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Portuguese is widely spoken across the world. It is an official language of Portugal, of course, and also Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Angola, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, East Timor, and Macau (China). As the result of colonial expansion in past centuries, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese-creole speakers are also found in parts of the Caribbean, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and even some Indonesian islands.
Rosetta Stone specifically focuses on teaching Brazilian Portuguese, also known as Português do Brasil. It’s spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken throughout the Brazilian diaspora, which consists of about two million Brazilians who have emigrated to other countries.
Learning Brazilian Portuguese
Portuguese is the native language of millions of individuals around the globe. You can learn Portuguese and join those conversations. Portuguese is ranked as the ninth most powerful language in the world. Portuguese speakers, also known as “Lusophones,” are in good company, among other global economic heavyweights like German (ranking seventh) and Japanese (ranking eighth). The ability to understand and speak Portuguese adds your name to the list of 250 million of Lusophones who make up the second most-spoken romance language in the world.
As a native English speaker, many individuals discover that learning Portuguese is not as difficult as they initially thought. Portuguese grammar and sentence structures are simpler than their counterparts in English. In fact, many Portuguese language learners find that the Portuguese accent is actually easier to produce than a Spanish accent. The English and Portuguese languages also share common Latin roots. Because of this shared original language, you’ll soon find that many Portuguese words sound similar to their English counterparts, and have the same meaning. Such shared words are cognates. These cognates can give you a significant headstart to speaking Portuguese comfortably and confidently.
For example, here’s a common Portuguese sentence: “Animais não são permitidos no restaurante.” You can see that this sentence is made up almost entirely of Portuguese-English cognates. Let’s break it down word by word:
Animais / Animals
não são / are not
permitidos / allowed (permitted)
no / at the
restaurante / restaurant
Putting this all together, we have, “Animals are not allowed in the restaurant.”
So not only is Portuguese relatively quick to pick up and begin speaking, your understanding of Portuguese will give you a great start to understanding other widely-used Romance languages such as French, Italian, and Spanish.
One of the first things beginning language learners tackle in their effort to learn to speak and write Portuguese is the Portuguese alphabet. The Portuguese alphabet is Latin-based and has 26 letters, just like the English alphabet. One of the more challenging elements to learning the alphabet is learning to recognize that the symbols above each letter change the pronunciation of the words. The Portuguese language has 14 vowel sounds. Accent marks are used to show the pronunciation of these vowel sounds. Those accent marks are: á, â, ã, à, ç, é, ê, í, ó, ô, õ, and ú.
These accent marks also indicate which syllables are to be stressed in pronunciation. As examples: café (coffee); você (you, formal); and mãe (mother). Nasal vowels are very common and are represented by the tilde (~) over the vowels a and o. For example, canção (song), and maçã (apple). And the cedilha (ç) before -a, -o, and -u means the letter is pronounced the same as “s.”
Of note, the letter h is silent in Portuguese. The letters r, s, z and the combinations nh, lh, ch, rr may prove more challenging to learn. Some common examples include: rádio (radio), cozinhando (cooking), chaves (keys), mulher (woman), and cachorro (dog).
Perfecting your Portuguese pronunciation relies on immediate feedback. Real-time feedback will allow you to make corrections and practice accurately, until you can readily shape the sounds that make up spoken Brazilian Portuguese. Rosetta Stone integrates a proven and patented speech-recognition engine into each and every lesson. Called TruAccent, this speech-recognition engine delivers instant feedback that will help you conform your accent to that of native Portuguese speakers. TruAccent was developed by carefully scanning, analyzing and integrating the speech of native and non-native Portuguese speakers. TruAccent can be a tremendous advantage in helping you learn to speak, and therefore understand, Brazilian Portuguese.
After beginning Portuguese learners have mastered the basics that make up the building blocks of speaking the language, the next step is to move on to the longer phrases that are the backbone of Brazilian Portuguese conversations. Rosetta Stone’s digestible, 10-minute language lessons are built in just this way—naturally leading to the ability to comfortably and confidently speak Portuguese. By structuring vocabulary acquisition in line with real-world situations, Rosetta Stone will help you to learn Brazilian Portuguese.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Portuguese whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.