How I’m Learning Portuguese (And Having Fun Doing It)

Hello, and welcome to my first blog! For this post, I’m going to be explaining some of the ways that I enjoy learning languages in general, and currently Brazilian Portuguese!


Contrary to many others, I actually really enjoy Duolingo. It’s a simple, yet effective way to get a good baseline in a variety of languages, and best of all: it’s 100% free. It works by teaching you a mix of grammar and vocabulary, and then makes you translate it into whatever language you’re learning, and then vice versa. The biggest criticism of Duolingo is that it only nourishes “passive learning”, meaning you’ll learn how to read and write really well, but lack skills in the speaking and listening department. If you’re going into Duolingo thinking that it’s the be-all and end-all of language learning, you’re going to be disappointed, because it’s simply not what the website is. If want to go from absolute beginner to at least mildly knowledgeable about the basics of the language, and you’re willing to put in at least a few minutes a day over the next few months, then Duolingo will work great for you!


To be honest, I’ve never been a huge TV fan. I mean, I own a Netflix account and watch cable every once in awhile just as much as the next guy, but I’ve always found myself enjoying the diversity and freedom Youtube has to offer. Just think about it: Youtube is a worldwide service, meaning that there are literal billions (trillions?) of videos from all around the world, in thousands of different languages, all for you at your disposal for absolutely no cost. After finishing Duolingo, Youtube became my home. Here’s some ways you can most utilize language learning on Youtube:

  1. Switching the language of the entire site to Portuguese

    • By this time, you’ll probably know all the buttons onscreen by heart anyways. Meaning you’ll easily be able to pick up words like “subscribers”, “play”, “home”, “search”, etc.

  2. Setting your region to Brazil

    • This will make it so that the Trending tab will show you all the most popular youtube videos in Brazil a that time. This is also a really good way to learn about the culture and discover what kinds of things they like (music artists, comedians, etc).

  3. Watching Portuguese videos with English subtitles

  4. Watching English videos with Portuguese subtitles (a bit harder to find)

  5. Watching Portuguese videos with Portuguese subtitles

    • This last one’s an important one. This will really begin to shape your pronunciation, grammar, vocab, etc. This is how you stop sounding like a textbook, and start sounding like an actual human being. You’ll pick up on slang words, expressions, idioms, among other things. The important thing is that you make sure to keep a list of all the new vocabulary you’re learning along with the translation (I use the Notes app on my laptop).

Music (Spotify)

If you love listening to music as much as me, this might just come naturally. Brazil has such a rich and diverse culture in music, and there’s just so much good music to choose from. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite songs from a bunch of different genres here – check ‘em out if you like!

1. Pra Voce by Onze:20

2. Carolina by Seu Jorge

3. Tres Semanas e Meia by Zimbra


Netflix also has a ton of different shows in multiple languages. As for shows in Portuguese, I highly recommend the show “3%” to start you off!

Hopefully over my time in Brazil I’ll be able to add a ton more to this list, but for now I hope you enjoyed reading!