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Portuguese Language Learning to Do By Yourself

By Jon, published on 21/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Portuguese > Teach Yourself Portuguese

If you are 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.

In fact, according to a 2015 Opinion Way survey, only 43% of parents think that foreign language teaching is “effective” in school!

This is why certain Americans choose to discover a foreign language  on their own in order to progress at their own pace and without any external pressure.

The Portuguese language lends itself well to autodidactic learning.

Indeed, its Latin roots and resemblance to Spanish make Portuguese a familiar language for American students. The latter do not have to learn a new alphabet like when you are learning Chinese or Japanese.

Here are our tips for learning Portuguese without going through the option of traditional classes!

Why Learn 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.

dream-come-true Mastering the Portuguese language allows you to decide to live under the hot sun of Portugal! Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true?

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.

You’re not into one of the Portuguese textbooks? 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 schedule.

The last advantage – and not the least – is 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.

Learning 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.

easy-learning Aprender Português é fácil!

Some online Portuguese learning websites are:

  • Easy Portuguese,
  • Loecsen,
  • Goethe-Verlag,
  • Portugal Mania,
  • Busuu,
  • Free Portuguese Learning,
  • Engoi, etc.

Beware, however: learning through websites alone does not allow the student to become a bilingual Anglo-Portuguese!

The goal of the online Portuguese course is above all to introduce the student to vocabulary of everyday life, without ever getting him to a point where he or she 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 you can learn Portuguese via an app.

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 area; 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 apps are not just for kids – far from it!

rio-de-janeiro Why not take a language course in Rio de Janeiro?

Indeed, adult Portuguese students can also use language applications since these are generally classified according to the level of the user.

To improve your Portuguese, here are some useful applications:

  • Babbel
  • Duolingo,
  • Busuu,
  • MosaLingua,
  • 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 will also mean you can leave your Anglo-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.

Let’s not forget, however, that taking on a new language is not a joke. There are many tips you should keep in mind. These are from TED Translators who have a lot of experience with teaching someone a foreign language:

  1. Let technology help you out. Dmitrochenkova has a great idea: “A funny thing like resetting the language on your phone can help you learn new words right away,” she says. Ditto for changing the language on your browser. Or you can seek out more structured learning opportunities online. Dutch translator Els De Keyser recommends Duolinguo for its gamified approach to grammar, and Anki for memorizing vocabulary with its “intelligent” flashcards.
  2. Think about language-learning as a gateway to new experiences. To Spanish translator Sebastián Betti, learning a language has always been about focusing on the experiences that the new language would open up, from “visiting theme parks, attending air shows, enjoying cowboy poetry and folk-rock festivals, to learning about photo-essay techniques.” In other words, he thinks of fun things that he wanted to do anyway, and makes them into a language-learning opportunity. Many of our translators shared this advice. Italian and French translator Anna Minoli learned English by watching undubbed versions of her favorite movies, while Croatian translator Ivan Stamenković suddenly realized he could speak English in fifth grade, after years of watching the Cartoon Network without subtitles. So the next time you need a vegan carrot cake recipe, find one in the language you’re trying to learn.
  3. Make new friends. Interacting in the new language is key — it will teach you to intuitively express your thoughts, instead of mentally translating each sentence before you say it. Find native speakers near you. Or search for foreign penpals or set up a language tandem online, where two volunteers help one another practice their respective languages.

Learning Portuguese Vocabulary On Your Own

To improve your language skills and improve your Brazilian Portuguese, nothing better than a method that’s already 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.

linguistic-country Passionate about Portuguese culture? Discover the linguistics of the country!

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,
  • The ABCs of Brazilian etc.

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…

Is It Possible to Learn How to Speak Portuguese Without a Tutor?

Studying Portuguese with a tutor is an effective way to learn the language, but certain aspects of studying on your own are just easy to do on your own, such as vocabulary building and listening practice. But how do you go about learning the accent?

To be able to live in Brazil or to converse with a Latin American native, a Portuguese-speaking student must imperatively know Portuguese phonetics on his or her fingertips.

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.


cultural-exchange Speaking with a Portuguese native allows for working on your accent, but also promotes cultural exchange.

Systematically, a student must pronounce new Portuguese vocabulary words in order to work on his or her Portuguese accent!

Then comes verifying 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. 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, this function remains perfectible and can sometimes lead the student to confusion. For this reason, it is better to privilege conversations with a true native.

With all these tips in hand, you are now ready to begin your Portuguese learning adventure!


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