Is Portuguese the hardest language to learn?
- Thursday July 30th, 2020
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Learn the Portuguese Language and Portuguese Grammar
Learning a new language is never an easy thing to do. It is definitely a challenge. We often hear people saying Portuguese is the hardest language to learn. But is that really true? We are pretty sure any language has its features, peculiarities, and degrees of difficulty.
In a globalized world, the more languages you speak, the better. Speaking different languages is not only good for business, after all. It is also a great ally for making connections, meeting new people and cultures. Not to mention it makes traveling around the globe much easier.
The difficulty one may have to learn a new language will depend on different factors. For example, the languages that said person already speaks. Someone who speaks Spanish, Italian, or French ends up learning Portuguese much quicker, without major difficulties. Since all of these languages come from the Latin family, they are quite similar in both structure and vocabulary.
A Japanese speaker, on the other hand, will probably find Portuguese quite difficult, as there are not so many similarities between the two languages. Therefore, an Asian student may struggle when looking for those similarities to make their understanding easier. But that doesn’t mean they cannot effectively learn Portuguese as well. It will probably just take a few more classes for them to get the hang of it.
In other words: speakers of each language will find different difficulties in learning Portuguese.
A few difficulties a foreign student may have when learning Portuguese:
The Portuguese language features lots of nasal sounds. Nasal vowels and diphthongs, such as ‘ã’, ‘om’, ‘ãe’, and ’em’ may be hard to pronounce. ‘Pão’ is one of the words our students find the most difficult to pronounce. Especially because this is a tricky one — mispronounce ‘pão’ and you might embarrass yourself. Check this blog post if you want to know why.
Portuguese can be complex because of all of the conjugation of verbs. But after a while, you understand that regular verbs have similar patterns and it gets easier. Of course, the irregular verbs will be more difficult for anyone to learn, but we are sure you will get the hang of it eventually.
If you are focusing your studies on written Portuguese, you might struggle with a few words. Like, why do we write the word ‘casa’ with S if it sounds like Z? Your teacher will help you understand all of those things!
Brazil is a huge country and the Portuguese language shows great variation across regions. The way people speak in Santa Catarina is much different from the way locals speak in Pernambuco. Even though São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are close in proximity, the regional accents are much different in each state. But don’t worry if you find it hard to understand Portuguese when visiting other parts of Brazil. Even Brazilians sometimes struggle to understand the different accents around the country.
Portuguese is known for having lots of ‘false friends’. These are words that sound the same but have completely different meanings. Teacher Lennon has made a video on Caminhos’ IGTV about false friends in Portuguese. Check it out!
Rules & exceptions
Believe us! For each rule in Portuguese grammar, there will be at least one exception for it! Even well-educated native Brazilians will speak or write in bad Portuguese once in a while because of this. Follow the hashtag #CaminhosTips on Instagram or Facebook and learn amazing tips so you improve your Portuguese even more. We have new interesting tips for you every week.
It’s not rocket science
You might struggle with the pronunciation or understanding at first. But if you keep your motivation high and make learning Portuguese fun for yourself, there is no reason why you shouldn’t succeed.
Caminhos Language Centre offers a great variety of Portuguese courses — you can choose the one that fits you better. Our Portuguese group courses are a fun and interactive way to learn Portuguese in a relaxed group environment. Private classes are tailored to your individual needs — you can choose the time, location, and focus of your classes. The Rio Immersion program is an exciting and dynamic Portuguese class outside the school, where you can explore the city of Rio de Janeiro while learning the language. The Celpe-Bras training is a private class focused on the Celpe-Bras exam preparation. And if you are in Brazil for a short period, our Survival Portuguese Course of 4 hours will help you with the basics of Brazilian Portuguese so you can travel around the country.
Join the Caminhos family! Book your classes now!