European Portuguese - List of Study Materials
Hello, everyone! Olá a todos!
Considering the recent number of requests for European Portuguese materials, I've decided to follow Vitor.lu's suggestion of creating this page, which is supposed to be a compilation of all the relevant study materials available here at Duolingo and the web for European Portuguese students. I'll keep adding new information, but if you know about an interesting website or link that is still not a part of this page, feel free to message me or to leave a message in the comments and I'll add it as soon as I possibly can.
Just to stress a point made several times before by Danmoller and me: regardless of your personal preferences and goals that are leaning you towards EP-learning, try seeing Duolingo's Brazilian Portuguese framework as an opportunity to learn from both cultures (something that sadly many people on either side of the Atlantic aren't all that willing to do). Choosing to speak EP shouldn't stop you from getting to know more about Brazil's rich history and culture - if the dream on which Duolingo was created meant to create a free software that would allow people a fun, safe and easy way of learning a language to communicate with others, let's make sure we - all Portuguese speakers and learners, regardless of nationality and dialect - don't create more barriers to communication. We are a single Lusosphere, and it's only by building bridges that we'll be able to fulfill our personal and collective potencial.
FAQ: How can you adjust your Duolingo learning experience to EP?
- 1) Turn off your microphone, speakers and voice autoplay in the settings. If you'd like you can substitute the silence with Portuguese music if you like;
- 2) Make sure you read the sentence discussions to check if anyone has made remarks about a certain sentence's applicability to EP, and feel free to ask questions yourself;
- 3) If you're sure your sentence was wrongly red-marked by Duo, make sure you report your answers as being corrected using the "Report a problem" function - that will helps you keeping adjust the course to you, the EP speaker.
- 4) Reach an EP speaker like me and kindly ask them about any doubts or questions you may have (within reason, of course - if you send someone ten messages a day, they'll probably feel swamped and won't be able to answer/won't feel like answering them all).
- Ba Ba Dum is a free website with EP flashcards only - gamification to its most colorful and visually appealing extreme; make sure you read and speak the words as you go along - one of its flaws is that the Portuguese definite articles only appear in text (they're not sounded by the voice), which might be a deterrent to sound-based learners if you're not careful;
- Memrise, a flashcard website that can be a good complement to Ba Ba Dum;
- Anki, a DIY flashcard software; even though you have to create your own flashcards from scratch, its "spaced repetition" model provides you with better control over the words you know and allows you to focus on those you don't (or which you tend to forget more quickly).
- IVONA has two EP speaking voices, which you can find under the Portuguese flag; I've proofchecked them and they seem more reliable than our Duo voice, but they still make mistakes here and there; in any case, I don't advise to you become overtly reliant on any text-to-speech software to become fluent - use the Cultural Immersion links I've pasted at the bottom of this page to get a grip of the spoken language.
Other language-learning apps/websites
- Bliu Bliu, whose model is giving students short texts to read and where you'll be asked to grade words based on your difficulty understanding them; although it's a paid website, it has many free functions (the limitations being mainly time-based, i.e., you'll be unable to use the website for a while if you don't pay, but apparently the timeframes are never too wide); you can choose between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese.
- Lingua.ly, a website that also gives you texts with words, but asks you to mark words you already know. Those words become flashcards which you can later use in games and other activities; if you add a browser add-in, you can "pick-up" words for your vault from any Portuguese-language website.
- Conjuguemos, a website focused on verb-specific exercises (mainly verb form drills). Luckily for EP speakers, it seems to follow the EP standard spelling (which differs more noticeably from BP in the 1st person plural of the preterite - we add accents to many verb form to differenciate them in terms of pronunciation from the present; for example, nós andámos vs. nós andamos). Have a go and let us know if you enjoy this different way of learning!
Material from Instituto Camões, the official Portuguese language institute
- Aprender a Brincar; this link allows you to play games that can help you learn the language (search for games that say "nível inicial"/elementary level in their blurbs);
- Cibercurso de Língua Portuguesa. Exercise sheets from a EP language cybercourse divided by linguistical area (Grammar, Vocabulary and Writing) and language level.
Films/Movies and TV Series (including animated)
- List of links on Youtube made by me
- Project Gutenberg's list of books available in Portuguese (EP and BP) - since the books are in the public domain, that also means they are at least seventy years old (most of them are from the 18th and 19th centuries) and the spelling rules which they use may differ considerably from the ones we have today. A few suggestions (use Ctrl+F to search for the bolded surnames): Almeida Garrett, Luís de Camões, Camilo Castelo Branco, Júlio Dinis, Florbela Espanca, Alexandre Herculano, Almada Negreiros, Teixeira de Pascoais (Pascoaes), Fernando Pessoa, Eça de Queirós, Antero de Quental.
Portuguese Poetry Links: ; ; ;  (when you open this link, you'll be greeted by a spoken poem by and from José Carlos Ary dos Santos, a poet who wrote some of the most brutal indictments of our dictatorship and whose music is still associated with our Carnation Revolution - you can find several clips of him reading his poems online, they're quite passionate and intense).
Portuguese Bookshop, a UK-based online bookstore that ships worldwide.
- Practice Portuguese, a free EP language learning podcast.
- Expresso, weekly newspaper of reference; the site is updated multiple times a day like a normal news website.
- Público, daily newspaper of reference - works as a subscription-only newspaper after you've exceeded your monthly article limit, but you can bypass it by accessing the website in Private mode.
- If you live next to a Portuguese language community, they probably have their own newspaper (like O Século in Johannesburg - thanks for the tip, Mark/Lahure!) - make sure you find if it has an online version so that you can have some topics of conversation with them (lousy, corrupt politicians, the dreadful state of economy and soccer/association football are eternally trendy)!
I'm no longer affiliated with Duolingo, but you can still follow me and learn some European Portuguese by following my blog, The EP Experience; I hope to see you there!
Nothing against the Brazilian Portuguese, but of course, for many different reasons, a lot of people might prefer European Portuguese. They might be planning to travel to Portugual, or even work there.
And I think this initiative is a very good step to help those people.
I don't believe much in that story of "right Portuguese", but it surely might be the right "choice" depending on one's "purposes". There is no such thing as "right language", languages keep evolving all the time. Two hundred years ago, even the European Portuguese was a very different language. And it will keep changing, as one cannot hinder the urge people have to adapt and express themselves in new ways.
So, for all those who have reasons to pick European instead of Brazilian, they will surely thank you.
But I shall add here that learning Brazilian Portuguese will not be useless, in fact it is a very good idea too. Most language rules are exactly the same, specially the formal rules. And since fluency can only be attained with lots of immersion, Duolingo will surely accomplish it's purpose. You will have all the base you need to understand any of the two Portuguese. And then immersion will take care to make you strengthen the most common European way of talking.
All that just for saying: nice learning everyone!!!!
Do you have any doubts between which one to choose?
Consider your traveling plans. Brazil is such a huge country, you can spend months in it and still don't see half of it. It's also an important economy in the world with a good participation in world trade. Of course, it's all up to you. Again, there is no "right Portuguese", there is the Portuguese that best suits your purposes.
I agree 100% - I've added a paragraph to highlight this issue which I feel is very important for the community as a whole.
Take my word for it, this website is great. The podcast themselves require you to be on A2 or B1 level I would say and the premium version is pretty cheap, the only downside is that it takes a while to get new episodes. What I do is listen to the podcast over and over again on my daily travels and then when I'm home I use the premium stuff to look into it more
Great work Luís! I suggested this because there's constantly people asking for these resources. But like I always say Duolingo is the perfect introduction to the language (and it's just one language!), once the Duolingo tree is completed you can try to improve your Portuguese focusing on one of its varieties if you have a motivation concerning a specific country (your partner's country, you may move there, you like to spend holidays there etc), but always having in mind that Portuguese will be useful on both sides of the Atlantic and even by some other oceans.
Bom estudo pessoal!
You're welcome, Peter! I'm glad to hear it's helpful to you somehow. I've also used conjuguemos in that past and I think it's a very fun, energetic way of verb-specific training (especially in the preterite, since it correctly - for EP speakers, anyway - points out the cases where use open the vowels in the 1st person plural - viajámos, andámos, ficámos) :) I'll add it to our list too!
Obrigada! And listening to Fado is also great - you can get the words of many of them on the web. I'm trying to learn "Gaivota", heard it by the "Estrada Fado Group" we have here, beautiful!
Thanks a million for that info, Luis_Domingos! I need to learn European Portuguese, and beyond a very elementary level, Duolingo is not useful for that - it encourages too many non-European habits and usages. How difficult would it be for Duolingo to offer separate courses in Brazilian and European Portuguese?
Muito, muito obrigado, Luis. Heel veel dank voor Uw uitstekende werk, het helpt mij om met nog meer plezier Portugees te oefenen
This is fantastic; thank-you. A couple of these I knew about; others were new to me and will be very useful. Particularly the YouTube links.
Do you really think it's better to turn off the sound in Duolingo? Is it worse to learn Brazilian Portuguese sounds than to pronounce the Portuguese with English sounds as I'd otherwise be inclined to do? I was rather hoping that Duolingo would give me an approximate guide and that I'd be able to then pick up the Portuguese sounds by listening to audio resources. (Which I've not done enough of - one of the 'downsides' of Duo is that it's so easy to get into that it tends to crowd out other methods!)
Would you (or anyone) be able to recommend any modern Portuguese authors who are entertaining and whose language is not too difficult? It's difficult to search on language on amazon etc as it doesn't differentiate between Brazilian and European Portuguese, and I'd prefer to read something that comes out of Portugal to get a better understanding of the culture (nothing against Brazilian Portuguese, and I find the cultural tidbits in the lessons fascinating, but I live in Europe and am learning so that I have a better understanding of Portugal when I visit).
I think it's hard to pick up the patterns of the language following the sometimes sloppy pronunciation of our Portuguese voice, and phonetics really is where the major differences lie; plus, most English variants are tone-based (which means you give different emphasis to different syllables in a given word) and that's an asset when learning EP (which is also tone-influent) vs. BP (which is a cadence-based tongue like French).
In any case, I'd advise you to just immerse yourself in the language directly; I've learned more about Dutch phonetics by watching (or simply just listening to) Miffy than through the Dutch voice (which is a tad better than the Portuguese, I must say).
Regarding books, it may depend on what kind of novels you're interested in. I'm obliged to recommend José Saramago, our only Nobel Literature Prize winner, but only when you really master the language; Saramago has a very particular style - almost no punctuation and very long sentences - so it's not perfect for an novice student.
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen wrote a series of small short stories and children's tales which are quite popular - since they're in the realm of the fairy tale, they're not specifically Portuguese, but they're beautifully written and they're not very long, which is always better for students.
We also have a series of children's/YA novels called "Uma Aventura" (Editorial Caminho) - example - which is like the Portuguese "The Famous Five" except the kids are older and their adventures are a tad more dangerous (with criminals and mysterious happenings), but the two writers in charge of the project make sure they highlight different places of the country (with some adventures overseas).
A few books of that collection that showcase different regions/historical settings: - Uma Aventura no Ribatejo - Uma Aventura no Algarve - Uma Aventura no Porto - Uma Aventura em Lisboa - Uma Aventura no Palácio da Pena - Uma Aventura nos Açores - Uma Aventura na Serra da Estrela - Uma Aventura na Quinta das Lágrimas
If you can read those, you're probably ready to tackle heavier stuff, but start with children's novels or translations of books you know well and with which you can sort of fill in the gaps as you go along and then move into heavier, headier stuff. Meanwhile, just try listening to Portuguese as much as you can.
I was such a great fan of "Uma Aventura", never thought about it as a recommendation for Portuguese learners, but I can definitely see it working. The books are quite smart, but the language is accessible, and there's always some action/mystery and some interesting information about the place where the action goes on. I'm reading something similar in German to practice, but suddenly I miss these books, they were awesome.
I should take a look to the ones published after my 16's, maybe 18's to be honest, to see if there's something that convinces me to buy one again.
Thank-you so much for the fulsome response! Looks like 'Uma Aventura' is available through Amazon UK in e-book form at a reasonable price, so I'll definitely have a go at one of those. There seem to be some related YouTube videos too - I''m guessing it was adapted for TV?
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen's stories look like they'll be harder to track down, but while looking I found this site with some of her poetry, which may be of interest to others: http://poesiaseprosas.no.sapo.pt/sophia_m_b_andresen/poetas_sophiambandresen01.htm
And thanks for the advice about listening. I'll take that as an excuse to avoid the tortuous listening exercises on Duo, and an extra incentive to check out other audio sources.
Thanks again! :)
Edit: Just found this site, which might be helpful for other UK-based learners looking to buy Portuguese books: http://www.portuguesebookshop.co.uk
"Uma Aventura" was crazy popular when I was a teen (90's), I remember they sold in numbers completely exceptional for the Portuguese market at the time. I guess these days they're less of a phenomenon since there's more competition, Harry Potter, internet etc..
This is their official website: http://www.uma-aventura.pt/ I heard there were TV adaptations, but those are probably too teen-orientated. Reading the book seems a more interesting challenge for a Portuguese learner I imagine ;)
Yup, there was a TV show based on some of them and a film was released a few years back (covering just one of the books). Those are not terribly recommended - like Vítor mentioned, they're too teen-oriented and not of great aesthetic value :)
I'll add those links to the main post - thank you for the research!
P.S. I do believe you should immerse yourself in Brazilian culture and language as well, but if you're looking for an EP foundation, you might as well get your Brazilian accent intake from music and film than from our voice, which as many people note can't quite capture the musicality and passion of most Brazilian voices :)
Regarding the microphone I can actually say that I would always pronounce the sentences in E. Pt. an they always got accepted by Duo. Hope this helps! :)
You're welcome - I'm glad I could be of assistance. If you know of any good EP learning websites/resources, feel free to message me and I'll add them to the list :)
Good luck with your studies!
I like Bliu Bliu some i was able to read the text and understand...but like this website...it can get very ADDICTING... but who cares, right? So much fun :P
Hello, Luis! I am very confused about the EP pronunciations of sim, sem and cem. Can you please explain the difference, even if it is merely contextual? Thank you, Janet
Hello, Janet! I don't usually check these messages, so please reach me through the blog next time you have any doubts.
Sem and cem are pronounced the same way, there's no difference between them whatsoever; you can only distinguish the two words from a given context (like the verbs you'd use with one or the other, what you assume the other person is trying to tell you, etc.). For example, if someone tells you "Estou sem notas de cem [euros]", you'd hear the same sound twice, but only "I'm without 100 [euro] bills" makes sense.
Sim is a different sound altogether, s followed by a nasal i; in "sem/cem", the sound of the nasal is an unstressed a, followed by the semivowel j (similar to the "ay" in tray, but with a nasal vowel)
I hope to hear from you back at the blog (I'm also on Twitter and Facebook; you can find the links on the blog itself).
Good luck with your studies!
If you know Spanish here there is a fantastic course which is probably the best you can find online for free: http://www.canalextremadura.es/tv/entretenimiento-programas/falamos-portugues
Thank you for these helpful websites. While I find the lessons in Duolingo helpful for expanding vocabulary, I needed help with the aural component, learning anc interpreting the sounds of the language. The websites below have been most helpful!