European Portuguese

Hi all, Is there any plan for a European Portuguese course on Duolingo?

Based on Google results, I know this topic has been brought up in the past, but I wanted to share my experience and ask a couple of questions...

I recently visited the Algarve, and was happy that I could ask questions and order things in shops and cafes. But it quickly became apparent that the locals were pronouncing many words totally different, which was a bit frustrating as I thought I had a lot of the pronunciations nailed down from my Duo practice.

With the difference of letters being pronounced differently (S being pronounced "sh" instead of as "z", the last "e" being missed (like in BOA TARDe) and the last "o"also being mainly silent (OBRIGADo)) it was a bit disheartening! I feel I learnt something I am now going to have to re-learn from Memrise (as they have an EP course). I love Duolingo as its a lot more flexible and teaches the structure of sentences very well instead of set phrases or single words like a lot of other apps.

But its now difficult learning from Duo as I have to "translate" their pronunciation from Brazilian to European with Forvo.

Its very weird that Duo has focused on some lesser-needed languages like High Valyrian (sorry High Valyrian speakers!) But not European Portuguese, with so many people wanting (and in some cases needing) to speak it.

Duolingo Moderators: pleeease push this through!

I have seen a post which suggested that EP learners simply switch off the volume so that the pronunciations are not picked up from Duolingo. I have also read that if I learn both pronunciations (some Brazilian and some Euro) it would sound very weird, and would be better to just stick with the Brazilian.

Would love to hear other peoples thoughts... OBRIGADO!

June 7, 2019


Even though it is important, I think it could also lead to misunderstandings. I have contact with people from Portugal as well as people from many regions in Brazil. When I talk to them, either in person or online, I notice sometimes it is hard to understand what they say, since even in Brazil there are many pronunciations for the same word. Therefore, we have gaúcho Portuguese, mineiro Portuguese, paulista Portuguese, nortista Portuguese, norderstino Portuguese, as well as Portugal Portuguese. I think the point is focus. My English accent (what I have learned since I'm not a native speaker) in mainly North American (+ Brazilian accent, obviously =]), but I know the variations for British or African accents, even Australian ones. I must confess sometimes it is hard to understand what people from Australia say though. But when I visited some countries, it wasn't hard for me to understand them or even ask additional questions when I didn't get something. We can also learn this variations from external sources and apply them when talking to specific individuals.

Well, that's my thought and personal experience =)

June 7, 2019

Muito obrigado !

Yet please allow me to partly disagree. First, English, which I suppose, you have studied at school, at university, through films and TV shows, travels, encounters, is a language you have come with time to speak fluently. It's not just a matter of accents and even when it is, the difference is bigger than CNN English to BBC English. It's more a difference from colloquial US to lower class cockney English or at times, Glaswegian Platter (the most challenging form of English from Native Speakers I've dealt with). You may not realise this with Portuguese 1) because it is your mother tongue 2) because, to your credit, you've got sufficiently in touch with the European (or European-based African) Portuguese to be confortable with it. But because it's pronounced in a more compact way, for those who would still need to be focussed to grasp big or quick chunks of Brazilian Portuguese find it too quick, too compact, too hard to shift. So, clearly, I feel for Scraff and I support his request. The accent, the thing he stresses out most, is the most striking phenomenon, but there are also different words and expressions, just like between US and UK English (elevator / lift ; eggplant / aubergine ; sidewalk / pavement ; vacation / holiday ...) If I'm not mistaken, there are also quite a few of these between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese. Knowing how to shift from one to the other, being given the key differences in a practical way, Duolingo-style, would be really helpful.

If I'm not mistaken, you had a much bigger background when you got to distinguish for yourself different English accents. Now try to imagine people whose main, sometimes exclusive background for Portuguese, is Duolingo. If they have a decent pronounciation in Brazilian Portuguese, they'll be understood in Portugal but they'll have a hell of hard time understanding what they're being answered.

My mother tongue is French (from France). I'm familiar with very different forms of French (in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Africa, Canada, the US, the Caribbean etc). I love it. Understanding even colloquial Canadian French is not too hard for me but I suspect it would be much more challenging for someone who learnt European French and has to deal with Canadian French for the first time (in fact, I don't "suspect". I've seen how challenging it was).

You've done a great job with Brazilian Portuguese. We just hope there can be some room for European Portuguese too.

June 9, 2019

So true - I learned standard Paris French and speak it well. But I can only understand about half of Canadian French. No offence intended to my Québécois friends but it even sounds quite rural/rustic to my ear...

June 9, 2019

Hey Paulenrique,

First off, thank you to yourself and the whole team for the huge amount of hard work that's evidently gone into the Brazilian Portuguese course. I'm about ten modules into it (Level 5) and I'm enjoying it immensely.

However, I do have to query the logic of your response. The standardised version of a language for any given country is emphatically not the same as a regional dialect. To suggest that Portugal Portuguese holds the same status as the regional dialects within Brazil is simply not right (and I imagine somewhat insulting to the population of Portugal). Portugal also has regional variations in dialect, but I'm given to understand that there is a standardised version of the language used throughout the country, for example in media broadcasts.

Unfortunately pronunciation isn't the only issue. To take up your example of English, word usage and spelling are also different between US English and British/International English. It's not just a matter of how the speaker sounds. It's a constant source of frustration here in the UK. Due to the proliferation of US TV and films, us Brits can easily understand US English, but those who only learn US English are going to struggle to understand what's said and written when they visit the UK, or indeed just about any Englsh-speaking country other than the US. I'm anticipating the same problem when I try to use Brazilian Portuguese in Portugal. Or worse.

There's also a flawed logic in applying the numbers of existing speakers to decide whether a language is worth developing into a course; numbers of tourists, business visitors and immigrants need to be considered in the calculations, in addition to other factors.

I understand that resources are limited and development of courses need to be prioritised, but the fact that precious resources have been allocated to Klingon, High Valerian etc would suggest that the decision-making process isn't without its flaws. Surely those resources would have been much better employed delivering course content that users keep asking for time and again... such as Portugal Portuguese. I would've thought that the Brazilian Portuguese course could be used as a basis, and that doing so would ensure that a large proportion of the work has already be done.

Perhaps Duolingo might want to consider creating some kind of crowdfunding system. I'd certainly be inclined to put money into speeding up the completion of courses for languages I want to learn.

June 10, 2019

Excellent explanation, Paulenrique !

June 7, 2019

I fully support this request. I would like to learn EP (only) and am 2 months into the tree, understanding only now -while on holidays in Portugal- how different EP sounds. And my great enthusiasm for this course vanished as I am now constantly asking myself if I am memorizing sounds and spellings that differ here? I really don't know what to do now. Stop or continue?

June 27, 2019

I would like to learn more EP...

But Duolingo could teach British English and we don't have it. There are many other sources can you learn EP.

But Portuguese is Portuguese anyway the structure is the same, just change some words like:

Armadilho EP is Tatu BP

Peugas EP is Meias EP

etc etc But for a Brazilian can understand a Portuguese and vice versa. Accent is the biggest difference

June 13, 2019
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