Learning Portuguese Online

Will I ever get the hang of the Portuguese language? I had been having some success with one-to-one tuition with a native speaker visiting me at home each week, but thanks to a winter break and then Covid, the classes ended and I was back to square one again.

Online Classes via Zoom

Someone recommended a tutor online for me, and I decided to find out more. I checked out the Facebook page and website for Portuguese Language Lessons and liked what I saw. I contacted the tutor, Emma, and she impressed me. She teaches European Portuguese and has a friendly, relaxed style. Her prices were also very reasonable, a course costs just 25€ per month (4 weeks) or 65€ for the 3-month (12 week) course.

She has a range of courses to suit all abilities. I selected a class with a basic curriculum from the list. There is a checklist you can follow to determine which level of learning would be best for you. Although I can speak and understand a lot more Portuguese now, my pronunciation is still pretty poor. The timing also suited me, with a mid-afternoon Zoom class per week.

What I wasn’t expecting, and which I have been amazed at, is the amount of extra materials Emma provides each week for you. Before a lesson, she sends out an email, which includes links to a worksheet, a video on YouTube, and a snazzy range of learning cards hosted through a site called Quizlet.

As well as a range of mini-lessons, the Quizlet link also has a nifty set of ‘games’ you can play to test your knowledge and improve your vocabulary.

Add to that, Emma sends you a worksheet in advance of the hour’s zoom lesson each week. Groups of up to ten people in a class means there is plenty of time to ask questions, and to break-out into zoom rooms to practise the topics for the week.

As if that wasn’t enough—she sends you a homework revision sheet after the class each week as well! All that for only sixty euros for twelve weeks.

Books

I had previously tried to grapple with two sets of books that my old tutor had recommended to me:

Passaporte Para Português 1: Livro do Aluno

Aprender Português 1 – Nível A1/A2 – Manual do Aluno

They both come with workbooks too and can be ordered online or instore at fnac. There is something about trying to learn alone, without any interaction, and critically for me, without anyone to check your pronunciation, that makes it much harder to progress. The books have both, sadly, sat in a box beside my computer for several months.

Other Online Resources

One site that I have, however, paid far more attention to, is the fabulous YouTube and Facebook page Portuguese with Leo.

The premise is a simple one. Each week, Leo, a native Portuguese speaker, posts up a new episode for you to watch. Each week has a different theme, and he provides a script with the video or podcast. This means that you can listen along and absorb the Portuguese language in a gently immersive way. Leo speaks very clearly, and the videos are always interesting and entertaining. You can also find a translation of the script if you get stuck.

Here is the link to his website:
www.portuguesewithleo.com

Finally, one app for beginners that I found really useful when I first started learning Portuguese was the nifty Linkword programme. This uses word association to introduce you to a wide range of words and phrases that are really useful.

I have a creative mind and I am a visual learner and literally years later I can still remember the words I learnt from this course. You have a word – let’s say ‘cow’ – which is ‘vaca’ in Portuguese. You picture a cow vacuuming a field – and learn the word. I don’t know why, but this really resonated with me and I found it brilliant. Dave hated it!

Here is the link to the website:
Linkword European Portuguese

Hopefully, one day soon I might be able to let you know that I have finally started to speak better Portuguese. I’m sure all of our neighbours hope so too!

Let me know in the comments of any resources, classes, or online links that you have found useful in learning this beautiful, if slightly frustrating, romantic language.

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14 Responses to Learning Portuguese Online

  1. restlessjo says:

    What a gem you are, Alison 🙂 🙂 We did go to lessons pre-Covid but I’m not a huge fan of Zoom and have fallen by the wayside lately. I have that Passaporte text book and several others but maintaining the effort isn’t easy. I’ll give Leo a try.

  2. Maryanne says:

    Such a good article, Alyson! You write so clearly.
    And I would like to mention a wonderful woman, Ines, in Ferragudo, who
    teaches courses in Lagos, Carvoeiro, Faro and Ferragudo.
    Here is her website for those who would like a delightful in person
    Portuguese learning experience! https://www.portuguish.pt/

  3. Barb Dietrich says:

    This is great, Alyson! I want to start learning Portuguese before I travel to Portugal. (Since I live in the US, and we aren’t allowed to travel because of Covid, it seems like NOW would be a good time to start learning!) I have been wondering how to best go about learning the language. I am going to check into the Portuguese language lessons, and the lessons with Leo. Thanks for reading my mind.
    Warm regards,
    Barb

  4. sami veloso says:

    It’s great that Leo’s podcasts have Portuguese subtitles so you can also read and associate the word. I’m relearning French and the podcast that was recommended to me has no subtitles so sometimes it’s difficult to make out the words they are saying.
    When I lived in Germany and was home with the kids, I found that having either the TV or radio on the whole day was good to get my ears used to the language, pronunciation, etc. and I eventually even learned some vocabulary just by listening.
    Good luck Alyson 🙂

  5. Heather says:

    I find two apps (Bebbel+Duolingo) very helpful with pronouncment, revision and test after each session. I can go on them whenever I am free so not as regimented. All you need is a wifi connection or data.

  6. Tessa Hearn says:

    We have been having lessons for the last two years with Ana do Carmo, who has a school, Kultlingua, in Loulé. We enjoy her lessons and have improved a lot. The lessons are dynamic with an emphasis on speaking and understanding. She also covers the necessary grammar and uses the Passaporte books. Apart from herself, she has a team of well-qualified teachers including her daughter Lia. She has been giving Zoom lessons since the start of the Covid restrictions, which have worked out well. She can be contacted at info@Kultlingua.com.

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