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Learn Portuguese and join the conversation with over 220 million native speakers across the globe. From Portugal to Brazil to Mozambique, learning Portuguese will expand your world more broadly in business and in culture. As the ninth most powerful language in the world, Portuguese speakers, also called “Lusophones,” are nicely situated among the likes of other economic heavyweights like German and Japanese (ranking seventh and eighth, respectively). Speaking Portuguese gives you access to the millions of Lusophones who are fluent in the second most-spoken Romance language in the world.
English speakers will find that learning Portuguese is not as difficult to learn as it sounds. Portuguese grammar and sentence structures are simplified compared to English, and many Portuguese language learners find that the Portuguese accent is easier to produce than a Spanish accent. English and Portuguese also share deep Latin roots. Because of these shared origins, you’ll quickly discover that many words sound similar to English and have the same meaning—also called cognates. These cognates can give you a huge advantage when it comes to speaking Portuguese quickly and confidently.
Take this sentence for example: “Animais não são permitidos no restaurante.” The sentence is made up almost entirely of Portuguese-English cognates. Let’s break it down.
Animais / Animals
não são / are not
permitidos / allowed (permitted)
no / at the
restaurante / restaurant
If we put it all together, we have, “Animals are not allowed in the restaurant.”
Not only is Portuguese relatively quick to pick up and begin speaking, understanding it gives you a huge advantage in understanding other Romance languages like French, Italian, and Spanish.
At Rosetta Stone, we understand that the goal of learning Portuguese is to feel confident enough to speak the language and to understand it in real-world situations. That’s why our Portuguese program focuses on learning both spoken and written Brazilian Portuguese in context, using audio and visual cues to help build a language learning program that gets you speaking Portuguese from the very first lesson.
Which Countries Speak Portuguese?
Portuguese is spoken across the world. It is an official language of Portugal, of course, and also Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau (China). As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese-creole speakers are also found in India, Sri Lanka, some Indonesian islands, parts of Malaysia, and in areas of the Caribbean.
Rosetta Stone focuses on teaching Brazilian Portuguese. Português do Brasil is spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken widely across the Brazilian diaspora, today consisting of about two million Brazilians who have emigrated to other countries. Pronunciation can be one of the trickier aspects of learning Portuguese for beginners, but don’t worry because Rosetta Stone’s patented speech recognition engine, called TruAccent, provides instant confirmation that you’re speaking correctly. It compares your voice to that of native speakers, providing feedback and helping you improve your ability to speak and understand Portuguese.
Learn how to say "Com licença, onde posso encontrar o melhor Acarajé?" from a native Portuguese speaker.
Portuguese Cultural Influence
The Portuguese language is spoken in such disparate lands that it’s no wonder the language has such an unprecedented role in shaping arts and culture. Let’s take a look at the ways the Portuguese language, specifically Português do Brasil, has shaped arts and culture across the world.
1. Portuguese in literature
Portuguese literature originally sprung from the tradition of medieval Galician-Portuguese poetry, originally developed in northern Portugal in the early 12th century. Today, it includes any written works by people living in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and other places where Lusophones reside. You might not find another group that champions poets and poetry today like Portuguese speakers. In fact, one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century, Fernando Pessoa, is argued to be one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. Today, you might be more familiar with Brazilian poet and author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.
2. Portuguese in music and dance
Samba, the musical genre and dance style that originated in Brazil, is world-famous. Although there were various forms of samba in Brazil with popular rhythms originating from drumming, samba as a musical genre has its origins in Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of Brazil
Get a feel for the samba beat and listen to this samba-rhythm-based tune by Gilberto Gil, Chiclete com Banana (Gum with Banana). As you listen, note the instruments mentioned in the lyrics (you’ll hear the names of four types of musical instruments).
The Portuguese Alphabet
The Portuguese alphabet is one of the first things language learners attempt to tackle in their quest to learn to speak and write Portuguese. The Portuguese alphabet is Latin-based and has 26 letters, the same as the English alphabet. One of the trickier parts of learning the alphabet, however, is knowing what the symbols above each letter do to change the sound you make.
Learning Portuguese vowels and accents
Portuguese has 14 vowel sounds. Accents are used to show their pronunciation: á, â, ã, à, ç, é, ê, í, ó, ô, õ, and ú.
These accents also indicate the stressed syllable, for example, café (coffee), você (you, formal), and mãe (mother). Nasal vowels are common and represented by the tilde (~) over the vowels a and o, for example, canção (song), and maçã (apple). Additionally, the cedilha (ç) before -a, -o, and -u sounds the same as “s.”
Learning Portuguese consonants
The letter h is silent in Portuguese. The letters r, s, z and the combinations nh, lh, ch, rr may prove more challenging, for example, rádio (radio), cozinhando (cooking), chaves (keys), mulher (woman), and cachorro (dog).
After practicing the alphabet sounds, we advise language learners to jump right into pronunciations. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® method combines learning vocabulary with real-world situations that build towards a greater contextual understanding of key Portuguese phrases. As with most worthwhile endeavors, there aren’t any real shortcuts, but by combining solo practice in Rosetta Stone’s award-winning mobile app and practicing with 10-minute lessons, you can take control of your progress and accelerate your learning.
Learn to Pronounce Portuguese Words
Rosetta Stone encourages learning foundational concepts first. Each lesson includes practical exercises that get you speaking Portuguese and working on your pronunciation consistently. Because Portuguese is a much more phonetically consistent language than English, Portuguese words almost always sound the way they are spelled. You can use this phonetic knowledge to pronounce words that otherwise might seem overwhelming.
than you ever thought possible. And getting the pronunciation just right is a snap with TruAccent, Rosetta Stone’s patented speech recognition technology. TruAccent listens and instantly compares your accent to native speakers, so you know you’re pronouncing Portuguese words and phrases accurately.
How to Accelerate Learning Portuguese
Portuguese is a language that may take you some time to get the hang of, but once you have a handle on the pronunciation and basic structure, it’s much like any other language. Practice makes perfect.
Learn Portuguese pronunciation with Live Tutoring
It can feel daunting to speak a new language in public. When learning Portuguese, confidence comes from practice. That’s why Rosetta Stone has Live Tutoring sessions with native-speaking tutors to help along the way.
For difficult pronunciations and to help you study in the time that you do have to devote to learning Portuguese, make good use of Live Tutoring. A big part of building confidence is having real conversations, and the best place to do that is in a comfortable environment where you can receive constructive, insightful feedback. Our native-speaking tutors are also fluent in your native language, so there won’t be any communication gaps.
Connect in Portuguese
Between Rosetta Stone practice sessions, you’ll want to immerse yourself in the Portuguese language to gain the confidence you need to connect with other Lusophones. Our Dynamic Immersion® method teaches new words and phrases based on the context in which they’re used, so you’ll be prepared to thrive in real-world conversations that don’t follow a script.
Take it from this Rosetta Stone user, Ursula. After accelerating her learning of Portuguese with Rosetta Stone, Ursula describes the impact on her career. She talks about connecting with Brazilian clients, and finding a common link through language.
Speak and practice Portuguese daily
Everything we do has one very specific goal: to get you speaking confidently. Practice makes perfect when learning some of the less intuitive aspects of speaking Portuguese. We go beyond standard lessons to let you practice whichever way works best for you–whether that’s studying common phrases, reading interesting stories, or talking to our native-speaking tutors. And don’t forget to train your ears. Rosetta Stone includes Audio Companion that lets you take a break from the screen by listening to your lessons.
Your confidence with Portuguese vocabulary, proper pronunciation, and more will grow and eventually become second nature with a daily practice that fits your style. Start today with Rosetta Stone to connect, chat, and practice speaking 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.