Most Difficult Things About Learning Portuguese (sorry this is in English.)

As per the title, I am going to begin learning Portuguese very soon and currently gathering information on what the most difficult things are that I should be focusing on first?

I will likely start off learning the Conjugations and Verb endings first is there anything else that I should take note of?

Thank you!

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Hi Buxey! How are you?
I’m from Brazil and I think I can give you some tips to help you. First, listen to Brazilian Portuguese a lot. Here are some YouTube channels that can help you:

On this site, you will find song lyrics. Listen to music in Portuguese and study the lyrics:

Learn the most used phrases:

Guide to learning grammar: Essential Brazilian Portuguese Grammar: 8 Rules to Remember | FluentU Portuguese

  • Portuguese nouns have gender (masculine, feminine). Masculine nouns generally end in -o and feminine nouns generally end in -a but there are a lot of irregular nouns that don’t follow the rules.

  • Standard Portuguese and (spoken) Brazilian Portuguese are different in terms of grammar and syntax (word order).

  • Portuguese verbs are conjugated for person (I, you, etc.), tense (present, past, future) and mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative). The subjunctive mood is something that non-native speakers often get wrong.

  • Non-native speakers often mispronounce or can’t tell the different between ó-ô, é-ê and á-â. To me this is the biggest giveaway that somebody isn’t a native speaker.


Thank you for the reply! Currently gathering information at the moment then I can begin my learning :slight_smile:

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as a english speaking portuguese learner the alphabet and pronounciation is the first thing you should start with to many people go straight to vocabulary and learning conjugations and have a hard time pronouncing correctly or understanding words that they hear .the biggest difficulty of portuguese and the latin languages are the verbs but they just need to be practiced often

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Hi Buxey! People have already given you some good advice. Ktjoseph said something that I find really important. You know, I teach Portuguese and I gotta say that pronunciation is specially hard for native speakers of English, it’s sooo different. You know, some 20 years ago I decided to learn Russian, but internet was still a toddler and all I had was a book I found at the local library and I decided by myself what the letters should sound. Got most of them right, but had to spent a long time fixing my pronunciation once I got some real good books with audio. Same as English, even if there has always been plenty of things in English all around, I couldn’t really tell I was pronouncing the sounds wrong till I had English phonetics at college. So, my advice is: work hard on your pronunciation a lot before anything else.

I mean, you’re coming to Brazil, maybe you just wanna be understood, so you can ignore my advice. But if you wanna er… mingle with the Brazilians, and be treated a lot better and have everyone smile at you, sounding closer to a native will help you big time. Anyway, don’t worry. Most people here will treat you well, no matter if you sound plain gringo.


Also please watch this video, I find it great and agree with everything she says. I mean, I think tackling the most difficult things first isn’t the best idea, but who am I to say what is best for you? But I do think you should try to find a way to make learning the language interesting and motivating.


Thank you for the advice! once I have been studying the language for 6 months and have a better understanding of everything I will then begin to reach out to some native Brazilians for speaking practice :slight_smile: (have to build that foundation first!)

For Brazilian Portuguese: How to say the alphabet and then the pronunciation for all the sounds, especially in the Carioca and the São Paulo accent. Then just get into short video youtube content right away. You’ll pick up the conjugations really quickly. Don’t waste your time studying those first in some rote way. There are a million conjugations and they dont use a ton of them so you’ll be learning them pointlessly. The hardest part will be understanding the pronunciation initially, especially the various accent.

It’s tough finding content you can enjoy and battle through understanding initially. If your understanding of vocab and sounds is low right now then stay away from Funk music because it will not make sense at all for both. Focus on CLEARLY spoken videos with good subtitles and visuals and ENTERTAINING. Here’s a couple suggestions.

I love the channel ter.a.pia on YouTube. Short videos, sad stories but all have happy endings and usually have subtitles.

HILARIOUS videos are from this kid show guy but many of his older videos are geared towards young adults and they are animated so the visuals are great. Here is a link to a playlist of those

These channels use super daily life vocabulary.

Last word of advice: Don’t slack. Read the forums here, lots of great advice but to boil it down to the simplest way to succeed. Read/listen to 1.5 million words minimum if you want to be “good” before your trip. That’s about 3,800 words a day of LingQ studying until December 2023. Very very easy to accomplish if you start now.


i’d probably just skip all of the grammar lessons and just do as much reading as your can. you’ll learn the grammar intuitively. do you happen to know any other languages?

wonderful! thank you for your detailed reply!

i also highly recommend porta dos fundos–i think the biggest youtube channel in brazil, hilarious skit comedy (even when political or annoyingly heavy handed), short form, huge number of videos come with subtitles in portuguese and english–almost custom made for lingqers! obviously its advanced and very slangy but the short form and genuine enjoyment factor help a lot. i pair it with more formal stuff for reading for a pretty nice balance. i also recommend for complete beginners lingua da gente–a free podcast from some years ago with 200 or so short dialogues with explanations of each line. when i finished their intermediate ones i moved on to porta.


BabyRuth, have you ever watched Choque de Cultura? They have been making videos for like 10 years, but I just found out about them this year, and I absolutely love them. It’s not diverse like Porta dos Fundos, which by the way I like as well, but it suits my sense of humor much better.


As a person who has been studying portuguese for almost a year and is conversationally fluent now (B1 or B2). Against popular opinion, I recommend you start with the basics on duolingo, learn about pronouns and verbs and simple conjugations. While you are doing that, when you drive anywhere, always have portuguese media playing, whether Pimsleur, CNN Brasil, Speaking Brazillian youtube, or your preferred media, just get familiar hearing the language, even if you dont understand it(i have a friend that claims to speak spanish, but he cant even tell the difference between spanish and portuguese when spoken, due to his low auditory input while studying). Once you get the fundamentals after a week or so of duolingo, i reccomend you start using an app called Busuu, its actually completely usable with the free tier, but i am using the paid tier and its basically the same. Use Busuu and rank up the courses for a while, supplementing with maybe 20% duolingo to 80% Busuu(remember keep the auditory input, i really reccommend you watch Speaking Brazillian and even with the enlish subtitles it helps). After you get to a basic reading and listening comprehension level and more comfartable with Basic speaking, start using Anki or Quizlet to learn some more vocabluary (verbs are most important imo). Begin practicing speaking by yourself and talking into google translate(in PT) and making sure you got the point across even if it isnt gramatically correct. After you are comfortable talking about your opinions on the fly in basic ways, I reccommend you start talking with people either local, or portuguese Omegle/Discord.

Once you finish Busuu course (duolingo should be irrelevent by this point, so stop using it) continue supplementing auditory media and also start reading things(LingQ is amazing for that), i am currently reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid(diario de um banana) in portuguese, and I think it is amazing first book, due to its pretty good length, basic vocabulary, illustrations of what is happening, and a few basic slangs thrown in.

Like i said i have been studying almost a year now, but i am conifdent if i knew all of these things from the start, i could get to this level in less than 6 months, but as a first time language learner, all of that is normal.

Best of luck!

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Also it took me embarrassingly long to understand verb tenses properly

Verb we are conjugating (escrever - to write)

Past tense examples(ends in i/ei/eu usually):
escrevi - i wrote
escreveu - (you/he/she) wrote

Present tense examples(ends in o/a/e usually):
escrevo - I write
escreve - (you/he/she) writes
escrevendo - (writing) “endo” at the end of a verb is the same as “ing” in english

Future tense examples(ends in er/rei/á usually)
vou escrever - i will write(vou/vai are conjugations of the verb “will” in portuguese)
vai escrever - (you/he/she) will write (notice how the verb stayed the same)

here was the hard part for me(still future tense)
escreverei - i will write
escreverá - (you/he/she) will write

^these versions juust take the verb (in our case esrever) and add the conjugation to the end instead of changing the original word, so “escrever+ei” for example; you can see how this was confusing for a beginner trying to recognize words quickly without ever being told of this rule (i was only taught future tense as “vou”+verb), and it was easy to get verbs confused because most of the time(not in our example unfortunately) past tense ends en “ei” and future tense ends in “rei”

I just felt like i needed to add this, it might not make sense now, but come re-read this after a week or two of studying

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