First of all,consider the resources you might already be using. If you want to speak Portuguese as it’s spoken in Portugal, be sure to avoid studying with Brazilian materials, (which is surprisingly easier said than done). This will save you lots of time and confusion in the long run, since there are major differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese.

Be sure to learn some phrases that will help you get speaking as soon as possible, starting with greetings, polite expressions, and how to ask for clarification or repetition. This lays the foundation for communication, even when you don’t have all the words you need yet. You may only be able to manage a “boa tarde” (Good afternoon) at first, but it’s still important to practice speaking early to build momentum and confidence.

Next, introduceyourself to the very basics of vocabulary and grammar: pronouns, conjunctions, articles, the words for food and everyday objects, and some common verbs. Portuguese verbs have so many different forms to memorise, but if you know a few shortcuts, you can get by in many everyday situations knowing only the present and simple past tense.

Listen to Portuguese as much as possible. Repeat what you hear on television, in podcasts, and in conversations. You won’t understand everything or have perfect pronunciation yet, but the more you train your ears to the language as it is spoken by natives, the more your brain absorbs the patterns to be able to reproduce the sounds.

Think of learning as a cycle: you start with the basics, learn to “get by”, and continually go back to review and expand upon that foundation of knowledge. The best approach is to balance structure and exploration. A series of lessons can help you stay focused and organised, and your real-world experiences let you make progress on individual goals to keep you motivated.

It’s not a race to getto the fluency finish line! Instead, try to treat learning Portuguese as an opportunity for continual growth and improvement.

Learn European Portuguese this year! Hear example phrases and dialogues, discover units on a wide variety of subjects, and learn helpful tips for European Portuguese beginners at