A1 to next step strategy

Oi! My wife and I have been very focused on PP for about 3 months or so. We really want to visit PT (maybe in 2021?) and also thinking about relocating there permanently. PP has been great so far. We also have several hardcopy resources that are helping.

My question revolves around strategy for when and how to start working conversationally with a tutor. I had a tutor video call last week (1st time, so nervous) and both tutor and I thought I am lacking in vocabulary. He was complimentary of my pronunciation which I attribute to PP.

Thoughts on how to make the leap from self-study in PP to live practice? Ultimate goal is to enroll in in person PT classes in PT, perhaps for a solid 6 immersion months. I guess I am looking for a little direction to move from absolute beginner to next level. Looking forward to your input.

In gratitude.


Olá, if you’ve only been self-teaching for 3 months I would say that you’re not yet ready for conversation lessons. When I first started learning, after a similar period, I found a place with AirBNB in Porto with an owner who claimed he could speak English and Portuguese. In fact he was really nice but his English was as bad as my Portuguese and I only managed to exchange a few words with him in Portuguese.
His wife, however, was fluent in French and since my French is about B2/C1 level I learned a lot about Portugal and about Rui, who had been a prisoner of war for a year in East Timor.
As your tutor suggested, I needed a bigger vocabulary to take advantage of my trip.

At the time I was using the following books which I strongly recommend:
‘Beginning Portuguese’, and ‘Basic Portuguese’, both by Sue Tyson-Ward, pub. by McGraw Hill
and for grammar reference ‘Portuguese, an Essential Grammar’ by Amelia Hutchinson and Janet LLoyd, pub. by Routledge.

The first two books have hundreds of little exercises and linguistic jargon is kept to a minimum.

I also found children’s books with pictures in Portugal and on Amazon Kindle (very cheap or even free with Kindle).

PracticePortuguese was in its infancy and not suitable for beginners so I used Duolingo.com which is free. Duolingo starts from scratch and is suitable for absolute beginners but it teaches Brasilian Portuguese which has a slightly different vocab and grammar, and a vastly different accent.

One big problem with Duolingo is that their moderators are not very active and users help each other, giving advice and translations, which are often wrong and go uncorrected. By contrast @Joseph and @Molly here at PP are fantastic.

After about a year I found an evening course here in the UK which ran for 2 years and took us up to A2 level. In addition I’ve had private lessons here and in Portugal. The best private lessons I’ve had were at a language school where the skilled teacher was able to use my limited Portuguese without us resorting to English, this was about half way though my evening courses.

Since then I’ve found Portuguese individuals, all well-educated but not necessarily trained to teach languages and my tips with them are:

Prepare for your lesson with topics with which you are familiar and suggest these for discussion. Look up the key words and phrases beforehand. You can use deepl.com for this.
Perhaps write a piece of text in Portuguese ready for the teacher to check and to continue with.

Finally, use the internet to be able to listen to Portuguese spoken. I’m currently watching a series on RTP which has subtitles in Portuguese - https://www.rtp.pt/play/p3019/e266660/o-sabio

Hope this helps. Boa sorte.


Thank you Patrick for taking the time to respond and share resources. You inspire me. More to do. In gratitude.


Hi tpzen, I don’t know whether our experience is any use, but similar to you and your wife my husband and I started learning Pt whilst in England before we moved in 2019. We have basically used all manner of sources on the internet to learn PT but what has helped enormously with confidence to just get out there and speak to people is that every morning over breakfast we only speak PT to each other and sometimes during the day too we just gabble on. The great thing is it isn’t scary talking to one’s beloved when you balls up and the vocab you want is all about the things in your day to day life so it is instantly relevant and you find out what the gaps are in your knowledge. Then with a glass of wine before supper we sit down and do a lesson (at the moment mainly Shorties) from PP. It means it is always fun, useful and relevant to all the things you want to talk about. All the best, Rachel


Great ideas. Thank you so much!