Learn Portuguese Online

An Azulejo from Portugal. Photo by Tiago Lima from Lisbon.

Photo by Tiago Lima from Lisbon, Portugal.

Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola. It is a co-official language with Chinese in Macau. It is also spoken in parts of Africa, Guinea, and western Europe.

English words with a Portuguese origin include albino, potato, zebra, and piranha. Portuguese loan words are also present in languages like Japanese, Tamil, and Malay.

Famous Portuguese-speaking people include the poet Fernando Pessoa, the singer Astrud Gilberto, and the explorers Vasco de Gama and Ferdinand Magellan.

You can learn the following types of Portuguese online:

  1. Brazilian Portuguese
  2. European Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese

Clock place in Belém, Brazil. Photo by Cayambe.

Photo by Cayambe.

These classes will teach you how to speak Portuguese as it's spoken in Brazil. Brazilian Portuguese differs from European Portuguese in several important ways:

  • Pronounciation is very different.
  • Spelling is different. In both Brazil and Portugal, spelling is written into law, but the correct/lawful spelling is different for many words. For example, "exato" (exact) in Brazil is "exacto" in Portugal.
  • Grammar is different. What is considered correct in Brazil would be considered incorrect or awkward in Portugal.
  • More loan words and slang. Brazilian Portuguese has more loan words from native, European, and African languages.

According to some, it's easier for a Portuguese to understand Brazilian Portuguese than it is for a Brazilian to understand European Portuguese.

You should study Brazilian Portuguese if...

  • you plan to do a lot of business in Brazil, e.g. selling something in the Brazilian market.
  • you want to travel to Brazil.
  • you are interested in Brazilian culture and history.
  • you would like to read Brazilian writers like Clarice Lispector and Ferreira Gullar.
  • you want to learn more about Brazilian music like bossa nova, samba, and funk carioca.

Brazilian Embassies and Consulates in the USA may be able to help you learn Brazilian Portuguese. Contact them if you want any help.

Free Online Courses and Resources in Brazilian Portuguese:

BBC Brasil is a Portuguese-language website.

Brasil 24/7 is an iPad-only Brazilian newspaper.

Brazilian Podclass (iTunes) is a free online podclass designed to teach Brazilian Portuguese.

Brazilian Portuguese Podcast (iTunes) offers basic, intermediate, and advanced lessons in Brazilian Portuguese.

Ciberdudivas da Lingua Portuguesa answers questions about Portuguese grammar.

Conjugemos has free exercises in Portuguese vocabulary and verb conjugations.

Globo is an online Brazilian newspaper.

GloboFM (iTunes) is an iPhone and iPad app that lets you listen to Brazilian radio from anywhere in the world.

Gramatica Online has many grammar tutorials for Brazilian Portuguese.

Portugues.com.br offers grammar lessons in Brazilian Portuguese.

Portuguese in Brazil, from the Five Colleges Consortium, offers many resources for students of Brazilian Portuguese.

Project Gutenberg has many Portuguese-language books from both Portuguese and Brazilian authors.

Sona-Portuguese offers free language lessons in Brazilian Portuguese.

Teletandem Brasil matches up Brazilian students who want to learn a foreign language, with speakers of that language who want to learn Brazilian Portuguese.

European Portuguese

Serra do Pilar church, Porto, Portugal. Photo by Poco a poco.

Photo by Poco a poco.

These classes will teach you how to speak Portuguese as it's spoken in Portugal. European Portuguese is very different from Brazilian Portuguese, so only study one at a time to keep from getting confused.

You should study European Portuguese if:

  • you plan to do business in Portugal.
  • you want to travel to Portugal.
  • you want to understand both European Portuguese and some Brazilian Portuguese.
  • you are interested in Portuguese culture and history.
  • you want to read Portuguese writers like Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago.
  • you want to learn more about Portuguese musical styles like fado.

Portuguese Embassies and Consulates in the USA may be able to help you learn European Portuguese. Find the one closest to you and contact them if you need help.

Free Online Courses and Resources in European Portuguese:

BBC Languages offers free lessons in Portuguese.

Centro Virtual Camoes offers many resources to students of European Portuguese.

Ciberdudivas da Lingua Portuguesa answers questions about Portuguese grammar.

Conjugemos has free exercises in Portuguese vocabulary and verb conjugations.

Digital Dialects offers flash games for students of European Portuguese.

Jornal de Noticia is a Portuguese newspaper.

One Minute Portuguese offers free lessons in European Portuguese, enough to "get by on holiday or a business trip to Portugal."

Quia offers many free online lessons in Portuguese.

Portugal Radio Recorder (iTunes) is a free iPhone and iPad app that lets you listen to radio stations from all over Portugal.

Project Gutenberg has many Portuguese-language books from both Portuguese and Brazilian authors.

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References

"Differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese." Necco, British Columbia. Accessed on the internet at http://www.necco.ca/faq_european_brazilian_port.htm on 23 March 2013.

Ferreira, Mario D. "Portuguese Languages; What is the Difference?" Necco, British Columbia. Accessed on the internet at http://www.necco.ca/faq_what_is_the_difference.htm on 23 March 2013.

Raquel. "How different is Brazilian Portuguese to original Portuguese?" Yahoo! Answers UK. Accessed on the internet at http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100711141354AAWQ7ab on 23 March 2013.

Wiedemann, Lyris. "Portuguese translation: What clients need to know." Necco, British Columbia. Accessed on the internet at http://www.necco.ca/faq_what_clients_need_to_know.htm on 23 March 2013.

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