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Maybe you're enchanted by the images of carnaval and your dream is to see it in person someday. Or you live in a tourist destination frequently visited by Brazilians and it would help you in your job to be able to speak Portuguese. Whether your interest in the language is for business or pleasure, it's important to know how to go about learning it!
The truth is, not many places offer Portuguese classes (unless you live near a university). It should come as no surprise that the majority of people learning it today are doing so online! From one-on-one tutoring to fun apps you can use on the go, there's no shortage of ways to improve your fluency and get ready to have actual conversations in Portuguese.
Tuesday, August 9th
Heard an ad on the radio for a language-learning platform? It was probably Babbel - though you might have thought it was "babble" or "Babel" . Founded in 2007, the company wants to help you take "the shortest path to real-life conversations" , with most users saying they felt they could carry out a basic interaction with someone after using Babbel for just a few hours.
Try a full-length lesson, free
It took us a long time to find the Babbel demo button (at the bottom of the "About Us" page). As it turns out, it's the same as selecting Portuguese from the dropdown box on the main page and clicking on "Start Learning" . You'll be asked a series of questions, like why you're studying the language, your goals, and how much time you can commit to learning each day. You'll create a free account, and then you can either check out your subscription options, see Babbel's live online class offerings, or go to your dashboard to try a full-length lesson.
What level are you?
In that dashboard, you can take a placement assessment under "Find your learning level" , or you can just jump right in with the Newcomer Course 1, Lesson 1: "Tudo bem?" For what it's worth, the level test is somewhat disappointing: instead of asking you to identify certain words and phrases, respond to questions, or any other objective measurements, Babbel lets you rate your ability to introduce yourself, talk about colors and feelings, and so forth. Where other, more detailed assessments put us solidly at an intermediate level, Babbel said we ranked as a Newcomer and we should start at the beginning with "oi" . On a more positive note, we were able to tweak our answers to get Babbel to let us start with a Beginner 1 - Course 3 sample lesson instead.
Your lesson will start with some basic listen-and-repeat exercises, so make sure you have your microphone enabled (or you choose the no-microphone setting when you enter the lesson). You'll then unscramble the letters to identify those same phrases (clicking on each letter, no way to just type it in), and then eventually you'll start typing things in on your own. There are grammar topics mixed in with each lesson, and every so often you'll get a little cultural note that pops up at the top of the screen.
Review the way you want
After you've used Babbel for a while, you'll be prompted to review what you've learned. We really like that we could choose how to review: flashcards, listening, speaking, or writing. Sometimes, you're just not in the mood to write, or you're in public where speaking isn't an option - having that flexibility means you never have an excuse not to practice (sorry!).
Your price may vary
How much will it cost? That gets tricky. We got one set of prices when we browsed the site initially ($41.85 for 3 months with a promo price of $27.16, $83.70 for 6 months with a promo price of $45.91, and $167.40 for 12 months with a promo price of $75), a different set after we had created the trial account, and then a third price with a seasonal promotion at the top of the page. And that's not even counting the buy-6-months-get-6-months-free invite we got via email shortly after signing up for the free access. Suffice it to say, what you see on Babbel's pricing is probably not what you'll wind up paying if you spend some time interacting with the site. (And if you're a student, healthcare worker, or active/retired military, check out the bottom of the Babbel site for even more discounts!)
20-day refund policy
No matter which payment plan you select, you're covered by a 20-day satisfaction guarantee: a number that seems somewhat random, but okay. It's reassuring to know that if you invest in a long-term learning plan, you've got some time to see if Babbel is going to work for you well into the future.
More than enough to study
Since there are different numbers of lessons at each instructional level, that's a big plus. For instance, it only took us about 20 minutes to work our way through the Beginner 1 - Course 3 lesson Babbel placed us in after our level assessment. That course has a total of 10 lessons, plus two other courses in the Beginner 1 series, for a total of 34. Sound like enough for you? Us too! (Especially since we still had Beginner II, Pre-Intermediate, and Intermediate levels ahead of us.)
No Babbel Live for Portuguese - yet
Unfortunately, at the time of this review, Portuguese was not one of the four languages included in Babbel Live: online, real-time classes with certified teachers. Here's hoping that Portuguese gets added in the future, because the option to have instructional levels from A1-C1 in a maximum class size of 6 students is pretty appealing! They're not cheap - $14.50 to $30 per class session, depending on how many you choose to take in a month - but still less expensive than a university class and with much more personalized attention. (And you get the Babbel app for free when subscribed to Babbel Live!) Maybe someday for Portuguese?
Very happy students
In general, people seem to love using Babbel to learn languages. Over 12,000 people gave it a perfect five-star rating on one third-party site alone, and the majority of the few who complained clearly didn't understand the terms and conditions (like the 20-day satisfaction guarantee or the automatic billing at the end of the subscription period).
Best all-around Portuguese lessons for all levels
Deciding where to learn Portuguese can be tricky. What if you want grammar lessons? Writing exercises? The ability to compare your spoken language with a native speaker's? There are many options that cover some of those things, but Babbel gives you all of that and then some - and with so many fluency levels that you could use this platform for many, many years and not run out of new things to study. It's affordable with or without discounts, and their 20-day money-back guarantee on top of a free demo account should reassure you that there's no risk involved with using Babbel. In a very competitive field, these Portuguese lessons earn our first-place ranking.
Italki offers a unique approach to learning Portuguese. This platform connects you with tutors who will do one-on-one video lessons at your convenience. It's a great way to boost your conversational fluency in the language - something that's very hard to accomplish with most other available types of Portuguese instruction!
Around 700 Portuguese tutors to choose from
There are two types of tutors on italki: Community and Professional. Community tutors are native or advanced speakers of Portuguese who can help you learn through speaking practice or informal lessons, while Professional teachers are certified experts with experience in teaching foreign languages. You can sort through the nearly 700 Portuguese tutors according to their teaching type, or by price, availability, where they're from and/or what other languages they speak.
Getting to know your new tutor
Each tutor has an introduction and welcome video, to give you an idea of their personality and approach to working with students like you. You can also see their calendar availability: it defaults to your time zone automatically, based on your phone or computer's current time. You can also see how many lessons the tutor has already successfully completed; we wish there were a way to sort tutors by that criteria, because some were brand-new and others had thousands of student reviews, but you can only see that as you browse.
Detailed information in each tutor profile
Italki makes it super easy to see plenty of details about any tutor you're interested in. For example, we clicked on the profile of William, a professional teacher with over 4,500 completed lessons and more than 650 students. His intro video was in both English and Portuguese, letting us hear his very carioca accent and get a feel for how comfortable he was in English (it's important to be able to understand your tutor, after all!). His profile showed the different options he offers (e.g. Portuguese group lessons starting at $18/hour, conversation classes for $13.99/hour), how many lessons he taught each month, and detailed reviews from students.
Not just for conversation practice
When choosing your tutor, one important thing to check out is how your selected instructor will be teaching you. Is it just casual conversation each time, or is there some structure? You'll find both approaches here - and you should be able to get an idea of that in each tutor's detailed profile. Going back to our example of William, his teaching materials include homework assignments, flashcards, audio and video files, PDFs and more - so students have things to study outside of the live tutoring sessions when working with him.
To pay for your tutoring, you'll have to buy italki credits, usually in $10 increments ($20, $30, $50, $100). Your tutors will get paid from those credits, and italki also passes along a processing fee when you buy them: see your payment page before completing your purchase, to verify what your processing fees will be (typically around 4%). Most tutors offer a discounted trial lesson for your first time, helping keep your costs down. It's rare to find a Portuguese tutor with hourly pricing above $20/hour; most keep it around $10-$20 (or even less!).
You'll need a good internet connection - and courage!
Is there anyone who shouldn't use italki for Portuguese lessons? Well, if you don't have regular access to a solid internet connection for video calls, this isn't going to be the best service for you! Another consideration is how comfortable you are with learning one-on-one: there's no hiding behind other students, hoping that the teacher won't call on you when you work with an italki tutor. Depending on your personality, you might be more comfortable learning some basic Portuguese through a language app or other platform before using an italki tutor - or maybe you're outgoing and not afraid to make mistakes, and jumping right in with both feet is the perfect fit for you!
Lots of positive comments from students
italki gets plenty of positive feedback: not only can you see thousands of reviews from satisfied students on the site itself, but you'll also see just as many 5-star ratings on sites that independently verify customer satisfaction. It's hard to find anyone who has something bad to say about their experience here, and many people point out that if you're learning Portuguese for travel, italki can give you a leg up on understanding the accent of your destination (because Portuguese in Lisbon is vastly different from how they use it in Rio!).
Best Portuguese lessons for learning to speak like a native
Everyone knows that the best way to learn a language is by living it: immersing yourself in an environment where you have no choice but to try anything you know to get around town, find things you need, and communicate! italki is the next-best option, especially if you don't have a native speaker handy to help you with your Portuguese. These lessons are affordable and convenient, and with the right teacher you could be well on your way to fluency (no expensive airline tickets required). If you're brave enough to start working on your spoken Portuguese from the start, find your perfect tutor through italki. This service is one of our favorites among providers of Portuguese lessons.
Rocket Languages wants to build "a culturally connected world through the power of language" . Their platform has won numerous awards and accolades, along with being featured by Mashable, Daily News, The Guardian and more. Businesses like Pentel and Deloitte have partnered with Rocket to deliver lessons in Spanish, Sign Language, Russian, Hindi, and several other languages. In business since 2004, Rocket Languages offers well-rounded instruction in beginning Brazilian Portuguese.
Free guest account with email address
When you first visit the Rocket Languages site, you can access a free guest account just by entering your email address. Or, if you want to look at their courses and pricing, you can go to that page too. We weren't given that option until we went to navigate away from the Rocket Languages website, though, so don't be surprised if it takes some time before you see those choices.
Just the basics
What will you get for your money? Rocket Portuguese is a fixed content platform: it's not being updated with new lessons, current events, or anything similar. You'll get access to 140 hours of lesson time, spread out over 34 interactive audio lessons and 36 language and culture lessons. It's designed for students at beginner to intermediate levels and should help you reach "a good conversational level" . We're not sure we'd go that far: from what we could see, even in Rocket Portuguese's most difficult module, they never go beyond speaking in the present tense. You'll get lots of help with the basics, like pronunciation, pronouns, numbers, and so forth - but nothing that feels like it goes much beyond beginner level Portuguese.
Solid, well-rounded instruction for beginners
However, if you're brand-new to studying the language or only have a little bit of experience, Rocket Portuguese is actually very useful. In both the Interactive Audio Lessons and the Language and Culture Lessons, you'll have opportunities to hear, read, listen, and speak: that's a win, compared with some lessons that never have you practice all four modalities. Listen to an entire conversation, then speak each role in turn while comparing your accent to the native speaker's. Finally, practice what you learned through flashcards, speaking, and writing exercises, and a quiz. Helpful hint: there's a link that says "Find out how everything works!" right at the top of the Rocket Portuguese Lessons page. It's a tutorial that will walk you through all of those features, step-by-step.
Browse awhile to get a discount offer
At the time of our most recent visit, the Rocket Portuguese course was being offered at a significant discount: 33% off! That put the one-time price at just $99.95 and the 6-month payment plan at $19/month. As we browsed the site, we got a pop-up offering a limited-time offer of 60% off. That's definitely worth spending a little time clicking around the Rocket Languages site, to see if you get a similar discount!
Try it out if you're new to Portuguese
Overall, Rocket Portuguese is a decent option for anyone just starting out in their learning, especially for those who want a one-time cost for materials they can use for as long (or as little) as they like. The speech recognition tool is excellent, and the cultural lessons interspersed through the language instruction make it easier to use Portuguese in context. This service won't have much to offer if you've already got some basic fluency in Portuguese, but it's a good choice for beginners.
Who doesn't know Rosetta Stone? Used by tens of thousands of corporations, organizations, and educational institutions - and many more individual customers too - this company often sets the standard for language lessons.
In the past, students could only use Rosetta Stone via expensive CD-ROMs. Fortunately, the company has moved their Portuguese lessons to an online model (like most other language-learning platforms). Pricing is much more affordable now too: $35.97 for three months, $95.88 for a year, or $299 for a lifetime access plan for all of the Rosetta Stone Languages. Depending on the promotions available, you might be able to get that full, unlimited access for even less: we spotted a deal that made it just $179. Good luck finding that kind of pricing somewhere else! Your purchase is protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.
Definitely use the 3-day free trial first
You can get a free trial for three days: just enter an email address (doesn't even have to be yours, *wink*) and you'll get started. Rosetta Stone will ask you to choose your current level of Portuguese: Beginner, Intermediate, or Proficient. You'll also be asked what your purpose is for learning the language: work, travel, family or "basics and beyond" . That will impact the content you're given to study: for example, when we chose the Proficient setting and "basics and beyond" , our first week's lessons were about correspondence, the second week was careers, and the third was giving and following instructions. When we clicked "leave plan" and selected the Travel path, our first lesson was about time, arrivals, and departures.
Voice recognition set-up
As you set up your Rosetta Stone account, you'll be asked to select your voice type: adult male, adult female, or child. You'll need that for the speech recognition activities that are a hallmark of the language lessons here.
Get ready for full immersion
Prepare yourself for a learning experience that might make you feel a little uncomfortable at first. Rosetta Stone uses immersion-based instruction, so your Day 1, Lesson 1 will give you nothing but Portuguese! Wait, what? I don't speak it yet! That's okay. You'll be given easy-to-understand images, like boy-girl-man-woman and then asked to match the picture to the written and spoken word. Gradually, Rosetta Stone builds up your ability to recognize vocabulary, phrases, and full sentences, and then to produce it yourself: all without lengthy grammar explanations in English. That may be an acquired taste for some students who might be delighted to learn verb conjugations and get detailed, overt information about when to make contractions like dessa and numa.
Little content for more advanced Portuguese students
Rosetta Stone is a good choice for beginning students of Portuguese, but not as ideal if you've already learned it for a while. When we tried out the hardest content levels, we were still identifying colors and saying basic sentences in the present tense only. That's what you'd likely cover at the end of a Portuguese 101 class in college, or maybe the second year at a high school level. Comparing that with other Portuguese lessons that offer strong grammatical instruction ranging from all the verb tenses to complex discussion of current events, Rosetta Stone comes up short for more advanced learners.
Trustworthy, familiar option for learning Portuguese
This company has been around for a long time, and is one of the most recognized names in the language learning industry. We're so glad to see all the changes that Rosetta Stone has made, allowing more students to use their platform to learn Portuguese and many other languages. If you're new to the language (or to learning a new one in general), Rosetta Stone might feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning because of the immersion approach. But, we encourage you to give the three-day trial a chance: you could find it to be the perfect way for you to study Portuguese.
Busuu was founded in 2008 - and, if you're wondering, it's the name of an endangered language in Cameroon, too. In 2015, Busuu partnered with McGraw Hill Education to offer certification testing from core topics in the CEFR levels A1-B2. According to an independent study, using Busuu Premium for 22 hours is the equivalent of a college semester of language learning!
Thorough (if aggravating) placement test
You can get a basic membership with Busuu for free: just enter your name and email address (and uncheck the box if you don't want to receive newsletters and offers). From there, you'll be asked if you're new to learning Portuguese or if you'd like to take a short placement test. Frankly speaking, we found the placement test to be annoying and inaccurate: presented with an image of a female medical professional, we filled in the blank to say she was a "doutora" but it was marked as incorrect because Busuu was looking for the word "medica" (they're both correct). It's also a timed test, and when the functions don't let you drop the words into the corresponding boxes on your first try, you get marked down for taking too long. And, if you miss an accent or misspell a word by one letter, it's wrong. But, all grumbling aside, the test is thorough and placed us at a reasonable level of Portuguese (B1).
Set up your learning plan
Once you're given your level (including starting as a beginner), Busuu asks what your main goal is: communicating with friends and family, learning for fun and culture, helping with your education, feeling like a local when you travel, or developing professionally. Next, select which level of fluency you'd like to achieve, set a schedule for which days of the week and time of day you plan on practicing, and indicate if you'd like to get notifications from Busuu (like study reminders and learning tips). You'll also be asked how many minutes a day you want to study (they recommend at least 10 minutes). Finally, based on what you entered, Busuu will tell you how long it will take you to reach your fluency goal. For us, going from a B1 to B2, practicing for 10 minutes a day every day, it was estimated to take us just under a year to get there.
Watch the pricing and refund period
Pricing is a little confusing here. On the main page, everything was initially listed in Euros and we were told that we could choose from Basic, Premium, and Premium Plus memberships. But, on the page after our study plan was created, we were only offered Premium Plus for $5.74/month or "Limited Access" (the free basic membership). It wasn't until we clicked on the "learn more" button that we were given the middle-tier Premium membership as a choice. Make sure to click on the pricing options of 1 Month, 12 Months, and 24 Months at the top: the rates are discounted if you pay for a year or two in advance. But, keep in mind that the satisfaction guarantee only extends to the first 14 days after purchase: if you pay for an annual plan and decide a month in that it doesn't have enough materials for you, you won't get a refund.
Extra features with paid plans
Is it worth it to pay for a Premium or Premium Plus membership? Maybe. The Premium level is $9.99/month and lets you access your Busuu content in Offline Mode, gives you grammar lessons, and goes over what you've learned through an AI-powered review. At the Premium Plus level, you'll pay $13.99/month and get a personalized study plan, access feedback from the Busuu community of native speakers, and get your level certified with official tests from McGraw Hill.
Plenty of content for free
Do you need all of that? Maybe, maybe not: Busuu gives you a wealth of content for absolutely free, and you can upgrade your plan at any time if you decide you want the higher tier of features. We worked our way through the first B1 lesson, An Eventful Holiday, in about 8 minutes (it was estimated to take 12 minutes). We love and hate that Busuu marks it incorrect if you don't include the right accents; we suggest using it on your desktop if you want to make sure you're learning proper spelling, and on your mobile device (with the Portuguese keyboard/dictionary enabled) if you want it to auto-suggest the right spelling.
Not as many opportunities to speak Portuguese
What's missing? Speaking exercises. If you want those, you'll have to go to the Social tab and select Conversation, then choose to practice with a picture or a video. Under the Social tab (it looks like speech bubbles), you'll also see what kinds of exercises other people have submitted: you can be a kind human and correct other learners' submissions (like short audio clips or text answers), but you might have to get a membership if you want the same kind of feedback on more than just a few sample photos. Even then, you're still at the mercy of the native speakers of Portuguese on the platform: Busuu doesn't use any speech recognition (that we could see) for that kind of work.
Fun to help others with English, too
Full disclosure: we may have gotten drawn into correcting exercises for lots of Portuguese learners of English as we researched this service. You might too. (It's strangely addictive and fun!)
Mixed reviews from students
What do other people think about Busuu? Only about half of the 10,000 reviews we found gave this program a perfect 5-star rating. Over 20% rated it as average, poor, or bad - the vast majority of the complaints were regarding Busuu's automatic renewal; since there's such a limited cancellation policy, if you miss the reminder email telling you that you're about to be billed again, you can't get your money back. Other users criticize the structure of the lessons themselves, citing instruction without much context, a lack of cultural information, and not having enough content in each level.
Not a bad place to start
You'll have plenty of opportunity to decide that for yourself if you start with Busuu's free account. Take as long as you like to work through the Portuguese lessons you choose and see if you like the overall approach Busuu takes to teaching (and maybe have some fun helping English learners with their exercises while you're at it). If you decide to subscribe, might we suggest putting a reminder in your calendar for the week before it renews, so that you can cancel if needed? Because Busuu lets you get over 150 lessons at absolutely no cost, and given that more than 5000 users like this service enough to give it five stars, we recommend it as a good starting point for your Portuguese learning. Boa sorte!
Memrise was founded in 2010 and has more than 60 million users in 189 countries worldwide. One of the biggest appeals of this platform is its use of thousands of video clips of native speakers - recorded right where they live! It's a great way to hear Portuguese how it's currently being spoken on the streets of Sao Paulo or Porto. (Note: at the time of this review, only the Portugal-based Portuguese Memrise courses seemed to have native speaker video clips as part of the lessons.)
Choose between Portugal and Brazil
Unlike many platforms offering Portuguese lessons, Memrise doesn't assume you only want to learn to speak it the way they do in Rio de Janeiro (or Lisbon): you get to choose which one you prefer! That's a plus if you anticipate mostly speaking with people from one place or the other, but might be a drawback if you want to get a good foundation in the way it's used in both places. (Or what if you're planning on using it in Mozambique? Which one should you choose?) Still, it's a good thing overall to be able to learn Portuguese with a specific accent, so that your spoken language doesn't come out sounding like a muddled mess!
Up to 7 levels of Portuguese lessons
Either selection will give you access to 7 levels of Portuguese lessons. You can choose to start from the beginning or with any of the other 6 levels; unfortunately, there's no placement test to help you make that decision accurately. We chose the highest level to try the free features.
Not many grammar lessons or cultural explanations
Memrise places heavy emphasis on words and phrases. Even at the highest level, we were given fairly easy vocabulary and then phrases in which they're used. We liked that there were some colloquial phrases (like "let's get things back on track" ) that we probably wouldn't just pick up on our own. But, if you're looking for detailed grammatical explanations or cultural insights, Memrise doesn't really offer those.
User-created content available too
Memrise's Portuguese content feels a little limited - until you discover the Courses tab. Not only can you access sets of vocabulary created by the Memrise team, but also ones made by users just like you. We're not sure how useful they really are at the end of the day, but it does give you another way to get Portuguese lessons beyond what Memrise itself provides.
Wait for a discount?
You can access Memrise's premium Portuguese lessons for $8.99/month or $90/year. Helpful hint: sometimes Memrise puts their lifetime membership on mega-sale (like around the holidays). It's already pretty affordable at $139.99, but why not save up to 50% if a discount is just around the corner? It's also your best option if you're trying to be a polyglot, because the lifetime membership includes access to every language on the Memrise platform.
More information, please!
What else do you get with a paid subscription? Memrise doesn't really make that obvious. Depending on which Portuguese course you choose, you might get access to those native speaker videos, chatbots for practicing conversation, statistics about how much you've studied, and access to vocabulary exercises to practice what you missed before. You also get more control over which types of exercises you work on (writing, reading, etc.). We'd really like to see Memrise spell out the perks a little more explicitly before we'd fork over the cash to become a member.
Use the free features before subscribing
At the end of the day, Memrise can be a way to start memorizing some useful words and phrases, but it lacks the organization you'll find with many other Portuguese lessons. You've got nothing to lose by working through the free content, but most learners will probably find themselves using a different platform for grammar explanations, culture lessons, and detailed lesson plans.
Do you hate long grammar explanations? Is your ideal way to learn Portuguese through a game-like app or desktop platform? If you said yes to both, take a look at Mondly for your language lessons. Earn points for every lesson, see how you rank on the leaderboards (local and global), and get plenty of motivation to stay on track with your studies!
Not much grammar instruction
Mondly is fairly similar to another Really Well-Known Language App that starts with "D" and ends in "-ingo" : choose among lessons like Colors, Numbers and Food, and you'll get lots of repetition exercises designed to help you master words, phrases and complete sentences. Unlike the competitor we hinted at, Mondly doesn't give you much in the way of explicit grammar instruction. For example, in the Hello lesson series, you're introduced to various conjugations of "ser" - but we didn't see it until the lesson was complete and we clicked on the blue review icon on the lesson dashboard. You're expected to pick up on those things naturally as you work through lots of repetitions - and for the most part, you will!
A little frustrating if you know some Portuguese already
If you already know some Portuguese, you might get a little frustrated with some of Mondly's free-response tools. For example, when we tried out the free Chatbot conversation, the other "speaker" kept saying she couldn't understand or hear us if we replied with an answer that, while correct, wasn't one of the canned responses suggested by the bot. Or, in the very first lesson for beginners, we typed "hi" as the translation for "oi" and were told that it was "almost correct" . (For what it's worth, "oi" is usually translated as "hi" , while "ola" is "hello" . One point for us, minus one for Mondly!)
Standardize your pricing, please!
If you want full access to all of the features Mondly has, you'll need to pay for a membership. You can pay $9.99/month or $47.99/year for lessons just in Portuguese, but a better-value option is the $89.99 one-time payment that gives you lifetime use of every Mondly language. Polyglots (or wanna-bes) rejoice! However, a frustration with Mondly is that you never know exactly which pricing will be in place when you're ready to subscribe. For example, when we started using Mondly, the subscription amounts were what we just explained. A few days later, the lifetime access option completely disappeared and was replaced by an offer of a one-year plan for $47.99. We get that they're trying to find ways to encourage users to subscribe, but a little more consistency would be welcome.
Conversation practice a-plenty
So, what are the features you get if you manage to pin down a price you like on Mondly and subscribe? They're actually pretty cool! How about augmented reality prompts from a "digital person" you can "see" in your own environment? Gimmicky, maybe, but definitely something you're not going to see in any other Portuguese lessons (at least not for a while). It works similarly to their Chatbot feature: practice question-and-response situations based on real-world use of the language, like meeting someone for the first time and getting to know each other, or asking a stranger for directions to the nearest restaurant. You can sample one Chatbot conversation with a free account; we recommend you give it a go and see if it adds to your language learning experience.
No refunds here
That's good advice overall with Mondly: to try out everything you can before choosing to subscribe. Why? They don't offer a refund if you decide you don't like their Portuguese lessons after all. Of course, you don't even have to enter your email address or sign up for an account to access the free resources at Mondly - giving you more than enough opportunity to see what it's all about and decide if it's worth the upgrade to a paid plan.
Decent and affordable option for Portuguese lessons
Long story short: jump in with both feet and give Mondly a try for your Portuguese lessons. Beginners will have plenty to do to get started, and more experienced students can see if the structure of the platform is a good fit - all at no cost. Once you start climbing those leaderboards, though, you might have a hard time resisting that upgrade. Good thing Mondly is affordable, even without a satisfaction guarantee. (You can always get boring grammar lessons somewhere else if you really want them.)
As one of 40 languages offered by Innovative Language Learning, Portuguese Pod 101 gives students of all fluency levels the chance to take their language skills to new heights. You'll have a hard time finding another service that offers as much for free: your lifetime access includes every language in their database, across 4 levels of difficulty that you can set as you like. Content is added every week, keeping your Portuguese flowing with vocabulary matched to current events and even pop culture, and it's all reviewed by certified Portuguese teachers.
Create a free account to see behind the curtain
Portuguese Pod 101 (and all of the "Pod 101" languages) has been on our radar for a long time, and we love how much it has to offer. One thing that hasn't changed - and we wish it would! - is that they don't tell you very much upfront about how their platform works. As you'll see for yourself on their main page, they tell you about their audio and visual lessons, their study tools, and the upgrade options that let you get personalized help from a teacher - but to see how that works in more depth, you'll have to sign up for an account. Granted, that account is free (for life!), but we're really hoping that Innovative Language Learning will eventually let people see more without actually making an account.
Many learning pathways to choose from
So, let's say that you jump in and create that no-cost account. What can you expect next? Don't be surprised if you feel a little overwhelmed. Portuguese Pod 101 offers thousands of "learning pathways" that will show up on your dashboard. You'll set your level of Portuguese (e.g. Beginner, Intermediate, etc.) but you can change that at any time. Setting your level will give you recommended pathways that you can add to your study plan - and those can also be added or removed on demand. What's nice is that you can have more than one language level in your pathways: maybe you're an advanced Portuguese student but there are a few topics in the Upper Intermediate level that need some review. No problem!
Subscribe to get all features unlocked
What does a pathway look like? That depends on the level and the topic. You can usually expect a dialogue of a real-life situation, complete with a transcript in both English and Portuguese, cultural notes, and a vocabulary list. However, those features are only available for free on some lessons (the first three in a series): we felt frustrated as we clicked through various pathways to try out different language levels, only to find that features were locked on some and not on others (we could watch a video about weather vocabulary but not about negative adjectives). It's clear that Portuguese Pod 101 really wants you to subscribe to one of their paid plans!
4 paid plans available
Here's what you'll pay for the three membership levels:
60-day satisfaction guarantee
All of Portuguese Pod 101's paid plans have a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you expect to be studying the language for a long time, it might be a good idea to start with Premium+ on a two-year plan and really work at it for those two months. In that way, you'll know exactly what these Portuguese lessons have to offer and if they're going to help you learn in the way you feel most comfortable - risk-free.
Good option for more traditional language learning
Portuguese Pod 101 is a good choice if you like down-to-earth lessons without all of the games, leaderboards and badges associated with so many language learning platforms today. It's also worth looking into if you want to count on getting help tailored to you: your level, your available study time, and constructive feedback from your own teacher. On the other hand, if you need Portuguese lessons with a well-defined learning path and plenty of bells and whistles to keep you motivated, this service might not be your best fit.
Fluenz was originally created as a way to help English learners of Mandarin to become fluent more easily - mapping the language they were studying onto the one they already knew for quicker acquisition. Fluenz Portuguese works the same way!
Multiple levels and packages
You can access up to 5 levels of Brazilian Portuguese when using Fluenz. You won't have to subscribe, either: your one-time purchase gives you lifetime access to the program you order. If you just want to buy just Level 1 or 2, you'll pay $187. For 1 and 2 together, the cost is $258. There are also packages for getting Levels 1 through 3 or 3 through 5 (if you're starting off with some knowledge of Portuguese). For all five levels of Fluenz Portuguese, the price is $398. When we provided our email address on a pop-up screen, we got a coupon in our inbox that saved us $40.
Broad coverage of beginning to intermediate Portuguese
What's covered in each level? Level 1 helps you master basic Portuguese and use the language in essential travel situations like eating out, talking with taxi drivers, and getting directions. Level 2 expands your grammatical knowledge and teaches you the Portuguese needed for making plans with friends, expressing likes and dislikes, and going to the pharmacy, among other topics. Levels 3, 4 and 5 take you to a more advanced level of fluency; by the end, you will be capable of carrying on in-depth conversations about the internet and social media, telling stories in the past tense, and many other subjects, all with more advanced grammatical constructions.
Use English to understand Portuguese
We love everything that Fluenz has to say about their approach to teaching Portuguese specifically from the perspective of an English-language learner. Unlike some programs that use a cut-and-paste, often immersion-based strategy for teaching several languages, Fluenz built its lessons specifically to showcase the uniqueness of Portuguese: from the vocabulary to the background of your lesson calendar, you'll be laser-focused on Portuguese itself. And, because you're already fluent in English, you'll have no trouble following the way Fluenz maps your learning of a new language onto the one you speak without even thinking about it. Fluenz explains Portuguese directly, instead of making you guess at an answer and still not understand why it's correct (or wrong). That's a big advantage for anyone that's tried a different Big Name Foreign Language Program and been aggravated by having to learn through immersion the whole time.
No way to preview the lessons
However, other than a few images showing screens from the Fluenz Portuguese app, the platform doesn't show you how it goes about teaching the language. There's no free trial, no sample lessons, nothing. True, there's a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you get a refund if you buy it and don't wind up liking it, but we'd still prefer to see some sort of preview that lets prospective students give it a test run before committing to buying Fluenz Portuguese.
Maybe not so advanced after all?
That's probably more important for the higher levels of Fluenz Portuguese: even though they're described as being "advanced" , most students report that it delivers more of an intermediate tier of fluency. Where many Portuguese lessons use advanced content to teach subjunctive and conditional, Fluenz Portuguese stalls out with basic preterite and imperfect. (And don't worry if you have no idea what that means, especially if you're just beginning to learn Portuguese!)
Not the best, not the worst
Overall, Fluenz is a good option for taking Portuguese lessons - and definitely one to consider if you want solid English explanations of the grammar and vocabulary, with no immersion-style guesswork. The 30-day refund policy makes it risk-free to give this platform a try, but the lack of a sample lesson or free trial stops Fluenz from rising higher among the available choices for Portuguese language instruction.
Living Languages is no newcomer to online language lessons. As part of the Penguin Random House brand, it's been around for more than seven decades. You might think that kind of expertise would lead to an excellent Portuguese learning platform, but unfortunately Living Languages fails to measure up to their rivals.
Lessons for beginner to intermediate students
Living Languages makes Portuguese lessons available for "beginner to advanced" levels, but the list of topics covered seems to stay in the basic-to-intermediate category. These include greeting others and introductions, asking questions, expressing likes and dislikes, and conjugating verbs in past/present/future tenses. You can choose the membership term that you think you'll need to cover all of the content, with plans starting at $39 for one month and going up to $150 for one year.
Portuguese for travel or business available separately
There's also a Passport Course available: just enough Portuguese to help you "get by in almost any travel situation" . You can get 3 months of access for one person priced at $50, or learn with a friend for $75. Similarly, Living Languages' Business Course in Portuguese focuses on more than 1000 phrases useful in business situations, as well as work-specific cultural notes to help you understand and communicate better. This is priced at $60 for three months of access.
Better try the free lessons first
If you're considering Living Languages for your Portuguese lessons, we strongly recommend that you try the free lessons on their site. They're all in the category of Essential Expressions, and you can click through some of their grammar explanations and learning activities to see how this service works.
What decade is this?
Compared with other platforms, Living Languages' structure probably won't blow you away. There's no mobile app that we could find, the graphics on the games are distinctly late 90s/early 2000s, and we didn't really come away feeling like we were learning much. Also, there are no speaking activities: most Portuguese lessons today have some way of comparing your speech against that of a native speaker, but there's none of that here.
Fewer features now, not more
Living Language also used to offer e-Tutoring options as part of their highest tier of packages. However, that feature hasn't been available since 2018: it was dropped along with their iOS app too.
No refunds for any reason
The final straw for us is the lack of a refund policy. Once you've paid for access to Living Languages, whether that's a one-month payment or for a full year, there's no satisfaction guarantee.
Worst choice for Portuguese lessons
We have a hard time finding any reason to use Living Languages for learning Portuguese. Even free services available today offer much more interactive platforms than what you'll find here, and you'll definitely get more for your money with other Portuguese lessons. We encourage you to consider the higher-ranked language lessons in our review.
Which Portuguese lessons are right for you? The first consideration is your current level of knowledge. Some providers are best-suited to beginners because they don't offer much beyond the basics of "Oi, tudo bem?" and "Eu gosto de comer frango" . You'll want to select a language service that has the right level and quantity of content for as long as you expect to study Portuguese.
Another important factor is how you prefer to learn. Some students want their lessons to be as game-like as possible, with lots of points, badges, and leaderboards. Others feel more comfortable with a traditional, straightforward approach: detailed grammatical lessons (preferably in English first!), lots of repetition, and no competition with other students. There are Portuguese lessons that suit both of those learning styles - and a few that even combine them!
Once you've identified a few good choices for your language learning, here are some criteria you can use to help make your final selection:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best options for taking Portuguese lessons. We're confident that this information will help you choose the right learning platform to get you falando portugues in no time!
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