Does Practice Portuguese Assume We Have a Working Knowledge Of the Language?

My wife and I have been studying the lessons for a month now and are wondering when we are going to be able to start practicing “practical” phrases that we would apply when traveling through the country. Examples would include: “What time’s the next train?” “Where is the restroom?” “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” It made us wonder whether we are following the wrong lesson pathway. We’ve done the basic verbs and prepositions and are now studying the word “com.” Is there a better route for us to move through? We are a bit lost, I think.

1 Like

If you want to adopt “phrase book learning” there are faciliities on the web which can meet your requirements.
I must say though Oscar ,that I am not keen on that method. Because without a broader knowledge base, you ask the question and then cannot understand the answer!!
I know that it can be frustrating to play the long game but I stongly recommend that you approach the PP course by working progessively through the units and then move on the smart review etc etc.
I have done that every day for two years and every day I get better. Far from perfect but better !
And I can ask for things which I need. I can understand the answers. Even interact.
Good luck and stick with it.


HI Mac,
Thanks for the response.
This was mostly a request from my wife who is frustrated with the course because she feels as if the progression isn’t logical. She is comparing it to her experience with another well-known language platform called Rosetta Stone. I’ve explained that PP is structured differently than the other programs but that there is a solid framework for learning the language. So, my guess is that it isn’t so much that this is the wrong program but that perhaps we aren’t making the best use of it. For example, the core elements of the course seem to be located under the "learn’ and “practice” tabs. So far, we’ve really only been using the “units” section under “learn.” Other programs, generally, use a more automated progression, whereas with PP it seems that the learner is being asked to take a more active role in manually selecting the different learning modalities and options (e.g. flashcards, smart review, etc.).

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! We definitely want to improve on giving users more guidance in how to work through the resources on the site.

The way it works right now is that the Units are ordered from level A1 up to level B2 topics. The early Units include phrases that will help you get by in basic conversations (greetings, please, thank you, basic introductions, etc). We generally recommend starting by going through the units in order if you are a beginner because it is set up to teach the grammar in a more logical order (i.e. starting from the basics and working up gradually to more advanced topics).

We don’t add travel phrases, etc, in the very beginning just because we think it would be confusing to be presented with so much advanced grammar without learning the basics first. That said, everyone has different goals, so if you’re trying to prepare for travel, it would definitely make sense to skip ahead. (You can always go back later if you want to.)

All of the units are unlocked from the beginning, so it is self-guided in that sense because you can veer from the original path to find what is most relevant for you. Here are a few links that might be helpful for more practical phrases related to travel and life in Portugal:

Travel and Transportation:
:woman_technologist: Places 1

:woman_technologist: Places 2

:woman_technologist: A Tour of Portugal

:woman_technologist: Travel and Transport

:woman_technologist: Take a Trip

:woman_technologist: Airplane

:woman_technologist: Hotel

:woman_technologist: Driving

:woman_technologist: Asking for Directions

:woman_technologist: Talking With Neighbours

:woman_technologist: Post Office

:woman_technologist: Bank

:woman_technologist: Supermarket

:woman_technologist: Hospital and Pharmacy

:speech_balloon: Travel/Transport Shorties

:studio_microphone: Travel/Transport Podcasts

:popcorn: Travel/Transport Videos

:speech_balloon::studio_microphone::popcorn: Places in Portugal Episodes

:speech_balloon::studio_microphone::popcorn: Lisbon Episodes

:speech_balloon::studio_microphone::popcorn: Porto Episodes

:speech_balloon::studio_microphone::popcorn: Algarve Episodes

You could think of it this way:

  • The Units make up the core of the program, giving you some structure by guiding you from A1 - B2 in order.
  • Smart Review is there for you to review as you go along. We recommend doing this regularly along with the Units to keep what you learn stored in your memory.
  • The Verbs section can be used as an extra reference, or if you come to a point where you want to focus more on verb conjugations, but otherwise it’s more separate.
  • The Shorties, Podcasts, and Videos are there to “dip into” as needed. Shorties are automatically worked into the end of each Unit, but you can get extra practice by using the additional Shorties, plus the Podcasts and Videos to build upon what you’ve learned in the Units and put it into practice in a way that is closer to real life. There is not really a progression for this Practice section, you are right. They are set up to let you browse by Level and Topic as you wish.

I hope this helps a bit to explain the current system at least! Let me know if you have any suggestions about making the progression more logical or more useful for you. :blush:


I learned Middle Eastern and Oriental Languages while in university and as a Foreign Service officer using everything from rote learning to immersive living. This is the method I would recommend to actually speak and understand in the shortest time. If you just want tourist sentences then go to the online tourist Portuguese sites. Unfortunately most will teach you Brazilian Portuguese. Google translate is great for just getting simple sentences you can memorize and doesn’t cost a thing. Besides, most Portuguese under 40 speak excellent English. it is courtesy to speak Portuguese in Portugal and I applaud your efforts.


Hi Oscar:
I started at lesson one and worked my way along. It takes time but I started practicing simple phrases, having imaginary conversations with myself! I also found it helpful to write out small phrases in Portuguese as if I were in a cafe, for example. Later on I went back on these and was even able to correct any mistakes!
Continua e não desistas! Pouco a pouco!


That’s very helpful, thanks, Molly.

1 Like

Many Portuguese speak English. Many are shy about doing so. Many do not speak English. Some won’t speak English. Some don’t speak English.

1 Like

True unless you live in the Algarve where I do. Tourism is most important there.