Should Your Learn Brazilian or European Portuguese?

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Published: November 2022 & Last Updated: November 2022

You’ve decided to learn Portuguese and you’ve hit your first stumbling block: whether to learn Brazilian or European Portuguese. It isn’t a question people generally have to ask themselves when they’re learning French or Spanish, but for some reason, it’s a question that you need to ask yourself when learning Portuguese.

Is there that big a difference between the Portuguese spoken in Brazil and the Portuguese spoken in Portugal? Yes and no. If you learn Portuguese, particularly European Portuguese, you will come into contact with a lot of Brazilian Portuguese through music, movies, and the many wonderful Brazilian people that you’ll meet in Portugal. You might even end up speaking to more Brazilians than Portuguese people. And even though there are differences in pronunciation, grammar, and some words, particularly slang, you should have few problems understanding what they say, even though you’re focused on learning Portuguese as it’s spoken in Portugal.

If you’re learning Brazilian Portuguese and spending the majority of your time in Brazil, you will mainly hear Brazilian Portuguese spoken. You will undoubtedly come across Portuguese speakers from Portugal, but you’ll probably be less likely to watch Portuguese TV shows and movies or to listen to Portuguese music simply because Portugal produces a lot less content than Brazil. And if you search in Portuguese online, you will come across a lot more Brazilian websites.

So which should you learn? Very simply:

  • If you’re planning to live in Portugal or spend a lot of time here, you should probably learn European Portuguese.
  • If you aren’t planning to spend a lot of time in Portugal, you should probably learn Brazilian Portuguese.

(It’s best that you avoid learning Brazilian Portuguese if you live in Portugal as you will find yourself getting corrected a lot.)

European Portuguese is often seen as harder, particularly when it comes to hearing it spoken by native speakers, and many non-Portuguese speakers say that Brazilian Portuguese sounds more melodic and beautiful to the ear. In the past, learning European Portuguese was also harder because there were far fewer courses, websites, and apps as most focused on Portuguese from Brazil. Thankfully, that has now changed.

A few courses that cover European Portuguese include:

(A full list of courses that cover Portuguese from Portugal can be found here)

And, naturally, there are also plenty of great courses that cover Brazilian Portuguese, like:

Unfortunately, there are very few resources that teach Portuguese as a world language with the exception of one textbook, Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language.

Still not sure “which Portuguese” is right for you? Why not spend some time listening to YouTube videos of Brazilian and Portuguese people speaking Portuguese to see which one you prefer. And if Portuguese from Portugal is the winner, be sure to check out this guide to learning European Portuguese!

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