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Starting to study a foreign language is one of the best things you can do for yourself this year. Although there are many fascinating languages you can pick, if you want to expand your social life, increase your chances of getting a better job, and discover some of the most interesting cultures the world has to offer, Portuguese is the smartest choice!

As one of the most widespread languages around the globe, learning Portuguese is ideal for travellers interested in visiting places like Angola, Macau, Brazil, and of course, Portugal, so if these or any of the other Lusophone countries catches your attention, and you want to be able to connect with locals and get by more easily, you should definitely start studying this language. Speaking Portuguese is also a good idea if you want to access some of the many job positions in Australia that require you to be bilingual, or even get a job abroad, so if you want to take your career to the next level, having this skill on your CV will certainly make a difference.

Ready to make the first steps in your journey to fluency? If so, take a look at the following tips and recommendations that will help you learn Portuguese much more effectively.

Language Trainers organizes Portuguese courses in almost any destination!

All classes are taught by qualified, native speaker Portuguese trainers and can be arranged at your office or home for any day of the week (including weekends) in the morning, afternoon or evening.

1. Why Learn Portuguese today

Still not sure about why you should start learning Portuguese? Then take a look at some of the most compelling reasons that make Portuguese one of the best language skills to have.

To Get Better Job Offers

No matter where in Australia you live, learning Portuguese will allow you to apply for better-paid positions at some of the top companies in Australia, such as BHP Group, CSL Limited and Atlassian, which are always looking for bilingual applicants that can help them improve their business relationships with foreign companies in Brazil and Portugal. On top of that, if you own a business, speaking Portuguese is a great way to attract more clients, find employees abroad, and reach international markets, so if you feel like your sales are not as good as they could be, you should consider starting a language course this year.

Speaking Portuguese will also open up many opportunities for you to find a job abroad, so if you’ve always dreamed about working near incredible locations like Rio de Janeiro, São Pablo, Lisbon or Porto, don’t waste any more time and start working on your Portuguese skills right now.

Want to know more about this? Check out some of these articles on our blog:

To Enjoy Your Trips Abroad

If you become a fluent Portuguese speaker, the way you experience Lusophone countries will change completely, as you’ll be able to connect with the locals, understand the signs in the street, and most importantly, have a deeper knowledge of the customs and traditions that people have there. On top of that, you won’t have to worry about finding people that speak English, which can be quite challenging, especially in places like Brazil, Angola, or Mozambique, and instead, you’ll get to move around more independently, discover secret locations that are usually kept from tourists, and meet amazing people that can change your life forever. What’s more, if you’re planning on making a big trip in the future and want to speak a language that can help you get by in many different countries, Portuguese is certainly a great choice, as once you become proficient, you’ll be able to understand many words and phrases in other Romance languages like Spanish, French and Italian, which means you’ll feel much more comfortable in many European, African and even Latin American countries.

Florianopolis

Fernando de Noronha

Copacabana

To Challenge Yourself

Studying Portuguese can be a great personal challenge, so if you’re the kind of person who loves learning new things and setting goals for yourself, you should definitely consider booking a language course this year. Although fluency won’t happen overnight, developing your Portuguese skills can be a really stimulating process, since you’ll not only have to work on understanding Portuguese grammar, expanding your vocabulary and improving your pronunciation, but you’ll also immerse yourself in new cultures, meet new people, and find out a lot of interesting facts about other parts of the world. In short, if you’re looking for something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you expand your horizons, learning Portuguese is definitely the way to go.

Need more reasons? Take a look at these 5 Reasons Why You Need to Learn Portuguese.

Get started with Portuguese today!

2. Tips to Learn Portuguese More Effectively

Want to learn Portuguese but don’t know where to start? Take a look at some of these tips that will help you become a successful speaker in no time.

Find a Native Tutor

If you truly want to become a proficient speaker, the smartest thing you can do is find a trainer who can guide you through the learning process. Getting the help of a language professional will ensure you feel motivated while you learn, as you’ll have someone who can give you all the support you need. Another benefit of learning with a teacher is that they will create the best learning plan for you, so you won’t have to waste any time trying to find materials online, which can be really convenient if you don’t have that much spare time on your hands. On top of this, a native tutor can teach you all about the Portuguese or Brazilian culture, and you’ll get to ask them all the questions you have about their traditions, so you’ll end up knowing a lot of interesting things about life in these countries that is pretty hard to find in books or on the internet.

For example, if you learn Portuguese from Brazil, soon you’ll notice they pronounce the letter “s” the same way English pronounces the “s” (as in “sit”), European Portuguese, on the other hand, pronounces the letter “s” as “sh”, so the final sound in vamos is like the one in “she”. Interested in knowing more? Read our article about Brazilian vs European Portuguese and discover the main differences between these varieties!

In regards to the dialects of Africa, they are closer to European Portuguese than the Brazilian accent due to geographical reasons, though vocabulary can vary extensively.

And if you are wondering which Portuguese you should learn, the short answer is… the one that’s most useful to you. Where are you planning to move to? Do you need to do business with Portuguese-speaking people from Brazil or Macau? Do you have ancestors from Portugal and would like to connect with your roots? Answer these questions and you’ll have the answer to which Portuguese variant you should learn!

Use Language Apps

Want to start learning Portuguese right away? If so, you can start by using language apps, especially if you’re a complete beginner, as they’ll help you learn your first words and phrases in Portuguese. The great thing about apps is they are an excellent complement to language lessons, and you can use them in your free time no matter where you are. Although there are many incredible apps out there, you can start by using some of the most popular ones, like Duolingo, Drops or Memrise, which cover the basics of Portuguese and allow you to learn both the European and the Brazilian variants.

Take Advantage of Cognates

When starting to build your vocabulary in Portuguese, a simple thing you can do is find words that are similar to English words and mean the same. Because English is heavily influenced by French, which derives from Latin like Portuguese, there are plenty of words that you’ll recognize easily without having to resort to a dictionary. To make this easier for you, here are some of the most useful Portuguese - English cognates you should learn.

Word in English Word in Portuguese Pronunciation in Portuguese
Animal Animal ah-knee-MOW
Natural Natural nah-too-ROW
Real Real hey-OW
Social Social soh-see-OW
Vital Vital vee-TOW
Original Original oh-ree-gee-NOW
Chocolate Chocolate sho-coh-LAH-te
Familiar Familiar fa-mee-lee-AR
Cinema Cinema SEE-neh-mah
Radio Rádio HAH-dee-oh

As you can see by these examples, although it’s really easy to recognize these words in Portuguese, their pronunciation is really different than in English, so always remember to ask your teacher for help or look them up online.

Watch Out for False Cognates

Even though there are many words that look similar and mean the same, there are others that look like English words but have completely different meanings, so if you want to avoid confusion, take a look at the list of the most common false cognates.

  • Costume in Portuguese looks like the English word costume but means custom or tradition.
  • Assistir in Portuguese looks like the English word assist but means to attend, watch or participate.
  • Data in Portuguese looks like the English word data but means date.
  • Enrolar in Portuguese looks like the English word enrol but means to wind up, to roll up or to curl up.
  • Êxito in Portuguese looks like the English word exit but means success.
  • Esperto in Portuguese looks like the English word expert but means clever or smart.
  • Gripe in Portuguese looks like the English word grip but means cold or flu.
  • Injúria in Portuguese looks like the English word injury but means insult.
  • Livraria in Portuguese looks like the English word library but means book store.
  • Lanche in Portuguese looks like the English word lunch but means snack.

Learn Portuguese Diacritics

If you want to sound like a native, you have to master Portuguese diacritics. Diacritics are marks placed over certain vowels that indicate how that sound should be pronounced, as well as to identify the stress in a word. There are three diacritics, also called accents, you should know:

  • The acute accent, which is marked by a [ ´ ] and it can be used on all vowels to indicate that they are “open”, so for example if you find a word that has an é, you should pronounce it like the “e” sound in bed. On the other hand, if you find an á you should pronounce it like the “a” in after and if you find an ó you should say it like the “o” in the word off.
  • The circumflex accent, which is marked by a [ ^ ] is only used with vowels â, ê and ô and shows that you should pronounce these sounds in a particular way. The â should be pronounced like the syllable “un” in the word under, while the ê should be said like the “e” in hey. The ô, on the other hand, should sound like “o” in the word go.
  • The tilde, which is marked by a [ ~ ] is only used with vowels ã and õ and it indicates that these sounds should be nasal.

Want some extra recommendations to improve your pronunciation? Here are some Useful Tips for Perfecting your Portuguese Accent.

Pay Attention to Grammatical Gender

One of the most challenging aspects of learning Portuguese is that you’ll have to learn to differentiate masculine from feminine nouns. Although it will take some time for you to learn how to do this, there’s a simple rule which can help you avoid mistakes, especially at the beginning. All you need to do is look at the ending of a noun, if it ends in an “o”, like the word filho, which means son, that word is probably masculine, whereas if it ends with an “a”, like the word filha, which means daughter, chances are it’s feminine. Although there are quite a few exceptions to this rule, it will certainly help to apply it when you first start, so if in doubt, remember to look at word endings.

Learn Most Used Tenses First

Another aspect of Portuguese that can be daunting for English speakers is verb conjugation. In order not to be overwhelmed by Portuguese tenses, you should learn the three most used tenses first, and leave the rest for later. First, you should start with the present tense, which is called presente and it’s used to express habits, customs and general statements that allow you to say things like “Eu falo português” which means “I speak Portuguese”. Next, you should learn the pretérito perfeito, a very useful tense that will allow you to talk about the past and say things like “Eu aprendi português”, which means “I learned Portuguese”. Lastly, if you want to talk about the future, you only have to combine the word ir, which means to go, with another verb in infinitive, and you’ll be able to say things like “Eu vou aprender português” which means “I’m going to learn Portuguese”.

Make as Many Native Friends As Possible

Whether you’re interested in Brazilian Portuguese or European Portuguese, you should try to make as many native friends as possible in order to put your skills to the test and speak confidently. There are many ways you can do this, like attending a local language exchange event near your town or city or joining an online community where you can chat with people from all over the world, like Interpals or Meetup. The more you talk to native speakers, the better your conversational skills will get, so don’t be shy and find people you can talk to!

Immerse Yourself in Lusophone Cultures

If you want to understand cultural references and develop your Portuguese skills, one of the best things you can do is immerse yourself in Portuguese and Brazilian culture as much as possible. You can do this in different ways, like watching movies and TV shows, listening to podcasts, reading books, listening to music and reading the news in Portuguese. Don’t know where to start? Here are some useful links you can check out.

  • Netflix has amazing shows and films you should watch, like Capitães de Abril, a 2000 drama that’s set in Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, a military coup d’état that took place in 1974 to overthrow a right-wing dictatorship or A Casa de Alice, a Brazilian film that follows the life on Alice, a 40-year-old manicurist that lives with her mother, her husband, and her three children. If you prefer to watch TV shows, you should check out Sintonia, a Brazilian crime series that takes place in São Paolo and is told from three different characters' perspectives or O Mecanismo, an amazing series inspired by an investigation of corruption in major Brazilian oil and construction companies that was nominated for many awards.
  • Want to develop your listening skills and pick up new phrases? If so, you should start listening to podcasts in Portuguese. There are plenty you can find online for free, but some of our top picks are:
  • Portuguese Lab Podcast, which is perfect for those interested in European Portuguese and offers different episodes for both beginner and advanced students.
  • Cafe Brazil, which is ideal for intermediate students who enjoy listening to philosophical reflections about Brazilian culture, politics and society in general.
  • Dragões de Garagem, which is great for intermediate students who love learning about science. One of the best things about this podcast is that the speakers talk really slowly and don’t use slang words, so you’ll be able to understand them much more easily.
  • Interested in reading in Portuguese? If so, take a look at some of these useful websites:
  • Globo, a Brazilian news site where you can find many articles about the different regions of Brazil and find out all you need to know about the latest events in the country.
  • Diário de Notícias is another great choice if you want to read all the latest news about Portugal.
  • If you prefer to read magazines, you can check out AnaMaria, which has plenty of articles on recipes, beauty and wellbeing.

3. Key Portuguese Phrases

Ready to have your first conversation in Portuguese? If so, take a look at some of these essential words and phrases that will come in handy the next time you encounter a native speaker in Australia or in one of your trips.

English Version Portuguese Version
Hello Olá
Hi, how are you? Oi, tudo bem com você?
Thank you Obrigado (m) - Obrigada (f)
You’re welcome De nada
Please Por favor
Can you help me? Você pode me ajudar?
Good morning Bom dia
Good afternoon Boa tarde
Good evening Boa noite
Bye Adeus/Tchau
See you soon Até logo
Do you speak English? Você sabe falar inglês?
What? Can you repeat it, please? Como? Pode repetir, por favor?
I’d like to buy… Queria comprar um…
I only speak a little Portuguese Só falo um pouco de português
I am pleased to meet you É um prazer conhecê-lo/la
I understand perfectly Compreendo perfeitamente
Do you understand? Compreende?
My name is… Meu nome é…/ Me chamo…
Yes/No Sim/Não
I don’t know Não sei
I’m sorry/Excuse me Desculpa
Where? Onde?
What? Que?
When? Quando?
Why? Por quê?
How much? Quanto?

Now that you know these simple phrases, you’re ready to have a simple conversation with a native. However, if you truly want to master the language and take your skills to the next level, the smartest thing you can do is book a Portuguese course at Language Trainers. All you need to do to get started learning with us is send us a quick enquiry and we’ll find a suitable Portuguese teacher who can create personalised lessons based on your interests and needs.

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Throughout your Portuguese course, the Language Trainers Academic Team will be on hand to help you with any queries.
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After the first lesson or two, our team will contact you to ensure you are happy with your trainer. If necessary, we will change the focus of the course to better suit your needs.
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Our team will provide you with follow-up learning opportunities, including: self study material, language courses in Portuguese-speaking countries, and more advanced courses with Language Trainers.
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