Off topic: Any advice for learning Portuguese in Brazil?
Thread poster: Paul Adie

Paul Adie  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 10, 2012

Dear ProZians,

I'm looking for something interesting to do in the summer, and was thinking about going to Brazil for a month (August) to try learning Portuguese. Rio de Janeiro instantly pops into my head, but perhaps you have other suggestions. I'd prefer to go to a course organised by a university, but if you know of a good language school, I'm open to suggestions.

I've never studied Portuguese, but I do know other Romance languages: Spanish, Catalan and some knowledge of French.

Well, I look forward to reading your comments.

Happy translating!


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Alilis López  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Portuguese courses in Río Feb 10, 2012

Dear Paul,

Take a look in this site:

PUC university is a recognized institution in Brazil. Portuguese courses here are price-moderate, highly rated and recommended.

Besides that, there are tones of languages academies such as:
I worked here a long time ago and they offered intensive courses by that time.

You might plan your budget properly, Río is a marvelous, beautiful, unforgettable city but it is quite expensive.

Hope this helps,
Good luck,


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends... Feb 11, 2012

... on what level of Portuguese you'd like to learn.

If you intend to add it to your list of languages served, all right, take the conventional way, lesson one being equivalent to the proverbial the book is on the table, and get ready for years of study, after which you might be writing in good Portuguese.

If you want to acquire quick fluency, look for a total immersion course. This was some 30 years ago, but an engineer came here from India, was locked up in Berlitz for two weeks, 10 class hours per day except the weekend, and came out of it speaking PT quite fluently.

As you speak Spanish and Catalan, you could try the informal approach to simply "cross the bridge". Between now and your departure, take every chance you have to watch Brazlian videos on YouTube, maybe Globo TV and others too, and try to understand more and more, thus tuning your ear to the sound of it.

The reason why we Brazilians understand Spanish with more ease than the other way around is because PT has most of the sounds used in ES, while some sounds used in PT do not exist in ES. The main ones are our sound of "Z" (identical to English), the tilde on A and O, and the "LH" (= LI with the "I" shortened to a minimum).

To illustrate this "sound existence" issue, a Japanese language teacher told me he wouldn't be able to repeat a phrase in Korean, simply because he doesn't ´have' those sounds.

Anyway, this last option should enable you to communicate in Portuñol (or Portunhol for us - our ´nh' corresponds to the ES 'ñ'), which is an informal common ground between ES and PT.

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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Regional Differences Feb 11, 2012

Rio de Janeiro is definitely the most beautiful city in the world. A Google search unearthed a school called Bridge Brasil which sounds interesting with good student references - its site ( can give you an instant quote if you answer some basic questions such as length of course, intended lodgings etc. However, be prepared for a shock as regarding prices.

Bear in mind that there are regional differences in Brazil. I personally think the best Portuguese (in terms of grammatical correctness) is spoken in the South of Brazil (the largest cities in this area are Curitiba and Porto Alegre) - this is the only region that uses the second person, as in "O que tu queres?" (What do you want, or literally "What dost thou want?") while the rest of the country would go with "O que você quer?" The Portuguese in Rio has cases where the S is pronounced SH as in Portugal, and the R can in some cases be guttural like the German iCH [here represented as HHH], so:
"I'm going to catch the bus" would be
"Vou pegar o ônibus" /VOH pear-GAH oo ore-knee-BOOSS/ in most of the country and
"Vou apanhar o ônibus" /VOH a-pan-yaHHH oo ore-knee-BOOSH/ in Rio. (the S as SH is also present in Santa Catarina, in the South, due to Azorian influence).
São Paulo Portuguese is more phonetic in pronunciation and does not use the second person which at least makes the language easier to learn. In the countryside, however, the R is strongly pronounced. For example, "porta" (door) would be /POHR-ta/ in SP, /POHHH-ta/ in Rio and /PORRRRRR-ta/ in upstate São Paulo.

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Yonathan Gormezano
Local time: 17:51
French to English
+ ...
Listen to a lot of audio Feb 14, 2012

One good way of learning a language, when you already has the basics is to listen to a lot of radio on the Internet. It is best to listen to podcasts, so that difficult parts can be replayed. (Brazilian) Portuguese has the advantage that you spell words more or less as you hear them. So, if you hear an unfamiliar word, you can always try to look it up in a dictionary.

Listening rather than watching has the advantage that you can download programmes onto your MP-3 and listen to them when you are travelling or doing household chores.

The Brazilian radio stations which I like, that have good, intelligent talk-programming are Radio Gaucha (from the south of Brazil) and CBN (a news-oriented station which transmits from various Brazilian cities) Both of these stations have a varied selection of podcasts.

You might also try a free on-line language course via podcasts at

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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Portuguese in Curitiba Feb 14, 2012

Further to my previous answer, you can study Portuguese in Curitiba at:

It is located on Dr Faivre street in downtown Curitiba, a stone's throw from the Passeio Público and close to XV de Novembro Street (Rua das Flores). The local bus and train station (with connecting bus to the airport) is also close by.

If you do go to Curitiba, two things you must do are:

1. Take the train down to Morretes (3 hours), have the local dish "barreado" and then take the train back to Curitiba (or minivan or regular bus - Viação Graciosa). Possibility of taking a van to the local beaches then back to Curitiba. Spectacular scenery. Allow 1 day.

2. Have a spaghetti assortment (Rodízio de Massas) at Madalosso in the Santa Felicidade District. For a fixed fee, you can stuff yourself with pasta until you burst. Allow some room for the fabulous desserts. It is on the route of the Tourist Bus. Allow 2 hours for trip there plus meal, and also any sleeping time you may require afterwards! This is the biggest restaurant in the Americas and can seat almost 5,000 people at any one time.

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Portuguese course in Rio Apr 15, 2013

Dear Paul,

If you plan to learn Portuguese one month in Brazil, my advice is to go to an private language school. Because, courses at university doesn't offers flexible starting date. so you will have to planned your travel according to there schedule...

Best university in Rio are PUC (Private, Expensive, with a good location in the zona sul of the city), and UFRJ (Public, Cheep, but badly located).

Otherwise, I recommend you to take your course at Carioca Languages ( The school is situated in Copacabana, offering intensive group courses of all levels, private lessons, conversation classes and CELPE-Bras exam preparation.

You can get more information Portuguese course and rio de janeiro :

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Stefan Blommaert  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:51
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Salvador Apr 15, 2013

It may sound a bit contradictory, but I personally know that the Goethe Institut in Salvador offers very good Portuguese classes. There is an intake test to determine your level and they have a lot of starting dates. Have a look at

I have a friend who took a course there and stayed with a host family, which was a very positive experience.

Good luck learning this beautiful language!

PS: Trust yourself and do not always hesitate if you think that you hear "wrong things" when trying to communicate with the locals. Very often you DO hear people speaking not so perfect PT.

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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

Member (Sep 2017)
English to Italian
+ ...
Brazilian Portuguese learning Nov 23, 2015

I still think the best way is to get a private teacher. Than you could have a different one in each town you visit.That would enrich your learning experience. Plus I really think you should take 3 hours of class a week at most, unless you have urgency to learn. So you would have more free time to practice the language outside while you enjoy speaking to natives. Many of my students say that they would have preferred having more free time during their stays, rather than being locked into a classroom. Think smart! Best regards.

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Chris Forrest
Tutor In Porto Alegre Mar 2, 2016

Hi my name is Christopher and I am in a similar situation as the guy who made the post. I would love to learn Portuguese for a few months. Do you know any tutor in Porto Alegre that has an affordable rate?

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Local time: 16:51
portuguese at university of Porto Algegre Mar 4, 2016

I found this course at the university of Porto Algegre:

Porto Alegre is brilliant btw!

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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:51
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Comics Mar 4, 2016

I don't want to mingle in the conversation about where in Brasil you should learn the language, but reading comics can be a good start to get into the words. Back then I learned a lot Portugees by reading Donald Ducks (Pato Donald), easy language, and illustrated. An English friend of mine learned Dutch that way (low level of course).

I also used the same method (next to a learning book) with succes for Bahasa Indonesia.

[Edited at 2016-03-04 12:38 GMT]

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