In the last 6 months, we’ve seen major new content and website relaunches from three of my favorite Portuguese websites. I think these three resources now constitute the gold standard of online Portuguese education. Throw in a copy of the Green Book and you’ll have everything you need to get started, get better, or get fluent:
- StreetSmart Brazil – personalized lessons over the internet from an amazing group of teachers. SSB launched a new website this year, brought on board new teachers, developed new types of classes, and improved the custom materials that they use.
- Semántica – video lessons featuring stories shot on-location in Rio. Semántica recently launched a new 100-video series for intermediate speakers, to add to their offerings for beginning and advanced speakers.
- BrazilPod – lessons for all levels from a crack team of language professors at UT Austin. BrazilPod just launched Língua da Gente, a new podcast for beginners.
These three projects have a few things in common. All of them have been around since the start of Hacking Portuguese in 2010. All of them played a major role in helping me achieve fluency, meaning I can vouch for them personally. One of them (BrazilPod) is entirely free, and for the others I’ve been able to negotiate discounts for Hacking Portuguese readers (see recent blog posts). And they all work well together.
Finally, you’ll notice that none of these projects are affiliated with major language education brands that churn out ‘content’ for dozens of languages. Instead, they each have smart, experienced individuals at the helm who are passionate about Brazilian Portuguese and only Brazilian Portuguese: Luciana Lage at StreetSmart Brazil, James Hall at Semántica, and Dr. Orlando Kelm at BrazilPod.
It’s these folks who give these projects a personal and human touch that is missing in so much language education. If you haven’t given them a shot yet, I hope you’ll check them out and come to know how awesome they are just as I have, and get amazingly good at your Portuguese in the process!
Now for some honorable mentions. Unlike the ones above, these are made by companies with multiple language offerings, and I have expressed skepticism about them in the past. However, after using them more (and hearing about others’ very positive experiences, in the case of BRIC), I now feel that they are worth another look:
- PortuguesePod101 – HUGE amount of content for all levels, even quite advanced. PP101 tries to be comprehensive with podcasts, recorded dialogs, vocabulary banks and a built-in spaced repetition flashcard system.
- DuoLingo – free, turns language learning into a game with levels, awards, points. Good for quick and easy ‘downtime’ learning on your phone.
- BRIC Language Systems – intensive online tutoring with real teachers and original course material
- LiveMocha – social languag learning site which pairs you with English learners