4 Reasons Why Portuguese Isn’t as Hard as You Think

With over 200 million speakers and growing, Portuguese is one of the top spoken languages in the world, and is used widely in many fields such as business and tourism. For English speakers, however, learning Portuguese grammar can be an intimidating prospect. But don’t let its unfamiliar nasal sounds and numerous verb conjugations intimidate you: in fact, Portuguese isn’t as hard as you might think. Below, we’ve listed some of the reasons why learning Portuguese isn’t so hard after all.

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1. You can quickly grasp the fundamentals

Perfectionists may find Portuguese, with its numerous verb conjugations and grammatical complexities, to be daunting. However, it’s easy to get a good grasp of the fundamentals. In fact, Portuguese is said to follow what’s commonly referred to as the 80-20 rule, meaning that knowing a mere 20% of the language will allow you to understand a whopping 80% of conversations. In other words, even if you don’t know how to form the past subjunctive or the future perfect, a basic knowledge of Portuguese will be sufficient to allow you to understand and be understood. Thus, you can quite quickly learn enough of the language to get by, and focus on the details later.

2. Knowing another Romance language helps

Portuguese is a Romance language, and therefore, it shares a lot of grammar and vocabulary with other Romance languages like Spanish, French, and Italian. In fact, almost 9 out of 10 words in Portuguese and Spanish are cognates, meaning that they are similar or identical in both languages. As a result, if you know even a little bit of another Romance language, you’ll see a lot of familiar vocabulary when studying Portuguese.

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3. Portuguese material is widely available online

Portuguese is the 8th most used language on the internet, after Chinese and before Italian. Therefore, it’s easy to find material online that can help you with your reading skills. Further, Brazilians have a reputation for being very active on social media, so finding conversation partners on websites like Speaky should be no problem. There are also plenty of Portuguese language learning apps for smartphones and tablets, which can help you improve your language skills in your free time.

4. Portuguese speakers appreciate your efforts

There aren’t a whole lot of English speakers who put in the work to learn Portuguese. As a result, Portuguese speakers are generally appreciative of your efforts to use their language, and tend to be forgiving of mistakes. So don’t be afraid to converse in Portuguese with native speakers — it’s more than likely that they’ll be impressed by your skills!

Yes, inanimate objects in Portuguese have gender; and yes, you’ll have to study the notoriously challenging subjunctive mood. But as this list demonstrates, learning Portuguese isn’t impossible — and can be significantly easier than it first appears. Of course, a sure-fire way to make your learning process as quick and easy as possible is to take personalized Portuguese classes from a qualified native speaker. Send us a quick inquiry to learn more about how we can help you reach your Portuguese language goals.