Learning Portuguese in Lisbon

Top tips for expats

Learning Portuguese in Lisbon

If you’re moving to Lisbon, learning Portuguese will help you settle in, make friends and build a network. Here’s five language learning tips to help you out.

1) Take lessons

Language schools exists to help you learn Portuguese, so take advantage of them. Their qualified teachers know how to help you master the tricky grammar rules, conjugate verbs and help you practice your speaking, listening, reading and writing. They are also a great place to meet new people.

Many schools offer a variety of different classes (intensive and part-time courses, online, private, conversational classes etc.) so you can enjoy learning Portuguese in Lisbon  in the best way for you.

2) Get yourself a conversation buddie

Casual language exchanges are an excellent way to practice speaking. Plus, they are usually free. You ‘exchange’ your language skills with a native speaker; they help you with your Portuguese and you help them with your native language.

There are established groups that organise big language exchange events (intercâmbios) in Lisbon (have a look on Facebook and Meetup.com). You might have to pay entrance, but they are a good way to meet an exchange buddy. You can then arrange to meet and practice with your buddy whenever and wherever suits you both best.

3) Watch/listen to Portuguese media

The more exposure you have to the language the faster you will learn it. Watching Portuguese TV and films is a great way to hear it on a daily basis. However awful some may be, soap operas (telenovelas) are a good resource. They use everyday language and the simple plots and storylines are easy to follow.

Listening to Lisbon based radio stations, such as RDP Antena 1, TSF Rádio Notícias and Kiss FM, is also an ideal way to hear more and more of the language.

4) Read in Portuguese

Reading in the language is a good way to widen your vocabulary and familiarise yourself with sentence structures. If a book is too complicated, try reading one news article in Portuguese a day. Público and Expresso are both respected newspapers and have websites so you can read online. Try reading articles out loud to practice your pronunciation.

5) Talk, talk, talk

When learning a language, there is no substitute for practice. Try to talk in Portuguese as much as you can when you are out and about; order in restaurants, talk to locals, ask questions in shops etc. Download a good translation app on your phone and the phrase “como se diz … em português?” (how do you say … in Portuguese?) will be your best friend.

Remember: you are bound to make mistakes, but don’t worry. Learning Portuguese can be fun and you will soon impress yourself (and others) with your new language skills.

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