In this post I will be sharing my top 5 language learning resources for European Portuguese.
1. Grammar Books
Gramática Ativa 1&2 and McGraw-Hill’s Basic Portuguese have both been immensely helpful for getting me started in European Portuguese. The GA books actually provide material up to level C1 so are a great investment if you’re looking to advance quickly.
The only drawback with these books is the lack of listening material. The McGraw-Hill website does provide some audio but it all runs on Flash, which is about to be obsolete if not already. It doesn’t allow for mp3 downloads of the audio, meaning it’s not good for on-the-go learning.
This site has long been a favourite of mine for so many courses, and has been a wonderful tool throughout lockdown. If you time it well, you can often find sales on and get courses from as low as £9.99! After a few months of searching for European Portuguese and not finding anything that wasn’t obviously one course broken into five (meaning you’d need to buy five separate courses) I finally found an A1 introductory course.
The lecturer, Ana Martins, is a native speaker and a graduate of Modern Languages and Literature. She has taught in schools and one-to-one, which shows as the course is well-structured and informative even though it is a complete beginners course.
I found it very helpful to learn the sounds of Portuguese, and there are plenty of pdfs for grammar points and some vocabulary – but combined with the above mentioned books I feel much more confident now continuing my studies myself.
I’ll be honest that I haven’t searched for many youtubers, there are probably a lot who do European Portuguese, but I found the Talk the Streets channel run by British ex-pat Liz Sharma who has a treasure trove of videos already uploaded, so I’ll have plenty to keep me occupied for a while!
She has shorter videos dealing with pronunciation, how to stop mixing Spanish and Portuguese if you have a background in Spanish you’ll see similarities in the languages but they are NOT the same! She also has role plays for everyday things like ordering coffee in a café and local colloquialisms, which aren’t usually included in grammar books.
4. Find a language buddy
What’s the best way to improve in a language? Talking to someone! Obviously right now we’re not in the position to attend meetup groups but at least we can be thankful for the internet. There are loads of facebook language groups and apps like iTalki and Slowly where people are wanting to do language exchanges.
The one I have used the most for other languages in the past was Conversation Exchange you can set your preferences for language(s) and levels and whether you’d prefer to email, video chat, or IM. It’s completely free to send and receive messages, although now you can pay to remove ads, but that’s up to yourself. Often I’ve shared an email or my skype information until I am comfortable talking with a person, please be careful about sharing phone numbers for the sake of certain instant messaging apps!
You can do your own searches to find study buddies, even searching by city which can be great if you are trying to learn the local accent and vernacular. When I lived in Spain, I used it to meet some locals in Granada – which was fine, but most times they only wanted to practice English. So it might be worth setting some ground rules before chatting or meeting (in future).
5. News websites and apps
It’s quite easy to do a search for national and local newspapers, there’s a wiki page for most places and it gives an idea of whether they are left, centre, or right leaning media.
Reading the news doesn’t need to be time consuming, think what you do in your native language, does anyone have time to read a FULL newspaper every morning? Unlikely. Thus you maybe just catch the main headlines on an app or news website.
I’ve discovered the joys of using the Euro News app, I’ve used the website and tv channel previously and love being able to switch the audio between languages and now you can do it on the app too! So I can read a quick article from Portugal in Portuguese, an Italian headline in Italian and recognise a few Dutch words in an article from the Netherlands – all of which is far preferable to doom-scrolling on social media sites!
You can also watch short videos from the news channel – great for listening. And not to worry about any words you don’t recognise, just note them down and use that as your vocabulary building for the day. You’d be surprised how quickly you can accumulate a list of new words.
So what do you think of these resources? Have you used any of them yourself? Anything else you think I should feature next time? Let me know in the comments!