Tips for learning Portuguese

We know that learning a new language can be difficult, but its definitely a necessity for your life in Portugal

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There’s no point in sugar coating it: Portuguese is a difficult language to learn. However, if you plan to live in Portugal, or even just spend an extended period of time there, your experience will be greatly enhanced by a decent grip on the local tongue. 
 
Here are five tips to help you learn Portuguese:
 
1. Do as much work as you can before arrival
 
A vast number of expats say they wish they’d put more work into learning the language before moving abroad. So don’t fall into the “I’ll pick it up when I get there” trap. Unless you’re less than ten years old, it just doesn’t work like that. 
 
It’s easy to start learning before you leave: use Post-It notes to remember the words for household objects by sticking them around your home, replace your music CDs with language CDs, and begin to look at Portuguese websites with a little help from Google Translate (beware - take some of the more literal translations with a pinch of salt!). It all adds up in acclimatising yourself to the new language. 
 
2. Ensure you listen to pronunciations
 
Portuguese is not a language to simply learn from a book: several words look similar to Spanish, but the pronunciation is completely different. You really need to learn the words as they are spoken to have a chance of being understood yourself.
 
3. Learn the correct Portuguese!
 
There are two distinct versions of the Portuguese language: Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese. Many people liken the difference between these to UK English and American English.
 
Although they are similar, the accent is different, as are several words, so make sure you learn European Portuguese if you’re moving to Portugal. 
 
4. Beware of local dialects
 
Just as Londoners tend to sound rather different to individuals from Newcastle, accents vary significantly across Portugal!
 
This is particularly noticeable in the Algarve, where there is a tendency to clip words, sometimes at the beginning AND end! If you’ve been learning from a language course, you may well find you can understand people from Lisbon, but struggle to comprehend “Algarvian” Portuguese. 
 
It’s also worth accepting that if you live and learn in the Algarve, this is the dialect you will end up speaking yourself!
 
5. Don’t be frightened!
 
The only way to develop your Portuguese is to constantly work on it. It can prove daunting, but sometimes you’ve just got to strike up a conversation and give it a go. Even if you get it horribly wrong, people will have more affection and respect for you than if you didn’t try at all.

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Heathcare

One of the first things you need to do once you arrive in Portugal is find out where your nearest hospital is.
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Education in Portugal

Are you emigrating to Portugal with school-age children?
 

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