Can any native portuguese speakers who have done duolingo (possibly a long shot) tell me what type of fluency results from doing the lessons?
I currently live in portugal and am decently conversational, but I'd like to increase my vocabulary of less often used words.
In general, how much of the Portuguese taught will be useful in Portugal? I know in general the concepts and words are the same but there are often words that aren't understood here (banheiro for example. a few people didn't understand till I said casa de banho)
Also I've only gone over the first few lessons, but how does duolingo cover some of the more complicated grammers issues later on? For example reflexive verbs like lembro-me or sentar-se etc.
Not a direct answer to your question, but reading the 3 wikipedia articles on Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, will give you a good idea of the differences between the two (although it's pretty heavy reading). I think the differences between the two written languages is probably about 2%. Then there is pronunciation differences but either will still be understood by the other.
Here is a list of vocab differences (although it doesn't look updated to the 1990 Orthographic Agreement - another wikipedia article to read!) [http://www.sonia-portuguese.com/text/brazport.htm]
ah. Well it teaches Brazilian Portuguese and does not make any effort to inform the users about differences from European Portuguese (so you won't encounter lembro-me, but instead me lembro). In fact Duolingo itself doesn't really "teach" anything. By that I mean when you come to the Subjunctive Present lesson, for example, you probably need to go search the internet for how subjunctive present verbs work because Duolingo is more or less just a test, but of course you can learn from your mistakes (to a degree). In some languages, such as German, Duolingo does offer info to accompany the lessons, but I guess Portuguese is a bit behind in this respect. A lot of the "teaching" is actually done through a couple of Brazilians who generally come to the rescue whenever a question is asked (EDIT: Like Paulenrique :D).
When Duolingo releases tools for the community to build language courses themselves I imagine European Portuguese will be one of the first up and running, simply because it will be nearly identical to the existing course.
It doesnt teach us grammar itself, you learn by making up sentences. So, having a book to study along with is a goog idea. Plus, through discussion you'l be able to find expressions, curiosities, difficuties people have, different pronunciations, explanations and much more. So it's always a big help to count on these excellent insights. It'll teach you a lot!! You'll find the pronunciation a bit different to what you're used to, but thats not the point. You'll repeat words over and over again which will make you learn them by heart. Repeating is a good method.... you also may get stressed when you know your sentence was right and even though they rejected it!