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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

How long does it take to learn Portuguese?

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How long does it take to learn Portuguese? And how long does it take to become fluent? What if I speak Spanish, will it take less time?

I hear these questions all the time.

It's difficult to answer this question because the time it takes you to learn Portuguese depends on many factors and varies greatly from person to person.

For example, here are some factors that influence the time it takes to learn Portuguese:

  • What is your mother language?

  • What other languages do you speak?

  • Do you already speak any Romance language?

  • Where do you live?

  • Do you live in Brazil or in another Portuguese-speaking country?

  • Do you have Brazilian friends?

  • Do you have someone you can practice Portuguese with?

  • How long do you study per day?

  • What methods do you use to study Portuguese?

Also, it is important to keep in mind why you are learning Portuguese. What are your goals? What does it mean to be fluent to you? Do you want to be fluent enough to talk with your friends, or do you want to use Portuguese at a professional level? These are very different fluency levels.

To talk about this subject, I will give as an example the courses I offer at my school, how long each course takes and what are the results my students have when completing each course.

The Essential Course for Beginners

In this 12-week course, students learn everything they need to know to start speaking Portuguese, including all the most used verb tenses, the common vocabulary, and all the most important basic content. At the end of 12 weeks, most students finish the course with the ability to understand a little and talk about simple topics in Portuguese.

Will you be fluent in 12 weeks? No. But in my experience, it is possible to start understanding the language a little and start talking about simple things in 3 months of regular study. To achieve this result in 12 weeks, I recommend a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of study per week.

Pre-Intermediate Workshop

After the beginners’ course, I recommend that students take the pre-intermediate workshop, which also lasts 12 weeks. This course is more immersive, so students will practice more listening to Portuguese and speaking Portuguese in class.

Grammar in Conversation Workshop

After the pre-intermediate course, I recommend that students join the grammar workshop, which also lasts 12 weeks. This course aims to give students a solid foundation in intermediate-level grammar.

What are the results?

If you take the three courses in a row, by the end of 9 months, you will have learned all the most important grammar and vocabulary content at the basic and intermediate levels.

Most students who complete these 3 courses have an excellent knowledge of the language and can communicate well in Portuguese after 9 months, some more easily, others less.

Does it mean that it is possible to become fluent in 9 months? It depends. In my experience, for you to become fluent in Portuguese or any other language, you need at least two years of study and practice. If it's a language too different from yours, I believe more time is needed.

Can I speed up the process?

It would be possible to speed up the process if you did some intensive program, for example, moving to the country and studying for several hours a day.

However, realistically, that is not an easy thing to do. Most of you have jobs, kids, and many other priorities, so you can't drop everything and move to Brazil to study Portuguese all day long. So, you need to be patient.

Don't worry and enjoy the journey!

I recommend that you don't worry about how long it will take to learn Portuguese. It's important that you enjoy the process and that you have fun on this journey.

The polyglot Steve Kaufmann said, "you start to learn a language, but you never finish." I agree with him. Even if you've been studying a language for many years, there's always something new to learn.

It was with this in mind that I created a membership program called Speaking Brazilian Academy, which aims to help students who are already at the intermediate or advanced level to become more fluent and maintain fluency in Brazilian Portuguese.

A foreign language is something you have to practice forever. Otherwise, you might forget what you've already learned.

What if I speak Spanish? Can I skip some steps?

If you speak Spanish, it is important to know that understanding Portuguese is easy for Spanish speakers, but speaking Portuguese is not that easy.

I recommend that you don't skip steps. Spanish knowledge will help you to learn Portuguese, but if you don't study the basics, you will speak “Portunhol,” not Portuguese.

So, to sum up, how long does it take to learn Portuguese?

It depends. If you are a very dedicated student, you may start communicating in 3 months and maybe achieve fluency in about 2 years. But the most important thing is not to worry about it, as the learning journey should be fun and enjoyable.

That's it, guys! I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Até a próxima!

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