.

who are trustworthy (teachers, tutors) and can help you with questions about slang, word choice and grammar!

Writing will also play a huge part in your development. Its a different way of producing language, but itgives you more time to thinkand doesnt place as much pressure on your shoulders as speaking. This allows you to practice new phrases, expressions and vocabulary on paper to warm up for your speaking practice!

Here are some tools where you can find professional teachers and tutors who can help you:

Around since 2007, italki is perhaps the most popular tool for finding foreign language teachers and tutors.

Its goal is toconnect language learners and teachers through video chat,allowing you to buy credits and book lessons as you please (there isnt a fixed monthly cost), keep track of your lessons, receive customized feedback from your teacher and go through teacher profiles until you find the one that suits you best.

Here, youll find both Brazilian and Portuguese teachers who can give you a hand and choose the one that best fits your style and budget!

If youd like an alternative to italki, Verbling wins points right off the bat. As soon as you visit the website, theyre interested in knowing if youve ever studied the language before and what your motivation is behind learning Portuguese (is it travel? Work? Family? A hobby?).

Verbling also gives you the opportunity totry a 30-minute lesson for free and search for teachers by skill(accent reduction, phonetics, interview preparation, etc). Talk about adapting your learning to your own goals!

Having a guided set of lessons is a great way to get started learning Portuguese. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for that online, as well!

Considered the Best App by Google Play Awards in 2017, Memrise is an increasingly popular language app due to itsinteractive platform, fun tone and diverse material.

Whats special about Memrise is how it uses video, audio and multiple-choice exercises to train your ears and reading skills, as well as their extremely diverse course options. Additionally, the SRS-based flashcard program makes it easy to learn and remember new vocabulary.

Thankfully, you can even choose between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, as the app offers both options!

One lesson a dayanytime, anywhere: This is the promise of Pimsleur. The program provides lessons in both Brazilian and European Portuguese using its very own method.

Not only do you have access to core lessons, but you can also havespecialized reading lessons, role-play activities, skills badges and what they call lightbulb moments,in which history and culture lessons are provided to create a more fulfilling learning experience.

If youre into games, Pimsleur also gives you the option to play a quick one to test your Portuguese in a challenging way!

Babbel just keeps on giving.One of the most popular apps for language learners,its known for its clean design, clear grammar explanations, reference dialogues and pronunciation practice exercises with an integrated speech recognition tool.

Even when you finish the pre-determined Beginner and Intermediate courses, Babbel still gives you the option to take a refresher course, complete a grammar-only course, take a specialized course about Brazilian traditions or learn some idioms.

Practice Portuguese is one of the most popular platforms for learning European Portuguese online. The program was created by Portuguese and Canadian Rui and Joel to help European Portuguese enthusiasts finally have acomplete, rich resource to learn this dialect.

From podcasts with transcripts to funny videos, grammar modules, learning notes and a full-on learning studio, this resource has it all!

Free apps have become a part of every language learners journey, especially nowadays when our lifestyles dont allow us to sit in a classroom as much as wed like.Apps provide a great way to get extra exposure to the language, remember important vocabulary and just keep our target language alive.

You can use Babbel and Memrise to learn Portuguese in your free time, as well as any of themany other Portuguese learning appsavailable for your device.

Wed also like to suggest that youuseQuizletorAnki Appto create your own flashcards.

Its important you start using your newly learned Portuguese vocabulary to fit your personal situation as much as possible. So, as we mentioned earlier, rather than grouping all the words you learn as you go and creating hundreds of flashcards, we recommend that youchoose the ones that are most significant to your personal situation!

YouTube is another goldmine for Portuguese learners who prefer a more visual style of learning.

Perhaps one of the most underestimated YouTubers whos currently gaining traction isBumba na Fofinha,whose true name is Mariana Cabral. She became popular due to herrants and funny commentaryon Portuguese society, beauty standards, trends (such as running, yoga or detox) and her own personal quirks.

Shes recently launched a YouTube channel in English, but most viewers still prefer her original self in which word choice, slang and her fast pace make her plays on the Portuguese language even funnier!

Wuant is one of the biggest Portuguese YouTubers and ispopular for his viral contentcomposed of Top 10s, funny memes and his reactions to scary or disgusting footage.

Viewers love the way he manages to be spontaneous, loud, casual and relatable in his way of talking, all while staying sensible and caring when the time is right. He also loves playing with language: He has several videos in which he uses Google Translate to laugh at mistranslated song lyrics!

MentionGato Fedorento(literally smelly cat) in Portugal and anyone will be positively surprised: Everybody knows this group of comedians, but they dont have much traction outside of Portugal due to their type of humor, which islargely centered around the Portuguese language and its quirks!

They regularly make fun of Portuguese culture, stereotypes, everyday issues people face and even the news. Theyve also recently revamped their YouTube channel, so make sure you take a look!

If youre intoviral content and curiosities,youre sure to enjoy Felipe Netos videos. He first got popular due to his angry videos about movie and celebrity opinions, criticizing them in a humorous tone. These days, his channel has grown and he makes videos about curiosities and best ofs.

Have you ever wondered what the craziest beds in the world are? The oceans biggest mystery? The most expensive liquids in the world? Netos got the answers!

By the way, Felipe Neto actually has a double nationality: Hes both Portuguese and Brazilian!

24-year-old Whindersson Nunes has conquered YouTube with hiscomedic videos about Brazilian society,inequality between classes, money issues, Brazilian soap operas and even the Discovery Channel!

Youre sure to get a great laugh and start getting familiar with Brazilian slang and filler words right from the start.

Porta dos Fundoshas become aniconic comedy groupboth in Brazil and in Portugal, and most comedy enthusiasts will know exactly who youre talking about if you mention them! They create absurd, hilarious sketches on current trends, miscommunication, career expectations, relationships and social issues.

RTP(Rdio e Televisão de Portugal Radio and Television of Portugal) is a public radio and TV station known for its news channels, documentaries and cultural programming. Recently, its opened up tomusic contests, soap operas and more,which gives you even more content to explore!

By accessing RTP Play, you have open access to several soap opera episodes in European Portuguese. However, these dont have subtitles and they can feel quite challenging.

If youd prefer, theres also thekids channeloption (called Zig Zag), which is way friendlier for beginners!

Conta-me tudo(literally Tell me everything) is simple, visually humble and straight to the point project:It interviews common people as well as public figures about real-life stories.Here are the rules: stories must be told in real-time, they must be engaging and theyre 100% true!

The podcast is particularly useful to learn common everyday expressions and funny Portuguese phrases as well as to practice listening comprehension with a touch of humor.

Weve mentioned Practice Portuguese as a learning platform already, but did you know they also haveone of the most popular European Portuguese podcasts online?

Thats right! Not only can you access podcast episodes with different topics (legends, dialogues, news articles), you also have access to transcripts that you can download to read as you listen. What more can we ask for?

Rdio Comercial(Commercial Radio) is, without a doubt, one of the most popular radio stations in Portugal. Everybody either listens to it or has heard about it.

The station conquered the Portuguese with itssense of humor, diverse podcasts, contemporary music and casual attitude.Theirpodcast listincludes topics as distinct as love and relationships, travel and comedy.

Give it a try to have exciting topics to talk about next time you meet a Portuguese radio enthusiast!

Directly from São Paulo to your headphones! If youre intopolitics, the latest news, sports and opinion,youre sure to find something that speaks to you atJovem Pan Online(Young Pan Online).

For those who are into diversifying their listening materials, you have more than 30 podcasts to choose from, with topics as different as technology, soccer, culture and cinema. You also have access toseveral programs and short video clipsif you prefer some visual support!

Antena 1advertises itself as the most listened to the radio station in Brazil and it isnt too hard to understand why its so popular!

Not only does it provide the latest news on international music, but it also has the option to let you listen to the radio station live from the website with aside-by-side translation from English to Portuguesefor each song!You can take the opportunity to also read articles about your favorite artists and test your reading comprehension.

If youre a curious language learner, youve probably encountered PortuguesePod101 before. Its all in the name: You can choose podcast episodes by level, choosing fromover 1,180 audio and video lessons.

Youll also have access to spaced repetition flashcards to help you remember key vocabulary and detailed PDF lesson notes to go back to your previous work.

As soon as you visitPodcast Caf Brasil,you immediately understand what the podcast is all about:education, society, literature, culture and psychology.If youd like to feed your brain interesting content in Portuguese rather than sticking to the basics, this podcast is sure to challenge you and contribute to your self-improvement.

The variety of episodes is stunningyoull never be left without options!

Books are essential language-learning resources if you plan on boosting your Portuguese. Not only do they introduce you to common expressions people actually use, but they also expand your vocabulary on more specific topics, challenge you to read what native speakers read and make fantastic conversation topics when practicing speaking.

Also, remember what we said about Portuguese in writing? Its actually extremely similar across the Portuguese-speaking world, so you can easily read both Brazilian and European Portuguese without seeing too much change from book to book.

Whether youre a fan ofaudiobooks in Portugueseor going after someeasy reads, weve got you covered!

Childrens literature is a great bet for those who are just getting started with the language. The topics are in-touch with everyday life, vocabulary is accessible and the overall structure is usually easier for beginners to follow.

We recommend you start with the collectionUma Aventura(An Adventure)to learn European Portuguese. This series became extremely popular because each book narrates the adventures of a group of friends in a different place in Portugal, so each story is also an excuse to tell us more about these cities and monuments (why not start with the wonderfulcity of Porto?). Note that some of these titles can be pricey so you may have to search other buying options on Amazon or check eBay for cheaper second-hand copies.

As for Brazilian Portuguese, the collectionsVaga-LumeandTurma da Mônica(Monicas Class)are absolute classics and great conversation starters, as their characters have become so iconic. Youll love the latter if youre into comic books!

Ok, so maybe you feel the previous suggestions are a bit too classic or old-school for your taste. Why not go with Portuguese translations of your favorite books?

Pretty much all fantasy books have a translation in Portuguese, including popular titles likeHarry Potter,and more.

You can also go for classics likePride and Prejudice,or even non-fiction classics likeThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.The choices are endless! All you have to do is search Amazon for your favorite books and include in Portuguese or Portuguese edition in the search.

Portuguese-speaking countries have an incredible literary tradition, especially when it comes to fiction and poetry. Both Portugal and Brazil have frequent meetups, conferences and festivals that celebrate all types of literature in the Portuguese language.

In Portugal, you cant avoid the legendary modernist poetFernando Pessoa,Nobel-prize winner and novelistJos Saramagoand contemporary iconValter Hugo Mãe.

As for Brazilian literature, some must-reads are the modernist poetCarlos Drummond de Andrade,novelist and journalistPaulo Coelhoand legendJorge Amado.They arent quite the easiest read and are more appropriate for advanced readers but you still shouldnt cross them off your list!

Our advice? Dont just stick to these suggestions. You can easily findseveral platforms dedicated to providing Portuguese books for both dialects, including free e-books you can download in seconds. Why limit your choice?

Do you feel better prepared to learn Portuguese? Great!

We advise you to follow these steps one by one and create your own customized Portuguese learning schedule with a healthy combination of apps, speaking lessons and comprehension practice. This way, youll maximize your Portuguese learning experience and be able to make connections as soon as possible!

Download:This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere.Click here to get a copy. (Download)

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