Portuguese is spoken across the world. It is an official language of Portugal, of course, and also Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau (China). As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese-creole speakers are also found in India, Sri Lanka, some Indonesian islands, parts of Malaysia, and in areas of the Caribbean.
Rosetta Stone focuses on teaching Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil). The language is spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and spoken widely across the Brazilian diaspora, today consisting of about two million Brazilians who have emigrated to other countries. Pronunciation can be one of the trickier aspects of learning Portuguese for beginners, but don’t worry because Rosetta Stone’s patented speech-recognition engine, called TruAccent, provides crucial feedback. It compares your voice to that of native and non-native speakers, providing instant feedback and helping you improve your ability to speak and understand Portuguese.
Learn Portuguese and join the conversation with over 250 million native speakers across the globe. From Portugal to Brazil to Mozambique, learning Portuguese will expand your world more broadly in business and in culture. As the ninth most powerful language in the world, Portuguese speakers, also called “Lusophones,” are nicely situated among the likes of other economic heavyweights like German and Japanese (ranking seventh and eighth, respectively). Speaking Portuguese gives you access to the millions of Lusophones who are fluent in the second most-spoken Romance language in the world.
English speakers will find that learning Portuguese is not as difficult to learn as it sounds. Portuguese grammar and sentence structures are simplified compared to English, and many Portuguese language learners find that the Portuguese accent is easier to produce than a Spanish accent. English and Portuguese also share deep Latin roots. Because of these shared origins, you’ll quickly discover that many words sound similar to English and have the same meaning—also called cognates. These cognates can give you a huge advantage when it comes to speaking Portuguese quickly and confidently.
Take this sentence for example: “Animais não são permitidos no restaurante.” The sentence is made up almost entirely of Portuguese-English cognates. Let’s break it down.
- Animais = Animals
- não são = are not
- permitidos = allowed (permitted)
- no = at the
- restaurante = restaurant
If we put it all together, we have, “Animals are not allowed in the restaurant.”
Not only is Portuguese relatively quick to pick up and begin speaking, understanding it gives you a huge advantage in understanding other Romance languages like French, Italian, and Spanish. The Portuguese alphabet is one of the first things language learners attempt to tackle in their quest to learn to speak and write Portuguese. The Portuguese alphabet is Latin-based and has 26 letters, the same as the English alphabet. One of the trickier parts of learning the alphabet, however, is knowing what the symbols above each letter do to change the sound you make. Portuguese has 14 vowel sounds. Accents are used to show their pronunciation: á, â, ã, à, ç, é, ê, í, ó, ô, õ, and ú.
These accents also indicate the stressed syllable, for example:
- café = coffee
- você = you, formal
- mãe = mother
Nasal vowels are common and represented by the tilde (~) over the vowels a and o, for example:
- canção = song
- maçã = apple
Additionally, the cedilha (ç) before -a, -o, and -u sounds the same as “s.” The letter h is silent in Portuguese. The letters r, s, z and the combinations nh, lh, ch, rr may prove more challenging, for example:
- rádio = radio
- cozinhando = cooking
- chaves = keys
- mulher = woman
- cachorro = dog
After practicing the alphabet sounds, we advise language learners to jump right into pronunciations. Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® method combines learning vocabulary with real-world situations that build towards a greater contextual understanding of key Portuguese phrases . As with most worthwhile endeavors, there aren’t any real shortcuts, but by combining solo practice in Rosetta Stone’s award-winning mobile app and practicing with 10-minute lessons, you can take control of your progress and accelerate your learning.
At Rosetta Stone, we understand that the goal of learning Portuguese is to feel confident enough to speak the language and to understand it in real-world situations. That’s why our Portuguese program focuses on learning to speak, read, and understand Brazilian Portuguese in context, using audio and visual cues to help build a language-learning program that gets you speaking Portuguese from the very first lesson.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Portuguese (Brazil) whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.