Spoken in ten countries and by 270 million people, chances are high that you might encounter the Portuguese language while you travel. Whether you’re exploring Portugal, Brazil, or even Mozambique, you should learn some of the local lingoes before you set off on your trip.
Most travelers are anxious about encountering a language barrier, but with a little practice, you can learn to speak Portuguese like a pro. With essential words and phrases memorized, you’re more likely to make authentic connections to locals and their culture.
In modern times, the invention of apps, websites, and games has made it easier to learn a foreign language. However, travelers may still struggle to learn beginner Portuguese because of the language’s vast amount of vocabulary.
Our article is designed to help you learn and identify basic Portuguese, so you can communicate with ease while you travel. Travelers should refer to this guide as their survival kit to beginner Portuguese. With all the key phrases and words identified and translated, we want to give you a head start with learning Portuguese.
Countries that speak Portuguese:
Every language uses Pronouns to identify and speak about people. Whether you’re referring to yourself or others, it is important to learn Portuguese pronouns. Not only will pronouns help you communicate, they can also assist you with demonstrating your respect to others by identifying a person by their proper pronoun.
Confidence is important when speaking and travelers need to be able to speak their pronouns clearly. In Portuguese, there are formal and informal pronouns, so it is important to learn how to properly address someone. If you are ever unsure of which pronouns to use, the best default is to be respectful by using formal pronouns. Later, a person can grant their permission to be addressed informally.
- I, Me — Eu
- You (Informal) — Tu
- You (Formal) — Vós
- He, Him — Ele
- She, Her — Ela
- They, Them (Masculine) — Eles
- They, Them (Feminine) — Elas
Travelers are naturally curious, which means that they tend to ask a lot of questions. These are the most used question words that can be used to communicate with locals. With these words, you can ask for recommendations, directions, and general information.
- Who? — Quem?
- What? — O que?
- When? — Quando?
- Where? — Onde?
- Why? — Por que?
- How? — Como?
Respect goes a long way with people and a great way to be respectful to locals is by greeting them in their own language. These are some common greetings, which can help you greet and interact with others in Portuguese.
- Hello — Olá
- Good morning — Bom dia
- Good afternoon — Boa tarde
- Good evening — Boa noite
- Nice to meet you — Prazer em conhecê-lo
- Nice to see you — É bom te ver
- Welcome — Bem-vinda
- What is your name? (Informal) — Qual é o seu nome?
- What is your name? (Formal) — Como o senhor se chama?
- My name is… — Me chamo…
At the opposite end of greetings are farewells. Saying goodbye is the most polite thing to do when you are leaving a conversation and it helps you positively part ways. Here are a few different ways to say goodbye in Portuguese.
- Goodbye — Adeus
- Goodbye — Tchau
- See you later — Até logo
- See you soon — Até breve
- See you tomorrow — Até amanhã
- Have a good day — Tenha um bom dia
- Take care — Cuide-se
Small Talk — Feelings
Naturally, most conversations drift further than a simple “hello” or “goodbye”. These phrases are all appropriate ways to ask how a person is doing or feeling in Portuguese. Travelers can also use some of these phrases as a greeting when they meet new people.
- How are you? (Informal) — Tudo bem?
- How are you? (Formal) — Como esta?
- How have you been? — Tem passado bem?
- What’s up? — E aí?
- I am fine, how are you? — Eu estou bem, como vai você?
- Good, and you? — Bem e você?
Small Talk — More Responses
Locals may also ask about your feelings and it is important for travelers to be able to respond to the age-old question, “how are you”. Here are some of the most popular ways to state your feelings in Portuguese. To be even more polite, you may want to finish the sentence with “de nada” or “you’re welcome”.
- I am very well. — Eu estou muito bem.
- I am so-so. — Eu estou tão tão.
- I am a little tired. — Eu estou um pouco cansado.
- I am sick. — Eu estou doente.
Courtesy words can be used to show your respect to locals, their language and culture. These are the most common courtesy words in Portuguese, which can be used in a conversation or to ask for assistance.
- Please — Por favor
- Please — Se faz favor
- Thank you — Obrigado
- Thank you very much — Muito obrigado
- You’re welcome — De nada
- I am sorry — Desculpe
- Excuse me — Com licença
- Mister — Senhor
- Misses — Senhora
- Miss — Senhorita
In-depth conversations tend to stray further than the basic “how are you”. These are some of the most common phrases and questions that you will likely hear while you travel. A few of these phrases can also assist you in seeking help or directions from locals.
- How old are you? — Quantos anos você tem?
- Where are you from? — De onde você é?
- I am from… — Eu sou de…
- What time is it? — Que horas são?
- How much does this cost? — Quanto custa isso?
- Who are you? — Quem é você?
- What is this? — O que é isso?
- Do you understand? — Você entende?
- Do you speak English? — Você fala inglês?
- Where is the bathroom? (Brazil) — Onde fica o banheiro?
- Where is the bathroom (Europe/Portugal) — Onde fica a casa de banho?
- I need help. — Preciso de sua ajuda.
- Enjoy your meal — Bom apetite
- Cheers — Saúde
- Well done — Bem feito
- Don’t worry — Não se preocupe
Common and Useful Words
These are some of the most commonly used words in the Portuguese language, which are essential for your personal dictionary. Travelers should memorize these words, so they can clearly communicate their wants or needs.
- Yes — Sim
- No — Não
- Of course — Claro
- Always — Sempre
- Sometimes — Às vezes
- Maybe — Talvez
- Never — Nunca
- Left — Esquerda
- Right — Direita
- Stop — Pare
- Hotel — Hotel
- Taxi — Táxi
- Food — Comida
- Water — Água
- Check or bill — A conta
Most people use labels to describe objects and places. Color is one of the best ways to clearly label an object or place, so knowing the colors in Portuguese is important. Locals may also provide directions based on the color of a building or landmark.
- Red — Vermelho
- Orange — Laranja
- Yellow — Amarelo
- Green — Verde
- Blue — Azul
- Purple — Roxo
- Pink — Rosa
- Black — Preto
- White — Branco
- Grey — Cinza
- Brown — Marrom
Days of the Week
When you’re trying to manage your traveling schedule, a few words that can come in handy are the days of the week. Travelers can reduce the risk of confusion or error in their schedules by memorizing the days of the week. This can help you clarify dates or reservations with local establishments while you travel.
- Day — Dia
- Week — Semana
- Monday — Segunda-feira
- Tuesday — Terça-feira
- Wednesday — Quarta-feira
- Thursday — Quinta-feira
- Friday — Sexta-feira
- Saturday — Sábado
- Sunday — Domingo
We’ve covered many Portuguese words and phrases, but here are just a few more that you can add to your dictionary. These phrases are less common, but you might hear them while you are traveling.
- Okay — Ok
- Come here — Venha aqui
- My love — Meu amor
- I love you — Eu te amo
- What are you doing? — O que você está fazendo?
- Very good — Muito bom
Practice Makes Perfect
Language barriers don’t have to curb your enthusiasm for travel. Anyone can learn basic Portuguese with a little hard work and patience. With the most common Portuguese words and phrases locked into your memory, you can travel with confidence and explore new worlds.
Practice makes perfect and speaking out loud is essential for travelers who are trying to learn Portuguese. While mistakes make seem scary, locals will understand and appreciate your efforts to learn their language. By conversing in Portuguese, you can also receive help with your pronunciation, so you can become even more skilled at conversing with native speakers.