Language apps to get you ready for that trip to Brazil

May 30, 2017

Language apps for Brazil

When it comes to visiting Brazil, there are two things everyone needs to know.

1) How to shout at football referees (“Oí, árbitro! Cadê o penalty?” aka “Hey, ref! Where’s the penalty?” in case you were wondering)


2) How to show off the phenomenal scenery of your surroundings while you’re there. You know, the beaches, the AMAZON, the thriving art scene and the country’s mouthwatering food culture. Naturally you want to flaunt your amazing holiday to your friends back home. To make them jealous. Let’s not even try to pretend your motives are purer than that.

You’re in luck, because we’re here to help you learn Portuguese AND be the envy of your friends’ social media feeds. And you barely need even lift a finger. Y’know, just enough to download a few apps and book your plane tix.

We’ve expanded our ever-popular Go Roam and, as of 15 June, are adding Brazil, Singapore and the French West Indies to our roster of destinations where you can use your phone abroad as if you were at home.

Tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking to your heart’s content. Not getting lost en route to dinner because you can access CityMapper on your phone. Snapping photos of everything, all the time, and WhatsApping them to friends and fam back home. And checking language apps on the go so that you know how to explain your peanut allergy to your waiter.

Yep, roaming free is now available to you with Go Roam – now covering over 70 countries.

Oh – and in case you’re planning a jaunt to the USA, New Zealand or Australia this summer (where you can also roam free with Go Roam), don’t miss Korean Billy’s tutorial on all the slang you need to know.

Now, all you need to do is check out these language apps so you can Go Roam in Brazil. Or wherever you are.

É o jeitinho brasileiro. You’ll know what that means, soon. And then maybe you can tell us.

Go Roam Brazil

Tandem, iOS and Google Play, free

This language-exchange app turns language learning from a solitary process into a fun social interaction. Not only does it connect you with a native speaker in your chosen language, you can chat about your fave films or books with people in over 150 countries. If you’re looking for more intensive one-to-one learning, book in with a tutor for a 20, 40 or 60-minute sesh. You’ll soon be using slang like ‘legal’ with confidence.

Busuu, ios and Google Play, free

Another foreign-language learning app that’ll get you uni-equivalent credentials (according to a study conducted by the City University of New York, 22 hours with the app is akin to a semester of college language study), Busuu covers comprehensive lessons on everything including speaking, key phrases, writing and grammar. Bonus: it works offline, so you can practice anytime, anywhere. A Busuu premium service (from $5.41/month), connects you with other native speakers and gives you full access to 12 different language courses, if you’re feeling ambitious.

Apps for your trip to Brazil

Duolingo, ios, Google Play, Windows, free

One of the gamified language apps that’ll teach you Portuguese in daily five-minute sessions, with playful graphics, rewards and repetition, Duolingo has also been proven to work. In fact, research has found that 34 hours spent with the app is equivalent to a semester’s worth of a language (Spanish, in the study) at university. With 23 languages to choose from, you’ll have plenty of options for when you’re fluent in Portuguese and ready to move on to Russian, French or German. There’s also a playful Bots feature inside the app which allows you to practice real-life conversations and perfect the turns of phrase you’ll be needing most. Like, how to say “I’ll need 20 of those beijinho de coco (coconut kisses) please – stat.”

Babbel, ios and Google Play, free to try (then starting at £8.95 a month)

Using tried-and-tested educational methods, online programme Babbel teaches you your language of choice through accessible, highly visual lessons. Since you’re required to pay to access your full course (either for one month, three months or six months), you may find you’re more motivated to use your commute to train up.

Rosetta Stone, ios and Google Play, free

One of the originals when it comes to language learning software, Rosetta Stone is the programme used by NASA and US State Department Officials. So we imagine it can teach us how to say “Another caipirinha, please” and other such essentials for our upcoming Rio trip. Rosetta Stone also offers a Live Tutoring app – where you can reinforce your learning with the help of a native speaker coach  – and offers English-Spanish kids’ apps.

AnkiApp Flashcards, ios and Google Play, free

Anki applies the concept of ‘spaced repetition’ – the idea that spacing learning over time with frequent repetition can help you remember things better – to memorising a new language. You can access pre-made flashcards to help you learn your language, or make up decks of your own.

Word Reference, ios and Google Play, free

A useful dictionary in your pocket so you can find the word you need at a moment’s notice.

FluentU, ios free

OK, so this one won’t technically teach you Portuguese – yet –  but it’s worth a mention, especially if you subscribe to the philosophy that watching Japanese anime cartoons can actually teach you Japanese. Which we do, naturally. FluentU teaches you your language of choice by pooling together the web’s best video content for you to watch and learn. And as we all know, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a new language than 24/7 video watching. It’s basically what you spend most of your time on your phone doing anyway, just in a different language. This app may turn us all into linguistic geniuses.

Main pic: Via Getty/Alexander Spatari