More time at home? Use this opportunity to learn Portuguese

More time at home? Use this opportunity to learn Portuguese

 Living in Portugal 

There are loads of tools available and you have more time on your hands, so why not learn Portuguese and in a few weeks surprise your friends and loved ones with the sweet melody of the language of Camoes...

Don't let COVID-19 define you, do simple things to beat it like staying at home and learning a new language. This time will pass so use it positively, prepare yourself for your home in Portugal by learning the Portuguese language. There is no better way to experience the "Real Portugal" than by simply learning a couple of Portuguese phrases.

Portuguese hospitality crosses language barriers

The Portuguese people can say "hello" with their eyes and their hospitality is well known. Anyone who has visited Portugal knows that language is not a barrier when it comes to welcoming foreigners.

Portugal Realty Portuguese hospitality saying hello to neighbours

Although the vast majority of the population does speak foreign languages, namely English, the Portuguese appreciate the effort that some expats make in learning their language. They also have a genuine pleasure in helping foreigners to learn Portuguese.

Simple phrases in Portuguese that anyone can learn

Perhaps the most basic Portuguese word to learn is a simple "ola", which can be said at any time. But if you prefer to respect the time of day, things get a bit more tricky as the word "good", being an adjective, has to agree in gender with the subject. It may seem complicated to grasp that the time of the day is either feminine or masculine (“Bom” - masculine; “Boa” - feminine), but you'll quickly learn to memorize these simple sentences without ever thinking about this:

  • Bom dia - good morning;
  • Boa tarde - good afternoon;
  • Boa noite - good evening / good night.

Other basic phrases that are important for everyday life in Portugal include:

Portuguese word/phrase Translation to English
Olá Hello
Até logo See you later!
Até amanhã See you tomorrow
Adeus/Xau Goodbye (formal/informal)
Tudo bem? How are you?
Eu estou bem, e você? I’m good, how are you?
Por favor Please
Com licença Excuse me
Obrigado (male version, said by men and boys)
Obrigada (female version that should be used by women and girls)
 Thank you
De nada You’re welcome
Desculpa I’m sorry
Perdão Forgive me/pardon me
Prazer Nice to meet you
Não compreendo I don’t understand
Fale mais devagar, por favor Please speak more slowly
Quanto custa? How much does this cost?
Sim/não Yes/no

Tools to learn Portuguese

There are countless ways to learn Portuguese, especially for those who are already in Portugal. From North to South, several language schools have plenty of experience in helping foreigners living in Portugal, not only in regard to learning the language but also on how to integrate into Portuguese communities.

Portuguese language schools provide support with simple day-to-day things such as introducing the baker who home delivers warm bread in the neighbourhood every morning, where to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers, or even sharing social gatherings or volunteer groups that join expats living in Portugal. In some villages, public schools and local volunteer groups also offer free Portuguese classes, namely in the Algarve and Silver Coast regions.

Learn Portuguese Online

You can also find a wide range of tools for learning Portuguese online, such as:

  • Online Portuguese courses;
  • Apps for learning and practicing Portuguese;
  • Podcasts about the Portuguese language;
  • YouTube videos on learning Portuguese;
  • As well as e-books and audiobooks on Portuguese Grammar and useful phrases.

For those who prefer a more personalized approach, there are also online platforms and teachers who offer Portuguese classes remotely to anywhere in the world. Regardless of being a beginner needing basic Portuguese lessons, or having already more advanced knowledge of the language.

Online Portuguese courses include teachers who will give lessons over Skype, teachers offering conversational Portuguese lessons as well as a list of written and audio resources that you can study from in your spare time.

See our Podcast - Learn to speak Portuguese like a local

Differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese

Just as English spoken around the world has small variations in different countries, the same applies to Portuguese. Even for those who don't understand the language, it's easy to spot small differences between the Portuguese spoken in Brazil and the Portuguese spoken in Portugal, for example. The language is only one, but the way its speakers use it differs because of history, culture, and the distinctive identity of each country.

So, don't be surprised if different resources to learn how to speak Portuguese present this important distinction, highlighting the fact that a certain course is oriented to European Portuguese, for example.

The differences between Brazilian Portuguese and the so-called "European Portuguese" include variations not only in pronunciation but also in grammar, spelling, and even in the usage of more or less formal treatment.

While in Portugal the pronoun "tu" is used for informal treatment (as with our group of friends or close relatives) and "voce" is used for formal treatment (when we speak to a stranger, someone older or in a more formal situation), Brazilians use the pronoun "voce" in practically all situations.

Some other differences include simple day-to-day words such as:


European Portuguese Brazilian Portuguese Translation to English
Olá Oi  Hello
Está lá Alô Hello (on the phone)
Onde fica a casa de banho? Onde é o banheiro? Where is the bathroom?
Comboio Trem Train
Autocarro Ônibus Bus
Fato Terno Suit
Gelado Sorvete Ice Cream
Chávena Xícara Cup
Frigorífico Geladeira Refrigerator


There is no best way to learn Portuguese, it's all about deciding how much time, effort, and money you are willing to invest. And even if you don't want to spend any money at all, there are also plenty of free tools you can try.


Portuguese may seem at first a hard language to learn, but once you start to practice and discover the genuine joy of asking for a “pastel de nata” in the mother-tongue of those who invented it, we promise you the taste will be even sweeter.


Until then, stay safe, keep in touch and don’t forget to stay positive: “juntos, somos mais fortes!”.

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