If you have spent a while wondering how to learn Portuguese today, then you can stop right now. There are loads of different ways to go about improving your skills in this foreign language, such as language schools or private lessons at home. However, some students do not take to in the school atmosphere imposed by this type of teaching, and therefore classroom learning is not for them.
The Portuguese language lends itself well to autodidactic learning.
Indeed, its Latin roots and resemblance to Spanish make Portuguese a familiar language for English speaking students. You don't, for example, have to learn a new alphabet as is the case with Japanese, Mandarin, or Arabic.
Here are our tips for learning Portuguese without going through the option of traditional classes!
Why Learn to Speak Portuguese On Your Own?
Before you start to learn Portuguese, one question may arise: should you gather new linguistic skills on your own or accompanied by a tutor?
There is no real answer to this question, since the answer all depends on the student's expectations and personality. While some students need regular and intensive follow-up with a professional, others learn Portuguese grammar and irregular verbs better when they do it on their own.
In general, seasoned polyglots prefer training on their own, which means greater freedom when learning!
A Portuguese student can master all the Portuguese linguistic basics in:
- Portuguese grammar,
- Portuguese conjugation,
- Irregular verbs in Portuguese,
- Portuguese spelling,
- Portuguese alphabet,
- Portuguese pronunciation,
- Portuguese personal pronouns,
- Portuguese phonetics,
- Portuguese adjectives, etc.
Does one of the many Portuguese textbooks not sound appealing? No problem: studying on your own does not require any one method...
The learner can use different Portuguese exercises to create their own language course according to his or her own training pace.
What's more, learning Portuguese on your own allows for more flexibility in your schedule. You do not need to take evening classes or weekend classes. It is up to you alone to decide your commitment and schedule your courses according to your personal availability.
And last but not least; the price!
Yes, learning Portuguese on its own does not cost anything - except the different textbooks, which you can try to borrow for free from a library.
Learning a foreign language on your own makes it possible for you to learn how to be autonomous, which is essential if you wish to become a polyglot in the future.
Learn Portuguese Online On Your Own
Learning Portuguese online will give you the freedom to choose the pedagogical material that suits you best.
Whether you want to learn Spanish, learn Italian, or learn Russian, students from all over the world can visit online educational sites!
The Portuguese sites help the students to memorize all the basic notions of Camões' language from idiomatic expressions to the conjugation of Portuguese verbs!
Playful and fun - educational sites allow the student to enrich his or her Portuguese vocabulary with lessons and exercises that are then corrected by natives of Portugal or Brazil. Learning via Portuguese online websites is primarily intended for Portuguese beginners who want to discover a new language for free.
Some online Portuguese learning websites are:
- Easy Portuguese,
- Portugal Mania,
- Free Portuguese Learning,
- Engoi, etc.
Beware, however: learning through websites alone does not allow the student to become a bilingual Portuguese speaker!
The goal of online Portuguese lessons London are above all to introduce the student to vocabulary of everyday life, without ever getting them to a point where they can communicate perfectly with a Portuguese native.
It is for this reason that resources for learning Portuguese online and on your own are important and must be fully utilised in order to be successful. By combining exercises, the student will be able to target a basic level in Portuguese!
Learning Portuguese On Your Own Via Applications
The advent of the Internet has revolutionized the way we learn languages!
According to an ABA English survey conducted in 2015, 70% of educational application users downloaded their applications in order to learn a foreign language.
It will therefore be of no surprise that the number of people learning Portuguese via an app is on the rise.
Apps come suited for learners of all ages and abilities, and for people who wanted to develop their language skills in a wide variety of areas; from grammar to pronunciation, colloquial phrases to formal reading and writing. In an interview with the Geek Journal on May 2, 2014, Amanda Royar, marketing manager at EduPad, explained:
"The apps we develop are made from content provided by teachers. The content is then presented in the form of games, which gives the child the impression to progress while having fun. [...] It is important to integrate new technologies into educational life. Tablets bring a playful, practical element to learning. "
But you would be wrong to think that apps are just for children!
Apps can also be used by adults learning Portuguese because the content of each app is usually classified according to the level of the user.
To improve your Portuguese, here are some useful applications:
- Learn Brazilian Portuguese for Free,
- Learn Portuguese,
- Languinis etc.
What is the advantage of this type of learning?
Apps are available everywhere in the world and in the palm of your hand. These apps are ideal for traveling to Brazil, working in Portugal, or doing an internship in a Portuguese-speaking country. They allow you to leave your chunky Portuguese dictionary at home.
What's more, the majority of apps are free and available on both in the Apple Store and the Play Store. However, learners wishing to acquire an expert level may choose to pay twenty euros to access more advanced Portuguese exercises.
Learning Portuguese Vocabulary On Your Own
To improve your language skills and improve your Brazilian Portuguese, nothing better than a method that's already been proven to work: the study worksheet!
Ideal for Portuguese vocabulary learning, the study worksheet should be easy to read, well organized, and methodical when facilitating the memorization of the learner.
Before starting to write it, Portuguese students must first find the vocabulary that is essential to an intro in the Portuguese language. To do this, a student can take inspiration from various Portuguese textbooks, available in university libraries or on e-commerce sites such as Amazon.
Here are some useful textbooks if you are looking to learn Portuguese vocabulary:
- English-Portuguese Vocabulary, by Andre Tarkey,
- Portuguese vocabulary, by Manuel Valente,
- Using the word in a sentence: contemporary Portuguese vocabulary, by Martins Pires,
- Portugues? Claro! Learn and revise modern Portuguese vocabulary, by Ana Rocha,
Then, the Portuguese student must remember to imperatively classify information thematically and according to the term's nature or the lexical field.
It could also classify them in terms of importance.
Finally, a vocab worksheet must be adapted to the student's intellectual skills. There are three types of memories:
- Visual memory: make colored cards, underlined and accompanied by images,
- Auditory memory: read and re-read your cards aloud, simulate conversations,
- The driving memory: summarize classes, rewrite the words several times...
You've probably understood now that if you make the choice to learn Portuguese on your own, it will be necessary to find the right memorization techniques in order not to be overwhelmed by the Portuguese lexicon...
Tips for Learning a Foreign Language
Here are five tips to help boost your chances of becoming a more successful language-learner:
1. Watch and Learn
Pick something you enjoy learning more about and listen to news and podcasts about it and/or watch movies, TV shows and YouTube videos on the subject. This could be anything from technology, cooking or sports to nail art.
For instance, say you’re watching YouTube videos on how to bake a cake. You will acquire vocabulary specific to baking, such as baking implements, ingredients, units of measurement, etc. More importantly, you’ll be hearing the new words being used repeatedly and in a variety of grammatical contexts.
2. Log new vocabulary
As you are exposed to more and more new vocabulary, write down all the new words and phrases you come across.
It’s up to you how you list new entries, but ideally have at least two different sections: one for just one-word entries (e.g. ladle = large spoon for serving soup) and one for more complex phrases (e.g. “paint the town red” = go out and celebrate).
3. Take a Language Lesson
Once you have a long list of new vocabulary, put it to good use.
Book a language lesson with a language coach or tutor and try to impress them using words from your list. Chances are your tutor will be using even more new vocabulary related to what you’re discussing, which in turn will make your list much longer.
In addition to lessons, you should also make time to complete your homework and/or write something on a subject you’re familiar with. Try to use everything you’ve learnt as this will give you a chance to internalise the new vocabulary.
4. Practise your speaking
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect.
Finding a native speaker of your target language used to be the trickiest part of practising a foreign language, but not anymore. There are plenty of Facebook groups where you can find a language exchange partner, which is also a great way of making new long-distance friends.
5. Reflect on your progress
Take some time to review your lists once a month and appreciate how far you’ve come.
Learning to Speak Portuguese Without a Tutor
Studying Portuguese with a tutor is an effective way to learn the language. However, certain aspects of studying on your own are just as effective as having a Portuguese teacher, such as vocabulary building and listening practice. But how do you go about learning the accent?
To be able to live in Portugal or converse with a Latin American native, a Portuguese-speaking student must know Portuguese phonetics off by heart.
Yes, a language is not exclusively written: to master Portuguese, speaking is obligatory!
Fortunately, Portuguese-speaking bilingual dictionaries usually provide a phonetic translation of Portuguese words.
The student must first and foremost memorize the phonetic alphabet, essential for learning all Latin languages. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is available for free on the Internet and can be learned in just a few days.
Systematically, a student must pronounce new Portuguese vocabulary words in order to work on his or her Portuguese accent!
Then comes the time to verify whether the accent is good. Even if the student regularly practices his or her Portuguese, he or she can misunderstand the pronunciation of certain words.
To check your Portuguese pronunciation without a teacher, there are two techniques:
- The first is to talk to a Portuguese or Brazilian native via Skype. The foreign correspondent can correct your mistakes but also write it all down during your Skype conversation. To find a Portuguese-speaking correspondent, log in to one of dozens of online platforms created for language exchanges.
- The second technique is to use the speech recognition system offered by Portuguese educational applications. The pre-recorded native voice can easily correct the student's verbal errors. However, there is room for improvement with this function, and it can sometimes lead the student to confusion. For this reason, it is better to have a conversation with a true native.
With all these tips in hand, you are now ready to begin your Portuguese learning adventure!