Babbel is one of the biggest language learning companies in the world, offering courses for multiple languages such as Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Portuguese. But after starting to learn Portuguese with Babbel many people find themselves asking a question they didn’t know was important: does Babbel teach Brazilian or European Portuguese?
The answer is: Babbel teaches Brazilian Portuguese, much like another popular app, Duolingo. Although Babbel don’t specifically refer to it as Brazilian Portuguese, they do use the Brazilian flag rather than the Portuguese flag, which is a bit of a clue. However, this flag is often used as the defacto flag when talking about the Portuguese language.
Is there a difference? Yes, and if you’re planning on living in Portugal (or spending a lot of time there) you should focus on European Portuguese instead. Speak Brazilian Portuguese in Portugal and you’ll spend a lot of time being corrected by Portuguese people – definitely not what you want when you’re trying to get by in Portuguese. And if you decide to switch to European Portuguese, you’ll then have to relearn a lot of what you’ve already learnt. Basically, it’s better to focus on Portuguese from Portugal if that’s where you plan to spend the majority of your time.
So, with that in mind, what are some alternatives to Babbel that focus on European Portuguese?
Firstly, there are a number of courses that cover beginner and intermediate level European Portuguese.
Secondly, there are lots of resources which don’t have a course-like structure but are essential for learning Portuguese such as podcasts and flashcard apps.
This isn’t to say that you should completely avoid Brazilian Portuguese, although you may want to avoid Brazilian Portuguese teaching materials. You’ll still have a lot of contact with Brazilians most likely, and when you watching films in Portuguese or listen to music, there’s a good chance they’ll be from Brazil. So you’ll want to be able to understand Brazilian Portuguese but speak European Portuguese.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, Duolingo focuses on Brazilian Portuguese and not European Portuguese as well.