Is it Hard to Learn Portuguese? – Busting the Myth

Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world and continues to grow. But we often hear people saying: “Portuguese is too hard to learn.” Or: “It’s too complex for my brain.” Or even worse: “Why learn Portuguese if most natives already speak English?”

Is it Hard to Learn Portuguese?

Comments like these can be discouraging whether you have already started learning or are still considering it. But is Portuguese that difficult a language to study? Why should you embrace the challenge to acquire it? What tips can you apply to learn Portuguese from Portugal more easily? And what are some of the differences between learning Brazilian and European Portuguese?

Continue reading as we bust the myths associated with learning Portuguese. Let’s start by considering some of the challenges you can expect to face in your path to fluency.

The Challenges of Learning Portuguese

Portuguese is a language like any other. It has its intricacies that can sometimes prove hard to understand. Here are some aspects that might make Portuguese challenging for you:


In and outside each Portuguese-speaking country, the language comes in a wide range of accents. They include nasal sounds you will not encounter when learning Spanish, Italian, and other Romance languages. The pronunciation of “LH”

and “NH”
is another tricky aspect. 

There are two main branches: the European and the Brazilian Portuguese. But each region has its typical pronunciation and idioms. Additionally, many Portuguese dialects have developed over time. 

These peculiarities are natural to native Portuguese speakers. However, they complicate the learning process and can lead to confusion and frustration in learners. 

Complex Grammar 

English and Portuguese share an Indo-European origin. Their syntax is similar, often following an SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) structure. Still, you might struggle with grammar when you begin to learn Portuguese.

The language has four verb moods. They are the Indicative, Conjuntive, Imperative, and Conditional. It includes three Nominal Forms: the Gerund, the Infinitive, and the Participle (Present and Past). And then, there are five main verb tenses: the present, the past simple, perfect, imperfect, and the future.

Another grammar issue is that it is boring and often requires memorization. Our unique language program, The Journey, teaches European Portuguese to English speakers in a fun way. The first seven days are completely free. These Portuguese lessons consist of videos and activities for an engaging learning journey. 

Learn European Portuguese the Instinctive Way!

For the last decade, we’ve been working on putting together the best possible European Portuguese course. After much research, feedback from our students, and several iterations, we think we’ve got it! 😉

At the base of it all is a sound conviction that languages are better learned instinctively, so the process needs to engaging, varied, and enjoyable. Throughout, we used scientifically proven techniques to help you master pronunciation, phrase construction, oral understanding, grammar, and all the necessary bits to get you to fluency. And still, the whole thing is presented as an adventure. It’s a course like no other, trust us!


Amazingly, Portuguese and English have a genetic proximity of almost 60%. Our video: 500 Common Words in 3 Minutes! (European Portuguese Vocabulary), highlights common words between them. Words with a common origin and similar form and sound in two languages are cognates. Exploring them is an easier way to learn Portuguese right from the start.

But there are also false cognates to be aware of. These words are similar in sound and form but have different meanings, which can be confusing. 

Besides, Portuguese morphology allows native speakers to build new words for accurate definitions. This feature creates a varied and ever-changing vocabulary.


Portuguese is a gendered language. This trait is common in Romance languages, which have Vulgar Latin as their original language. This characteristic affects almost all sentences uttered by native speakers. So, it becomes an inconvenience that proves especially difficult for English speakers to surpass. 

If you speak Spanish, French, or any other Romance language, it is easier to apprehend the genders in Portuguese. Still, there are some differences between the tongues. 

Despite its challenges, the Portuguese language is not more demanding to study than many others. Learning requires effort and dedication, but the benefits are well worth it. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) compiled a list of the approximate time needed to learn a language.

According to it, Portuguese is among the easiest ones. It takes 24 weeks to reach professional working proficiency in reading and speaking skills.

Why Take on The Portuguese Language 

Even if you are not a native Portuguese speaker, learning the language has worthwhile benefits. Here are four examples:

Access a Rich Cultural Heritage

Portugal is one of the oldest countries in the world. Thus, learning it will allow you to dive deeper into its culture. Everything in the country, from food to buildings, Portuguese words, and people, has a unique background worth knowing.

Business Opportunities in Portuguese-speaking Countries

Portuguese is an official language in ten countries, but its speakers are everywhere. By learning it, you will open the door to prosperous business opportunities. The need for Portuguese speakers in the international market has grown. Thus, you can transform and enrich your personal and professional life. 

Improved Job Prospects

People who know how to speak Portuguese have plenty of market possibilities. Being a polyglot boosts your career growth and helps build your reputation. Successful language learning shows possible employers that you are not afraid of challenges. It demonstrates a sense of commitment and responsibility.

With the increase in Portuguese speakers, the market demands also rise. You can correspond to those needs and earn your place in whatever industry you prefer if you learn Portuguese. 

Open Communication With Millions of People Worldwide

Portuguese has an expectancy of 380 million speakers by 2060 and 500 million by 2100. If you learn to speak Portuguese now, you can prepare to engage with them, whether in a formal or informal setting. 

Learning European Portuguese can be fun

Read our article: Top Reasons to Learn Portuguese – Why You Should Start Today. It presents more advantages of speaking Portuguese. 

With all these benefits, it’s clear that Portuguese is a beautiful language worth learning. Let’s see some strategies you can apply to surpass its challenges. 

Tips for Learning Portuguese 

Find a Studying Method That Works For You

There is no one way to learn Portuguese. Hence, try not to rely on a single tool or course. Experiment with different approaches and adapt to what feels right. Insisting on a strategy that does not condone your learning processes is frustrating and does not produce results. 

tips on studying European portuguese

Developing your learning style, on the other hand, is a vital key to success. You can hire a Portuguese teacher or choose one of the many language apps available. Or start by memorizing common Portuguese phrases.

Practice Everyday

You can pick a writing or speaking activity or take on audio lessons. As little as 15 minutes of study allows your brain to process and retain information more easily. This way, you’ll improve your comprehension skills. Keeping contact with a native speaker is also a productive strategy.

Limiting your learning to one or two Portuguese lessons per week will make it harder to think in your target language and make it your own. Taking even a short period every day to study Portuguese makes a tremendous difference.

You can develop your plan to learn the language or use our completely free 30-day plan for learning European Portuguese. With it, you have a preset schedule to practice Portuguese for the next month. 

Take Time for Immersion

Studies have shown immersion to be the most productive method for effective language acquisition. Students perform better whether they focus solely on following an immersive program or pair it with other methods. 

Absolute beginners and intermediate learners can enhance their speaking skills. All students can practice and acquire Portuguese pronunciation faster. 

Exercise can help improve language learning

But, despite common misconceptions, you don’t need to be in Portugal to immerse yourself in its language. Try watching YouTube videos, reading a book, or listening to podcasts. Watch shows you enjoy with subtitles in English or sing along to Portuguese songs. These are all ways to learn Portuguese, no matter your current location.

Maintain a Curious And Persistent Mindset 

Persistency is a key in many aspects of language learning. It keeps you patient and focused on your goals while embracing the challenges that might arise. This attitude helps you learn faster and relieves the stress of being outside your comfort zone.

Through it, you won’t see your errors and less-than-happy experiences as failures but as opportunities for growth. Maintaining a curious attitude will motivate you to try different approaches. 

You can learn funny Portuguese phrases or test various tools. The options are endless, from language learning apps to full-on online Portuguese courses.

Brazilian Portuguese And European Portuguese – Two Branches of The Same Tree

Before you start to learn Portuguese, you will notice there are two main variants of the language: European and Brazilian. Besides the contrast in pronunciation, you will find differences in idioms and vocabulary. Spoken and written forms are also distinctive.  

Plus, Brazilian life and culture are unique, diverse, and so unlike the Portuguese. One allows you to understand much of the other, but it is best to learn them separately to avoid confusion and frustration.

Try choosing one language and filtering the content you study accordingly. This way, you can remain focused and make more progress toward fluency.

Conclusion: The Easy Way to Learn Portuguese

Portuguese is not a three-headed beast waiting to devour you. It’s just a language you can easily conquer with effort and dedication. 

If you decide to learn Portuguese, you will come across challenges. You might struggle to understand all the verbal moods and tenses. Developing the proper pronunciation can be tricky, and you must watch out for false cognates that might confuse you. 

Still, learning European Portuguese is well worth it. It opens numerous doors for personal and professional growth and brings countless opportunities. Portuguese learners get to explore a rich culture with a worldwide presence. 

Besides, seeing your progress is rewarding. It builds your self-confidence and helps you overcome other hardships. That is why we created a unique approach to learning Portuguese online. You can find some of our free resources on Portuguese With Carla.

What challenges are you facing? Which of these tips would you like to apply next? We would love to know all about your journey to learn Portuguese from Portugal!

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