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Are you learning Portuguese, and you want to find the best free online Portuguese language lessons?
You’ve come to the right place!
I’ve searched far and wide to find a variety of quality, fun, and free resources to boost your Portuguese skills.
Learning European Portuguese? Overwhelmed by the number of Brazilian Portuguese resources out there? I didn’t forget you. I’ve collected free resources for both dialects.
Whichever dialect you’re studying, don’t be afraid to try out other dialects. It’s always OK to experiment with different accents.
So let’s get to it! Here are the best free Portuguese learning materials for all levels:
Portuguese Language Lessons for Beginners
A lot of beginners think you need to learn vocabulary and grammar before you start speaking Portuguese, and listening to other people speak Portuguese.
In my view, it’s actually better to speak and listen to Portuguese from the first day you start learning.
I recommend that you use self-study methods like flash cards and structured audio lessons to build your vocabulary, plus kids’ TV shows to get exposure to natural spoken Portuguese. I’d also recommend that you practise talking to native Portuguese speakers!
Try the following resources whether you’re just starting out, or have reached an advanced level.
Beginner Resources for European Portuguese
- Memrise is one of my first stops when I’m just starting out in a language. It has tons of free courses for European Portuguese (and Brazilian, too). It’s a great way to get introduced to common phrases and vocabulary in the language.
- RTP Zigzag. RTP is Portugal’s public broadcasting network, and Zigzag is its section devoted to kids’ videos. Most are educational, covering geography, history, and general fun facts. Each video is short enough to watch in a few minutes during a coffee break.
- italki is where you find native Portuguese speakers to talk with, and it is a must, right from the first day you start learning Portuguese. It’s NEVER too early to start talking with native Portuguese speakers. When I say you should speak from day one, I mean that literally. So get onto italki and find some Portuguese speakers to chat with. They can be language exchange partners, community tutors or professional teachers. Professional lessons cost money but the prices are very reasonable. Finding a conversation exchange partner is free. You can search for Portuguese speakers based on home country, so search for people from Portugal to practise your European Portuguese.
- Learn Portuguese with Rafa. Rafa’s website is focused on European Portuguese for beginners, but it also explains some key differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese. Here, you’ll find detailed info on nearly every feature of European Portuguese grammar, including verb moods, conjunctions, general everyday phrases and even swear words.
Beginner Resources for Brazilian Portuguese
- PortuguesePod101. I recommend Innovative Language’s courses to all language learners, and PortuguesePod101 is one of the best places to start your Brazilian Portuguese journey. It has lessons for absolute beginners right through to advanced learners. Each episode comes with a PDF summary of the dialogue for you to follow along with while you listen. A second PDF with complete lesson notes is available to premium members. You can access many of the lessons with a free account, but you do need a paid membership to access every lesson.
- BrazilianPodClass. For extra structure in your lessons, try out this in-depth podcast that covers all of the major grammar points and tons of vocabulary in Portuguese. It’s not one of those repeat-after-me audio learning methods, but it shows you how to use what you learn in each lesson to make new phrases in Portuguese.
- Semantica is a video course formatted like a TV show. Each episode contains one scene of a story. You’ll keep coming back to learn more because you want to know what happens next in the story.
- Duolingo is an alternative to flash cards for building your Portuguese vocabulary and learning grammar. It’s perfect for beginners, and is completely free.
- italki. I already mentioned italki for European Portuguese, but of course, it’s just as important to speak with native speakers if you’re learning Brazilian Portuguese. It’s not always easy to get on Skype and chat with a native speaker when you’re new to a language, but you can bet you’ll learn a lot more this way than you ever will from self-study.
Intermediate Portuguese Podcasts, Videos and Other Resources
These intermediate Portuguese learning resources (including podcasts and videos) will take your Portuguese skills beyond the basics. I made sure to choose material that’s designed to be engaging. You’re more likely to study when you find learning fun.
When listening to spoken Portuguese with the resources below, don’t be discouraged if you don’t understand everything you hear. The more you listen, the better you’ll get at picking out the words you know. You’ll also get pretty good at catching the gist of a story without knowing every single word.
Podcasts, Videos and Other Resources to Learn Intermediate European Portuguese
- Practice Portuguese is geared toward Portuguese learners who have an intermediate level of reading comprehension, but still have trouble with listening comprehension. The speaker’s voice is slow and clear, which is perfect for listeners who are still getting used to spoken Portuguese. Also, if you’ve been studying Brazilian Portuguese and want to get an introduction to the European dialect, this is a great place to start.
- Portuguêses no Mundo. This captivating free podcast is about a topic that many language learners love: world travel. In each episode, the host interviews a Portuguese person who’s living in another country. Hear their stories about what it’s like to move away from Portugal and start a new life overseas, from Japan to Oman to Angola and beyond. This podcast is useful for Portuguese learners because each episode follows the same structure. The host asks the same questions to each guest (“Why did you move to that country?”, “What surprised you the most about living there?”, “What do you miss most about Portugal?”, etc.). However, the responses of the guests are very diverse, keeping this podcast fascinating.
- Visiokids: Ciência para Crianças (Science for Kids). Learn fun science facts from this interesting children’s program while practising your Portuguese listening comprehension.
- Camões Instituto da Cooperação e da Lingua Portugal. Funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, this website is an incredible treasure trove of material for learning all facets of the language. Under “A Ler” (“reading”) there’s an assortment of books including story books (with accompanying audio!), mini biographies (with accompanying quizzes!) and a reference guide for everyday situations. Check out “A Falar” (“speaking”) for videos about spoken Portuguese, “A Ouvir” (“listening”) for a variety of audio exercises, and “A Brincar” (“playing”) for some games. The site is entirely in Portuguese, but some sections contain translations into English and French. Some of the links may seem broken, but don’t worry, the pages are still there. Do a Google search for the section you’re looking for and it should be the first hit, and will take you to the right page.
Podcasts, Videos and Other Resources to Learn Intermediate Brazilian Portuguese
- NHK World Radio Japão – When you’re still ramping up your Portuguese listening comprehension, it’s a good idea to listen to native speakers who are talking clearly at full speed. News programmes are really useful for this. NHK World News broadcasts a daily news program from Tokyo in dozens of languages, including Brazilian Portuguese. Get your morning news digest from this programme, then go online and read the news in your native language and check how well you understood the stories.
- Cinem(ação). Everyone likes watching films, right? Cinem(ação) is one of the most popular film-related podcasts in Brazil. It airs weekly, with lively and funny hosts chatting about one or more films released that week.
- Recontando. This fun Brazilian news site was made especially for children. The news stories are simplified in terms of language (it uses vocab that kids know) and content (it avoids concepts that kids are too young to understand). There are even videos of child news reporters interviewing Brazilian celebrities! Unfortunately the content has not been kept up-to-date, but there’s enough material on there that you won’t run out of stories to read and videos to watch for a long time.
Advanced Portuguese Language Lessons
Once you’ve reached an advanced stage of learning Portuguese, you’re ready to start engaging with the same media that native speakers use. You’re also able to find resources yourself, and I recommend finding those you like.
Here are a couple of my favourites to get you started.
Advanced European Portuguese
- Conta-me Tudo (Tell Me Everything). This podcast is dedicated to amazing, funny and incredible stories. Each episode features a different speaker telling his or her fascinating tale to an audience. Topics are varied and include narrow escapes from death, odd ways to begin a career, and a terrible idea for a birthday present. The speakers all speak quickly, so the stories are perfect for advanced learners.
Advanced Brazilian Portuguese
- CBTV Canal Brasil for iOS, Android and Roku is a completely free, live TV channel geared toward Brazilians living in the United States. It broadcasts from Florida and includes news, sports, history, health, and even pets! Because it’s intended for native Brasileiros, the content is pretty advanced.
Over to You
What are your favourite free online Portuguese courses and resources? Let me know in the comments.
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.