There are many apps out there that students can use to support their learning of Brazilian Portuguese. Here is my review of just some of them.
Do you use any apps to help you learn Portuguese? If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments box.
1. Portuguese Dictionary & Translator - Ascendo Inc.
If I had to recommend just one app to students of Brazilian Portuguese this would be it. It’s a fantastic all-rounder, an extremely useful tool for learners of Portuguese (both Brazilian and European).
The dictionary is one of the best available in the market, with excellent features such as pronunciation of words (you can select the accent you want in the settings, Brazilian or European – ios version) and the ability to add notes.
But the app is much more than just a dictionary – it’s also a phrasebook (perfect for those going to Brazil on holiday), a verb conjugator (essential for students), fun vocabulary quizzes, translator and flash cards.
There are a lot of Portuguese learning apps out there and they are mostly put together very quickly, obviously with the intention to make a quick buck, but you can see that there was a lot of thought put behind this one. It’s also very intuitive with a simple and clean interface.
By far the best app for students of Portuguese.
The standard app is free, but the yearly subscription gives you access to the extended versions of the dictionary, phrasebook and verb conjugator.
2. Learn Portuguese - Tudo Bem
Good vocabulary builder app. The sound is clear and the interface looks quite polished. The game doesn’t give you the right answer when you click on the wrong option, so you need to click on all of them until it tells you it’s the right one. Extensive selection of words and categories. It looks very nice and it’s a great tool to expand your vocabulary.
3. Portuguese Class - Ceardannan
This app covers vocabulary, verbs, grammar and phrases with a good variety of exercises. However, the audio features requires the (paid) installation of SVox Voice, which is a bit fiddly and not that great. The interface looks quite basic, there’s still room for improvement.
4. LEARN PORTUGUESE PHRASES - PORTUGUESE TRANSLATOR - Bravolol
Duolingo needs no introduction. It’s a hugely popular app, loved by many. It looks great and it does a fantastic job of using gamification to keep users engaged. One of the problems I have with the app is that there are quite a lot of phrases that are just so random you would never actually use them in real life. The other problem I have with the app is the lack of grammatical explanations, included in the learning flow. Emphasis on communication and pronunciation is fine, but there has to be some explanation on grammar and structure. If there is one thing that I do like about it is the feedback it gives you on pronunciation.
6. HELLO-HELLO PORTUGUESE (£9.99) Also available for iphone/ipad
It’s divided into three levels of 10 lessons. Each lesson is a dialog, which can be broken down into “get the meaning”, “now you say it”, “now you write it”, “build your vocab” and “let’s practice”. It’s OK for students who already have some knowledge of Portuguese structure who want to expand their vocabulary.
Background noise on the recordings, no structure and grammar sections. The dialogues are quite advanced, even on lesson 1, which is supposed to be for beginners. Each lesson has to be downloaded individually which can be annoying and time consuming.
It looks quite polished but the “lessons” are not really lessons, just vocabulary building exercises, no sections on grammar or structure.
7. U TALK BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE - Eurotalk
8. PORTUGUESE TRANSLATOR DICTIONARY - GreenLife Apps
Good dictionary. However, the adverts and regular messages asking you to purchase the full version are annoying. Also the “Play translation” feature didn’t work most of the times I tried and when it did work the voice sounded quite robotic. There is a paid ad-free version.
9. PORTUGUESE VERBS – Robert Muth
Verb conjugator. It only gives you the basic meaning of each verb. It requires you to install Portuguese Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine from external vendor, but even after I did it I still had problems with the glitchy pronunciation feature. The paid version is supposed to have a few more features, such as grammar section and off-line mode.
10. PORTUGUESE VERB TRAINER - Robert Muth
Advanced students can use it to test their knowledge of verb tenses. On each screen there is a verb, a tense and a pronoun and you are supposed to conjugate (to yourself – there’s no way to input the answer) and then check it if you were right or wrong. The interface looks very basic. A good idea for a language app, but poorly executed.