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Monday, November 29th
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.
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.
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:
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