What is the Best Way to Use the Site?
There's no right way or right order to work through the site, as everyone has different learning goals and focuses when learning a language. For example, someone who is traveling to Portugal for a month would want to prioritize different topics compared to someone who is planning to live there. Someone who needs to understand Portuguese for business purposes would have different goals compared to someone who wants to communicate better with family, friends, and neighbours.
With this in mind, we've tried to make the platform as flexible as possible to give our users more control over their learning experience. That said, we can offer some suggestions for those of you who like to have a more clear path.
When in doubt, the best place to start if you're brand new to Portuguese is with the Units section. This gives you a clear path as you can complete each Lesson in order, starting from the basics.
The first few Units serve as an overview to help you lay a foundation for the rest of your study. They include Learning Notes (explanations of grammar topics, including audio examples), followed by interactive Lessons to complete which help you practice these concepts and "learn by doing", and finally, a short dialogue recorded by native speakers of European Portuguese to let you put what you've learned into a more realistic context. If you're using the Units section, you should also make use of Smart Review to help keep what you're learning stored in your memory as you go along. You can read more about that here!
Some of our users who have a background in Brazilian Portuguese also like starting from the beginning to help them review the basics and learn all the differences in European Portuguese pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary from the ground up.
You can also try out our Shorties, which are short dialogues and articles read by native European Portuguese speakers. You can filter by difficulty level to focus on those that are tagged "Beginner" or "Easier". Don't expect yourself to understand every word right away! Simply click the "Translate" toggle button to reveal the English translation in the transcript. The Shorties are a great way to get exposure to the language and build off of what you learn in the units in a more natural way.
Our Podcasts range in difficulty level, but we've released some that are geared toward beginners/intermediates recently which include excerpts of Portuguese dialogues, with the grammar and pronunciation explanations in English.
The Videos tend to be at a more advanced level, but you have the benefit of the visual context, so even if you're not picking up everything, it's an entertaining and motivating way to learn!
Do you already know a little Portuguese, but you want to keep learning? We would recommend using the Units to review the basics and to learn the grammar concepts you haven't covered yet. Some of our users say that even though they are at a more advanced level, they still learned a lot and clarified some ongoing questions by working through the early Units.
If the lessons at the beginning seem too easy, however, it's fine to skip forward to another Unit where you feel more challenged. We unlock all the Units from the beginning, so you don't have to slog through anything you already know by heart. If you're using the Units section, you should also make use of Smart Review to help keep what you're learning stored in your memory as you go along. You can read more about that here!
We also recommend that you challenge yourself by putting your listening skills to the test with our Shorties, Podcasts, and Videos, found under the Practice tab in the top menu. These episodes include real, fast-paced dialogues, scripted dialogues, interesting articles, as well as Rui and Joel's pronunciation tips and helpful explanations.
As a beginner, you can often "get by" just learning a few verb tenses, but you can't avoid those other conjugations forever! Our Units cover many different categories of verbs, but you can also check out the Verbs section to get an overview of the conjugations of hundreds of common verbs and quiz yourself on the different tenses.
As an advanced learner, you will probably get the most out of our Shorties, Podcasts, and Videos. We release more episodes multiple times per week, so it's a good way to get consistent, quality listening practice. We have a number of members who live in Portugal for part of the year and then like to use these episodes as a way to maintain their skills when they're away. You can even filter the episodes by difficulty level to make sure you're challenging yourself.
If you're already fairly fluent in Portuguese, the Units could be a little too easy. That said, we have a number of more specialized topics, such as Getting Residency in Portugal, Slang, Idioms, Buying a Home, Government and Politics, and more, so it could be worth a look to see if there are Units that could help you learn new vocabulary or review the topics that you tend to struggle with. If you do decide to use the units, you should also make use of Smart Review to help keep what you're learning stored in your memory as you go along. You can read more about that here!
The Verbs section is useful if there are certain conjugations you struggle with or if you want to practice some irregular verb forms.
Do you have questions? Check out our forum for topics that range from grammar questions to pronunciation tips to guides to Portuguese culture and what it's like to live in Portugal. You can search the existing discussions or post your own questions to get answers from the Practice Portuguese team, as well as your fellow learners.
For more tips and advice on how to get the most out of our site, check out this blog post which includes a worksheet to help you evaluate your progress and add more European Portuguese into your daily habits. 🙂🇵🇹