European Portuguese resources

portugal-flag-wallpaperCompared to the Brazilian dialect, there are few resources out there for European Portuguese. I’ve collected the ones I know about here and will keep this page updated as I find new things. If you know of other resources, please let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Pimsleur offers a European dialect course, but unfortunately it only contains 10 lessons compared to the 90 for Brazilian dialect. As I’ve noted elsewhere, there are many ways to get Pimsleur at reduced cost: mp3 downloads via audible.com, rent-by-mail at pimsleurmarketplace, or even for free in your local library’s language section.

Michel Thomas is an audio course similar to Pimsleur, except that you are listening to a teacher instructing a live group of 2 students (they leave a gap for you to respond to the prompts as well). Though it doesn’t say it’s explicitly for EP, the teacher speaks in European dialect. There is a beginner and an advanced version, though I am not sure how far the advanced version takes you compared to Pimsleur. Many people seem to find the lengthy explanations and responses of the other students distracting. But you can sample a bit of the first lesson for free here.

Practice Portuguese – a relatively new site that fills an important gap. Intermediate-level podcasts and dialogues, all in European dialect.

Ponto de Encontro is an excellent (though expensive) textbook that features European and Brazilian dialects side-by-side so you can choose which you’d like to learn and compare the differences. The audio hosted online for free, and it comes in both dialects — find the European version here.

Portuguese with Carla – Carla is a UK-based intructor who gives European Portuguese lessons via Skype.

36 Responses to European Portuguese resources

  1. john says:

    Having gone through the Pimsleur 10 unit and the Michel Thomas 8 unit CDs, I have to say that Michel Thomas is the better way.

    Pimsleur’s European Portuguese is very limited and after 10 CDs, the vocabulary is only approximately 100 words, and you only learn the present tense in the I and you form. It is excellent for pronunciation and I like the method, but at the end of the CDs, I only realized the lack of real understanding I had when I went back to create a word-list. That 100 word count included conjugation of a couple words.

    Michel Thomas, on the other hand, has a much larger vocabulary and explained how the language functions. I “get” the complaints about the Michel Thomas speakers, but you also learn from their mistakes. If you are looking to learn the language than just speak a couple words as a nice gesture when you get to Portugal (and hope that they talk to you in English), I would not recommend the Pimsleur over Michel Thomas. Doing the Pimsleur first is an option as it may help you with pronunciation and provide the learner with a vocabulary foundation. But you will not actually learn the language (or understand how it works) with the short Pimsleur course. Michel Thomas gives you the foundation for further learning after the course is over.

    I am also taking a few tricks from this website, like changing some of my social media settings to Portuguese, and I have subscribed to a few Portuguese Facebook pages. I will also be studying your frequent word list! I also plan on listening to the five “advanced” Michel Thomas CDs in the very near future.

    I also reached out to the Practice Portuguese guys. I think they are still too advanced for my ears, but they recommended http://pt.textoeditores.com/aprenderportugues/aprender_portugues.html which appears to be difficult to find in the US, but I think they may be trying to get a deal to sell it through their website.

    In addition, I have picked up a couple books, but haven’t spent enough time with them to give them a good review. And the only other podcast is One Minute Portuguese, which you may want to listen to while you are waiting for your Pimsleur or Michel Thomas to arrive in the mail.

    Wolter’s World on YouTube has a series of videos, but they may be too advanced for Pimsleur and offer some support to (or a change of pace from) Michel Thomas. That website also has some interesting cultural tidbits.

    Thanks again!

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks John for sharing your experiences with European dialect – I’m sure many other readers will find them helpful considering how little info there is out there. Good to know that the EP Pimsleur is extremely limited. And the Aprender Português book is new to me – hopefully it will get US distribution at some point!

      Lauren

  2. Megan says:

    I’ve just started trying to learn European Portuguese in the past few months, and I’ve been relying heavily on EarWorms (http://store.earwormslearning.com/Rapid_Portuguese_s/58.htm) to hear the sounds and get basic phrases building. It’s also nice because I can opt to read along in the guidebook or just go off the sounds. They also pause sometimes to explain why they use certain words sometimes or drop some sounds. It’s good for a beginner, although I’ve hit the point that I need to supplement it with some grammar lessons.

  3. Rich says:

    Fantastic website! So glad I stumbled upon it. I’m of Portuguese descent and my parents spoke the language at home while growing up, but I never quite became fluent. I have been trying to formally learn in recent years.

    Another European Portuguese resource you may be interested in is the “Instituto Camões” – http://www.instituto-camoes.pt/. They are the Portuguese equivalent of organizations such as the British Council and l’Alliance Française. They have some free material online, and they also offer distance courses leading to CEFR certification.

  4. Waleed says:

    Have you checked http://www.learn-portuguese-with-rafa.com
    I am confused about picking the right course. Do you recommend any beside Michel Thomas course that focuses on pronunciation and grammar which i think is most important
    thank you in advance

    • Samanta Dupond says:

      Hi
      I wonder if someone could recommend me a good course and book
      I also checked this site http://www.learn-portuguese-with-rafa.com/ and they just launched a new book http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00LG5Y2CU?pc_redir=1407296560&robot_redir=1 with good reviews, but I feel a bit lost with so many offers over the internet.

      • Rich says:

        I did order that resource recently myself. I enjoyed it. It’s not a fully fleshed out language course or grammar guide, but it is a good compendium of some of the main rules you would need for every-day communication. I would recommend it for people with some prior exposure to Portuguese or who are quick studies and who just want to brush up very quickly on the main rules of grammar and/or build up a decent vocabulary quickly. You would certainly need a few more resources though if you were aiming for fluency.

    • John says:

      I had recommended Michel Thomas (and still do). One thing that it is lacking in M.T. is conversation. The Practice Portuguese guys have this in spades…. but they are by no means a beginner course, they are designed for intermediate learners.

      I got lazy and took a year off from attempting Portuguese, and am now trying again. I am reviewing the M.T. course and supplementing it with “TAKE OFF IN PORTUGUESE” – the biggest benefit of this course is that it has some limited conversations by native European Portuguese speakers which is helpful in understanding that fluent speech (wish there was more of that actually). M.T. does not have conversations.

      I would NOT recommend the Take Off book and CD for someone with no prior basic Portuguese. I find that the course goes straight to work, and lacks providing background on the why and how. A person using this as their first introduction to the language might get lost and frustrated rather easily.

      But I do not discount using this book, perhaps after going through the M.T. course. While M.T. is primarily an audio learning method, Take Off’s provides more book learning and has grammar and language exercises. Therefore, I think it’s a good supplement to M.T. (if you read the Amazon.com reviews for this, I tend to agree with the ones that gave it a middle rating.)

  5. Joel Rendall says:

    Haha, this is awesome, I hadn’t originally seen the shoutout on this page, with our logo and everything! Thanks again… and hope to see more blog posts in the future! :)

    • Lauren says:

      I make it my job to know about EVERYTHING Portuguese-related on the web :-) At least the good stuff. I see you have added lots of content to PP since I wrote this, so Iet me fix that!

  6. Ivan says:

    Hello! Thanks for the links, I particularly loved the PracticePortuguese idea.

    If it comes to books, I’ve found very useful these two [in French, though] – Assimil: Le Portugais sans Pein (ISBN : 9782700504965) which have around 100 lessons of not very long texts each of which having an audio version, too; the other one is Larouss’ ’40 leçons pour parler portugais’ (ISBN : 2266082345 ) which laid the foundations.

  7. mapena says:

    Hi Lauren,
    I am looking for resources for European Portuguese.I got the Michel Thomas Total and Perfect cd’s but now I need to practice. Do you know about the books/course offered by Irineu de Oliveira?

    Obrigada,
    MAP

  8. John says:

    Sorry to use this as a forum, but I just came across Pronunciator which appears to be free through my library. It seems to be set up like how I imagine Rosetta Stone. It has both Brazilian and European PT. http://www.pronunciator.com/languages/

    I was looking for reviews, but can’t find any helpful ones, and certainly no reviews for the Portuguese language.

  9. M.A.Pena says:

    Hi Lauren,
    Just following up on my last email, I did find an excellent programme by Linguaphone “Complete Portuguese” which I purchased last December. There are 40 lessons and 8 cd’s with native speakers from Portugal as well as Brazil. I completed the programme and highly recommend it. It is very thorough in its explanation of the grammar and there are lots of exercises. A bit pricey but for me it was worth every penny. It was highly recommended to me by a Hungraian friend who used Linguaphone to learn English and French. Right now I am reading children’s and young adult books in Portuguese from the library, learning lots of vocabulary with “Memrise” and listening to “Practice Portuguese”. I think it’s going well. Now I need someone to converse with. Thanks for your help.

    Best regards,
    MAP

  10. Hi Lauren,

    My name is Cristina Vasconcelos. I am also a European Portuguese teacher. I teach from beginner to advanced level. I agree that it is hard to find European Portuguese resources. I am a native Portuguese speaker living in Lisbon and I teach lessons online as well as in Lisbon. I am happy to help anyone interested in learning my language.

    Thank you for including European Portuguese resources on your website.

    Muito obrigada por pensar em Portugal.

    Cristina Vasconcelos

  11. Dorothea says:

    I did the Pimsleur course a few years ago, before one of my exams in Portuguese. It was pretty basic, but great for a beginner. I think practiceportuguese.com didn’t exist back then, I would have love giving it a shot. :)

  12. Tina says:

    I wonder if anyone has tried learing European Portuguese with Transparent Language online? The company also has Byki Deluxe software and Byki app for iOS and Android devices.

    • Lorenzo says:

      I have tried the Byki app. It is pretty good. Considering the lack of good European Portuguese tools out there, I would advise anyone trying to learn it to get the Byki app. It’s only a few bucks and actually has proper pronunciation.

      This is a google site I have made to collect European resources:
      https://sites.google.com/site/europeanportugueseresources/

      My wife and in laws are Portuguese or Portuguese descent, so that is my motivation.

  13. Hi,

    I’m currently learning EP and I’m loving these resources. I was wondering if anyone can recommend any good Portuguese films, music and media content that could aid my learning in addition to the audiobooks. Thanks for this great resource!

  14. John says:

    https://european-portuguese.tk/ has a complete guide for European Portuguese pronunciation.
    It has tables showing the pronunciation of each consonant and vowel letter.

  15. Columba (David) Shafer says:

    So much more available, of course, for Brazilian P than EP. Could one learn BP and use it comfortably in Europe? Somewhat different accent and some different words, but realistic or foolish?

    Many thanks to Lauren and any who can offer informed opinions.

    D

  16. Marlon says:

    Could you recommend any resource for European Portuguese grammar? Thank you!

  17. Andrew says:

    This is the only free beginner-level online resource I’ve found so far:

    http://www.surfacelanguages.com/language/PortuguesePortugal.html

  18. James says:

    I’ve been working on the online course that the University of Coimbra provides at http://e-local.ces.uc.pt/, and am currently on unit 3 out of 9. It’s supposed to get you to level A1 (“breakthrough”), but there’s no material beyond that as far as I can see. The sign-up is a bit buried, and it’s somewhat oriented to the institution’s own students, but if you follow through on the links and wave your credit card to the tune of €20, you have a year’s access to the materials, which I think are worth it.

    I struggle with two things especially, which are hearing the words which is hard when it’s all smooshed together and with my rather weak vocabulary, and the pronunciation, especially of the unstressed vowels. This course helps with the former, and I have worked out that the best procedure for me is to listen to the audio once or twice without peeking at the transcript and challenging myself on how much I can make out. When I can’t get any further, then I look at the text. There are speaking exercises, but without any assessment, it’s hard to know if your pronunciation is really good enough.

    Overall, I would recommend this if you are a beginner, want something structured and don’t have access to “real” speakers.

  19. stefaan tavernier says:

    I am looking for some suitable E Portuguese dictionary for my iphone.
    I spend 25% of my time in Lisbon for professional reasons, and it would be very handy to have that.
    I tried Ultralingua and I am no t satisfied at all with it. It seems the dictionary knows only 80% of the words I look up. For example the word “frango” is not in the dictionary. Maybe the problem is that this dictionary only has Brazilian and this word in not used in Brazilian?
    Another one by ithinkdiff is not good either. It does know the word “frango”, but has no conjugations of verbs

    • Joel Rendall says:

      Hi Stefaan! Hope my reply can still be helpful a month later. My favourite dictionary for iOS has been “Portuguese Dictionary”, have been using it for about 5 years. (I’m not affiliated with them or anything). https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/portuguese-dictionary-translator/id403245342?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
      I like it because in the settings you can toggle between European and Brazilian pronunciation. You can also bookmark words to later export them to flashcard apps etc.
      I haven’t found a good dictionary that lets you distinguish between BR and EU vocabulary, but I also like to use the “Linguee” app or website, because it lets you see the word/phrase used in a real sentence. Then you can look at the URL to get an idea about whether it is used in European (.pt .co.uk .eu etc) or Brazilian sites.
      Still not a perfect science but these are a couple tools I have used over the years in my own learning. Good luck!

  20. Maggie says:

    To keep the resources going here, I have been using an app from Memrise to learn European Portuguese. I just started but have been liking it so far. I believe you can also just use their website. It’s free but you can pay to add additional features. memrise.com

    Also, I have been listening to Portuguese music on 8tracks. I’m not sure that’s doing anything to help my vocabulary, but it’s been enjoyable! :) 8tracks.com

  21. Andrew Woolley says:

    I have been using conjuguemos.com for verb conjugation practice and vocab, although its vocab lists are in Brazilian Portuguese. I would particularly like resources for European Portuguese vocab, but haven’t found anything yet. I watch TV programmes on RTP player (http://www.rtp.pt/), which sometimes have subtitles, but it’s a bit hit and miss — sometimes they have subtitles, mostly they do not (and often shows are not available for viewing in the UK). Those that do have subtitles (legendas) tend to be soap operas. I’ve also tried searching for films in formats intended for the hard of hearing – which might might come with subtitles – but have had no luck so far. Up to now I’ve learnt using Leonete Carmo’s “Ola! Como Esta?” and found it to be well paced and put together. It’s been updated to take into account the spelling reform. I’ve got to the end of it, but the latter portions will definitely need reinforcing with further study. I worked on it far longer than the 20 weeks’ duration that it advises, but without accompanying lessons I needed the time. It reads a bit like a course book that is supposed to be used in actual lessons while recordings of some of the listening exercises are not actually on the CDs – only in transcript (the implication being that a teacher reads them out). My partner kindly recorded them for me, reading out the transcripts!

  22. Joe Figueiredo says:

    I am a first generation American of Portuguese descent. I am using the Pimsleur 30 lesson European Portuguese. That’s a good start. I hope they expand it to multiple levels like they have expanded Brazilian Portuguese. It should be the other way around and that is why I am disappointed in Pimsleur. I have asked them to expand European Portuguese to multiple levels, but that has not happened so far.

  23. LINDA DUDZIC says:

    I am just about finished with the Pimsleur EP course (on lesson 29 of 30). I am a fan of the Pimsleur method. I am disappointed they don’t have a Level II out yet for EP. That said, in the last few lessons, they’ve begun introducing the past tense for some verbs and I got frustrated not to be able to see the spelling and to learn the complete paradigm. So I ordered a Portuguese Grammar from my local bookstore. It’s very concise. It is brand new, but apparently a reprint of a book that’s now in the public domain. It only cost $10 US. Probably 50 years old! But how often does the grammar change, anyhow.

    (A word to the wise: Try to get all lessons for a Pimsleur course from the same edition. I checked out the first 10 lessons from my local library. They were missing the reading lesson transcript. I dug around and found the transcript online. Then I purchased lessons 11-30, and at that point found that the library edition was outdated. I still get tangled up on some words that were introduced in the NEW lessons 1-10, so watch out for that. )

  24. Ariel Varner says:

    Hi, My wife is half E-Portuguese (with no language skill) and we are learning the language together. Pimsleur’s first level seems to be working out great so far, we’re at lesson 6. I highly recommend it since it teaches you much in the way a child learns it born in Portugal i.e.; sounds, familiarization, association, repetition, recollection. We will not move on to anything else until we master these particular courses. I think that’s the best approach, even if your current course isn’t “the best out there”. Other wise you end up overwhelming yourself with loads of different resources, all with different teaching methods without ever being a disciplined, dedicated student of any of them. Also, you end up spending more time searching than actually learning. All while dabbling in a little bit of this course, and little bit of that course. Choose one kung-fu master, learn everything you can from him, beat the master, then move on to the next master, then become one yourself.

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