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Portuguese Beginners (Year 1) Short Course

Key information

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Learn at a moderate pace with our Portuguese Beginners short course. Starting in October, you will progress through three modules over a one-year period.

Why choose this course?

Whether you're learning Portuguese for travelling, working abroad or with foreign companies, the Portuguese Beginners course will enable you to communicate confidently on a basic level in everyday situations, socialise and not feel out of place in the country you are visiting.

This short course is an introduction to the Portuguese language and way of life for the purpose of practical communication. Challenging but rewarding, the course is perfectly suited to those looking to develop a basic command of Portuguese.

The course consists of one evening class a week, for a total of 30 weeks; spread across three modules, which is ideal for those with various commitments or working full-time.

All of our language short courses are taught by qualified native speakers and delivered at City, University of London’s main campus, in the heart of the capital.

Course overview

You'll develop essential speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as well as a solid understanding of the structure of the language.

Upon completion of all three modules you will be able to introduce yourself and others in Portuguese, deal with everyday situations in restaurants, hotels, shops and at the doctor’s, talk about future plans, past experiences and daily routines, along with other basic skills related to daily life situations.

Please note that the focus of the course is on Brazilian Portuguese, although this course allows for some references to European Portuguese.

Is it the right level for me?

If you have no prior knowledge of Portuguese you must start with Module One, which takes place in October term.

If you have some basic knowledge of Portuguese and you are already familiar with the content of Module One you may choose to enrol on Module Two or Module Three. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

Please make sure you have the correct level by using our online guidelines.

  • “ The tutor's [Joyce Vinocur] teaching style ensured that I learned the language. ”

    Louisa Chastney

    Former student

  • “ It was useful to be able to practice pronunciation and learn vocabulary under supervision. Very comfortable environment. Thank you. ”

    Arnelle Vieira


What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Module 1

Topics covered

  • First contact;
  • Names;
  • Nationalities;
  • Address;
  • Professions;
  • Numbers;
  • Meeting other people;
  • Telling the time;
  • Leisure activities;
  • Restaurant;
  • Bar;
  • Invitations;
  • Food;
  • At the table.

Grammatical structures

  • Verbs: regular -ar/-er, ser, ir, poder, ter, gostar de, estar and querer;
  • Feminine and masculine nouns;
  • Personal pronouns;
  • Possessive pronouns;
  • Demonstrative pronouns;
  • Preposition + article;
  • Future in 'ir'.

Learning objectives

  • Meeting people;
  • Listening and responding to requests for personal detail;
  • Spelling;
  • Communicating in class;
  • Inviting and accepting/declining invitations;
  • Asking and telling the time;
  • Asking for information;
  • Ordering food and drink;
  • Thanking somebody.

Module 2

Topics covered

  • Hotel reservations;
  • Problems with service;
  • Directions;
  • Traffic signs;
  • Homes;
  • Estate agent's;
  • Daily life in Brazil;
  • Special dates in Brazil;
  • Brazilian art and poetry.

Grammatical structures

  • Verbs: regular -ir, fazer, preferir;
  • Past simple of regular -ar/-er/-ir, ser, estar, ir, ter, fazer, querer, poder, dar;
  • Possessive pronouns dele/a;
  • Comparatives;
  • Prepositions of place, prepositions of time;
  • Direct object pronouns.

Learning objectives

  • Expressing preference, desire, doubt, happiness, unhappiness;
  • Giving and understanding directions;
  • Making complaints;
  • Describing objects;
  • Making comparisons;
  • Saying where things are;
  • Describing past activities;
  • Talking about the daily routine.

Module 3

Topics covered

  • Parts of the body;
  • Health;
  • Sport;
  • Character;
  • Brazilian art;
  • Work;
  • Jobs;
  • Career;
  • Clothes;
  • Social meaning of clothes;
  • Invitations;
  • Past events; cultural differences.

Grammatical structures

  • Verbs: ver, ter que, precisar, por, vir, vestir X vestir-se;
  • Past imperfect: routine in the past, description in the past, simultaneous actions in the past, background action;
  • Future;
  • Conditional.

Learning objectives

  • Describing people;
  • Expressing taste, likes and dislikes, desire, worry;
  • Talking about health;
  • Giving and defending an opinion; disagreeing;
  • Offering help;
  • Giving advice.



Prerequisite knowledge

Modules are taught at progressive levels, if you have no prior knowledge you must start at Module One in the autumn (October).

If you wish to join Module Two of the Portuguese short course (in January), you must have completed Module One or be familiar with the content taught in Module One, specified in the What will I learn? section.

If you wish to enrol on Module Three of the short course (in April/May), you must have completed both Module One and Module Two or be familiar with the content taught in these two modules, found in the What will I learn? section.

Please check your level by using our online guidelines before enrolling.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

The emphasis in this course is on listening and speaking. The lessons focus on language that is required in authentic situations.

There is no formal assessment and no qualification is issued at the end of the course, but you will be awarded an official City, University of London certificate on completion of the course. You must attend over 70 per cent of the classes to be eligible for the certificate.

Classroom activities will include:

  • Role-playing
  • classroom discussion
  • pair and group work
  • work on pronunciation and intonation
  • grammar in context.

Listening to audio clips and watching videos are an important element in our lessons.

More comprehensive grammar exercises and reading texts are generally set as homework. All evaluation will take place in a relaxed and informal setting.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Units 1-10 are covered in the textbook

Avenida Brasil 1, Emma Eberlein O.F. Lima,E.P.U (ISBN 8512547006) - new edition with CD, ISBN: 978 8512 545202.

Students are advised to purchase their own copy of the book available from most major bookshops.

Tutor information

  • Joyce Vinocur

    Joyce Vinocur has a BA in Literature and Translation (Mackenzie, Brasil, 1999) and a CELTA teacher qualification (City and Islington, 2005). She has taught both English and Portuguese in various institutions in London such as City and Islington, Rainbow Language in Business and at City, University of London since April 2007.

    She has eight years' experience teaching Portuguese as a foreign language including preparing diplomats for their roles in Brazil and Africa, and with law firms such as Linklaters and Clifford Chance. She has also experience of group tuition as an ESOL tutor.

Next steps

This Intermediate Portuguese Short Evening Course is the ideal course for Portuguese learners with some formal study wanting to develop their language skills further.…