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European Portuguese vs brazilian???

I am a new Duolingo user and student of the Duolingo Portuguese course. I like the Duo lingo learning system a lot, but my worries are if the Brazilian Portuguese are too different from the European Portuguese? My goal is to speak and understand portuguese as it is spoken in Portugal (europe. Duolingo is the best learning system I have found on the net so far, but sadly (for me) it is in the brazilian version of portuguese. Can anybody who knows the differences from European portuguese and Brazilian portuguese advise me on, if taking this Duo lingo course will benefit me also in Portugal? Is the grammar in the two versions different? Or is it only some words and the pronunciation that are the big difference? What I am learning in Duolingo is grammar, vocabulary and starting to put sentences together, but if this is very different from the European portuguese, maybe it is not good to start out the wrong way? Hope some of you have some advise :-) Thanks !

October 9, 2013



I am Brazilian and having a couple Portuguese friends, I believe the differences are not big enough to make you concerned you won't understand them. Among the main basic differences I can point:

  1. The pronunciation: frankly, it takes a while for a Brazilian to understand 100% of what a Portuguese says, but that also depends on local dialects spoken both by the Brazilian and the Portuguese. In my experience it is the biggest difference in conversations.

  2. The choice of words and grammatical forms: European Portiguese often sounds more formal and at least to me, more grammatically correct. Now I don't know how "casual" duolingo gets when teaching, but Brazilian Portuguese uses many "deviations" from the norm in everyday talk, while to me it seems Portuguese stick more to the rules. I could be wrong though, but it sounds like that on the surface.

  3. Some words are actually different. We may use some words they don't and vice-versa for describing the same thing, and we might use some words that don't mean anything in their language too.

On the other side, if I read a text written in European Portuguese I might not even recognize it as so until a paragraph or two.

It's hard to measure how a non-native speaker would feel about this, as I might uderestimate the difficulties the languages present.


I am portuguese and I don't really think , besides pronunciation, that there is any relevant difference in written portuguese BR or PT. I know some choice of words is different in both countries , also BR sounds a lot more casual , but if you know PT you can understand perfectly BR and vice versa.

Eg, and as a joke, I understand 99% a brazilian says when he talks fast, and 80% an azorean says when he talks fast.


I think the main difference is in formal vs informal conversation. Based on my limited experience, in informal conversation Brazilians use way more slang, and incorrect grammar use is the norm. In addition, Brazilians seem to (mis)appropriate words from English and use it as if it is part of "Brazilian". They also seem to change the spelling of some words, e.g. Directo(original Portuguese vs direto (Brazilian).

If your aim is to be communicate it shouldn't matter what you version of Portuguese you learn. If your aim is to become proficient and communicate correctly, I would say learning European Portuguese is better since they tend to follow the norms. This is because Brazilians tend to use an excessive amount of slang. As an example, "meia" is a word that can mean sock or half, yet Brazilians also informally use it to mean the number 6( e.g. half a dozen).


Hi there! I've completed the Portuguese tree (and am also aiming for European Portuguese) and can say that in my humble opinion, spending time on duolingo will definitely help you, despite teaching the Brazilian version :) As some people have already stated, some words are different, but many are the same (and some with just minor one letter spelling difference), the same goes for grammar. The only grammar module on the skill tree that I think is uniquely Brazilian Portuguese is the "Verbs: Gerund" one, that and the preference for você instead of tu to refer to "you". There are a couple more, but If you take the time to note down slight differences, I think you'll be able to understand Portuguese in general without too much difficulty.

The only thing that will take a lot of extra effort is listening and speaking, I had to put a lot of time trying to decipher the European Portuguese accent (Still don't understand it sometimes :D), and am still working on pronunciation. So I'd advise you to really immerse yourself in European Portuguese audio, music, podcasts, videos, it's a lot harder to get the hang of (IMO, of course. :D) Good luck! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask on my stream. :)


Thank you all for your advice on the differences! :-) I will keep practicing!


Thanks for the the feedback and advice :-) I understand that brazilian portuguese is more casual, informal and have some different words than european portuguese. But what about grammar? Im putting a lot of effort and time in learning the grammar here on Duolingo, and I would just like to know that all my work is not lost or the wrong way when I go to Portugal!? can you tell me if I can feel safe in learning the grammar and word building in brazilian portuguese here on Duolingo? Thanks :-)


Wrong grammar use is a personal choice, and a result of the environment one lives in. Linguists and language experts will probably speak Brazilian in a grammatically correct way(close to Euro Portuguese) for the most part. I think it is likely that Duolingo is using the correct grammar, however, because I took a shortcut and completed the language fairly quickly I can't be sure that all lessons are grammatically correct.

Your effort is not wasted.


From all the conversations with portuguese I have ever had, I have never seen a single difference in their grammar compared to Brazilian's. As any language, we often have different grammatical forms to say the same thing, and we differ on what form is more commonly used, not in the structure of the grammar itself.

Example of the most common thing I see:

Portuguese guy says: "Ele está a jogar futebol" (he is playing soccer)

Brazilian guy says: "Ele está jogando futebol" (he is playing soccer)

Both forms are correct, but used primarily by Europeans and South Americans.

It might take some time to get used to this, but I wouldn't be worried about these differences.


I learned Portuguese in Brazil a long time ago. Now I want to refresh it as I intend to travel to Portugal, but during a short trip to Portugal I noticed that the pronunciation was really very different. Does anybody know of an online course where I could practice that?

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