As we have mentioned before in our blog post Is Portuguese the hardest language to learn?, learning a new language is never an easy thing to do. You will find different degrees of difficulty when learning any second language. And the difficulty or ease of learning a language will differ from people to people. So, how long does it take to learn Portuguese?
The short and frustrating answer is: it depends!
At Caminhos, you can reach the Advanced level in 16 weeks. But this also depends on other factors as well. It is not guaranteed that you will reach fluency within that time.
If we think about language similarities, someone who speaks romance languages (or Latin languages), such as Spanish, Italian, or French, ends up learning Portuguese much quicker than an English or Japanese-speaker. However, that also does not mean they cannot effectively learn Portuguese as quickly as well.
For bilinguals, it is also easier to pick up on a new language. The same thing works for kids. Young children have an incredible ability to learn a new language really fast.
In the end, it all comes back to your personal efforts. Learning a new language is a complex process. It all depends on your motivations, the amount of time you dedicate to your studies, the practice of Portuguese outside of the classroom, your interaction with the culture…
How long does it take to learn Portuguese at Caminhos?
Portuguese levels at Caminhos
At Caminhos, our courses are divided into 9 different levels, from Beginner (A1) to Advanced (C), including a special course for Latin-speakers (L). These levels are a very important factor in our methodology. That way, we can make sure there is a healthy level of differentiation between you and your classmates.
If you enroll in Portuguese group courses at Caminhos, it takes two weeks to complete each level. Of course, that also depends on different factors. If your teacher thinks you are not ready to move on a level, they will ask you to retake that class for a couple more weeks.
During our course, you will participate in 20 hours of intensive Portuguese language classes per week. Expect each day to be filled with a variety of reading, writing, listening, and grammar activities, in which you will be stimulated and encouraged to practice your Portuguese. Our teachers focus on speaking, as we use the communicative approach as our methodology.
That being said, if you study hard, practice Portuguese outside the classroom, pay attention to proper grammar, and, most importantly, if it is easier for you to learn a new language, you might complete the entire Portuguese course within 16 weeks.
Find the best Portuguese course for you
Maybe group courses are not the ideal Portuguese course for you. Maybe you feel pressure from other students in your class. Or maybe you feel the pace of the class is too slow. Some people show much more improvement when they have one-on-one private Portuguese classes; with tailor-made lessons designed specifically for their needs and interests.
You may also consider immersion classes, when you learn Portuguese while out and about, exploring the city. That way you can learn the basic structure of Portuguese and have a teacher guiding you through daily life, speaking Portuguese with people on the streets, and visiting tourist attractions.
Caminhos offers free extracurricular activities for its students every day of the week. We encourage you to speak only Portuguese during these activities, so you maximize your studies, even when you are outside the classroom. Caminhos free activities include beach volleyball matches, city tours, caipirinha parties, conversation meetings, and more.
How long does it take to be fluent in Portuguese?
There are many factors that contribute to a student reaching fluency in a language. The most important thing is to experience the language on a daily basis, to make it a definite part of your routine.
Make friends and immerse in the culture
If you are learning Portuguese in Brazil, make the most of your stay and practice. Make Brazilian friends, listen to Brazilian music, read local newspapers, watch Brazilian shows on TV. It is important that you are constantly exposed to Portuguese. This will give you the chance to keep learning the language by just living it.
You can also follow Brazilian celebrities on social media. Watch their videos, get to know a bit about their work. It is important to be familiarized with fast-paced pronunciations and popular expressions in Brazilian Portuguese.
Watch movies and TV shows in Portuguese
We have made a list of the best Brazilian movies you should watch. Take advantage of that and try to watch without subtitles. If you do not feel confident enough, at least avoid using subtitles in your mother tongue and look for Portuguese subtitles.
Caminhos is also making weekly videos on Instagram about the Portuguese language and the Brazilian culture. Watch our videos and get used to the speech rate and the different accents of our teachers. After all, there are numerous accents in Brazil and you would want to be familiarized with as many as possible. By doing so, you can better communicate with people from all over the country.
Learn Portuguese slang
If you are looking for fluency in Portuguese, you might want to understand the street talk. Brazilians are very informal people. They will use slang and popular expressions when talking to you without even noticing it. And you would not want to ask them to explain those expressions to you all the time. We have made an ultimate list of carioca slang so you can get familiarized with the Brazilian informal way of speaking.
Live the language
In the end, the most important question to ask is not ‘How long does it take to learn Portuguese?’, but ‘How can I learn Portuguese efficiently?’
Live the language: experience the different dialects, slang, popular expressions. Do not be afraid of saying something wrong. Brazilians love to help foreigners with their Portuguese. Take advantage of that and make the most of your staying in Brazil to learn Portuguese!