Portuguese FAQs

A list of frequently asked questions concerning Portuguese and learning Portuguese. If you don't find the answer to your question, please get in touch, we're happy to help!

Where is Portuguese spoken?

Portuguese is an official language in ten countries, including Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese language was brought to many regions in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Portuguese was also used by Roman Catholic missionaries in Asia, and today there is a cultural presence of Portuguese in parts of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia.

How many people speak Portuguese?

Portuguese is estimated to have between 215 and 220 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers. It's the sixth most natively spoken language in the world and the second most spoken Romance language behind Spanish.

What makes Portuguese difficult to learn?

Depending on your native language, Portuguese may be easier or more difficult to learn. For instance, speakers of other Romance languages will probably have fewer difficulties with Portuguese than speakers of other languages because of the shared similarities.

Here are a few things that may make Portuguese hard for learners: Portuguese is phonologically complex and there are sounds in Portuguese that don’t exist in many other languages (such as ão, lh, trilled and guttural R); as in other Romance languages, grammar, in particular, verb conjugation, can be quite tricky, and Portuguese tends to have more irregularities than other Romance languages; the category of gender can be hard to master fully.

Nevertheless, with some patience and regular practice, you will definitely be able to overcome these difficulties and learn Portuguese.

Is Brazilian the same as Portuguese?

Basically, there is no such thing as the Brazilian language.

There is Brazilian Portuguese - a set of dialects of the Portuguese language used mostly in Brazil which differs from dialects spoken in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking African countries.

Aside from Portuguese, Brazil has also numerous minority languages, including indigenous languages, such as Nheengatu, and languages of more recent European and Asian immigrants, such as Italian, German and Japanese.

When you hear someone speak of «Brazilian language», they are probably referring to Brazilian Portuguese.

Is Portuguese Spanish?

Portuguese is not Spanish. These two Romance languages are closely related but they also differ in many aspects of their phonology, grammar, and lexicon and are not, in fact, the same language.

One of the biggest differences is pronunciation. Portuguese has a lot of slurred sounds, it is a very fluid language, as opposed to Spanish, where words are more deliberate.

Spanish and Portuguese are mutually intelligible to some extent, but mostly in the written form due to large differences in pronunciation.

Is Portuguese a Romance language?

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal and has kept some Celtic phonology and lexicon.

Other Ibero-Romance languages include, among others, Spanish and Galician. The most spoken Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian.

Is Portuguese similar to Italian?

Both Portuguese and Italian are Romance languages and, as languages from the same group tend to do, they share certain similarities. The two languages share quite a few cognates (words that have similar form and meaning), there are some similar grammatical and syntactical principles.

In written form, a native Portuguese speaker will be able to read a text in Italian and get the general idea of what it is about. It is easier for a European Portuguese speaker to understand Italian than the other way around.

However, there are quite a lot of differences between Portuguese and Italian, especially in pronunciation. Knowledge of one may make learning the other somewhat easier, but the two languages are mutually intelligible to a very small degree only (basic phrases, reading signs).


Portuguese Vocabulary Books

Learn Portuguese - Quick / Easy / Efficient

Learn Portuguese - Quick / Easy / Efficient

This vocabulary book is a curated Portuguese word frequency list with 2000 of the most common Portuguese words and phrases. Following the Pareto principle (80/20 rule), this book is built to streamline the learning process by concentrating on the core words and sentence structures. The result is a unique book ideal for driven learners and language hackers.
Portuguese Vocabulary Book

Portuguese Vocabulary Book

This Portuguese vocabulary book contains more than 3000 words and phrases and is organized by topic to make it easier for you to pick what to learn first. It is well suited for learners of all levels who are looking for an extensive resource to improve their vocabulary or are interested in learning vocabularies in one particular area of interest.

Portuguese Flashcards

Portuguese Quizlet Flashcards

Portuguese Quizlet Flashcards

These Portuguese flashcard sets contain 1300 of the most important Portuguese vocabularies sorted by topic. Each set represents one topic which allows you to dive deeper into areas depending on your priorities and interests.

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