Portuguese 1: Beginners


This interactive course provides an introduction to the language and culture of Portugal. It is for complete beginners as well as those who have learnt some Portuguese expressions and phrases through travel or socialising.

The course content is equivalent to level A1+ of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The topics and grammar knowledge will enable students to communicate in a basic range of everyday situations relating to personal needs, and the cultural information will help understand simple references to the most common aspects of the culture and everyday life in the countries where Portuguese is spoken.

The class activities will focus on listening, speaking and the exploration of culture; and students will be encouraged to practise reading and writing skills in their own time. There will be plenty of opportunities to interact in the target language, leading to the development of the four language skills as well as learning basic grammar structures.

Programme details

The content presented below is an indication of what is expected to be covered during the course; there might be minor readjustments to the specific features of the class and its pace.

Course starts: 30 Sept 2021

Week 1: Apresentação I. Brief introductions.

  • Portuguese varieties on the map
  • Greetings and farewells
  • The alphabet, some diphthongs and digraphs 


Week 2: Apresentação II. Introducing each other.

  • Asking for and giving personal information
  • Introducing one another
  • Numbers 0-20
  • Ways of addressing people according to their social contexts


Week 3: Fala português? Asking and answering direct questions.

  • The usage of verb forms for affirmative answers
  • Verb(s) to be: ser vs. estar


Week 4: Onde fica o hotel? Describing public spaces and locations.

  • Prepositions of space
  • Adjectives: synonyms and antonyms


Week 5: Arrenda-se Apartamento. Reading adverts for housing.

  • Describing houses and furniture
  • Numbers 21-100


Week 6: Dia a dia. Describing daily routines.

  • Main meals; parts of the day
  • Asking and telling the time
  • Describing daily routines
  • Prepositions of time


Week 7: Queria um café, por favor! Going to the restaurant/café/hotel.

  • Making requests and reservations
  • Expressing preferences
  • Payments
  • Making and answering a phone call

No Class on 18th November - Half Term


Week 8: Revisões. Consolidation.


Week 9: Normalmente. E agora? Talking about actions in the present (usually vs. now).

  • Simple Present vs. Estar a + Infinitive
  • Numbers 101-1000


Week 10:  Feliz Natal! Boas férias! Christmas and other festive celebrations and traditions.

  • A festive message
  • Language games


Course reconvenes: 27 Jan 2022

Week 11:  Queres ir ao concerto? Inviting, accepting, refusing, apologising.

  • Simple present of some irregular verbs
  • Ter de + Infinitive


Week 12:  Dou-te boleia até ao parque? Further suggestions.

  • Interrogatives
  • Means of transport
  • Some prepositions of movement


Week 13:  O que costumas fazer ao fim de semana? E o que vais fazer no próximo? Usual actions vs. plans for the future.

  • Simple Present vs. Ir + Infinitive


Week 14:  Querida Rute, há quanto tempo não nos vemos? Writing a letter/an email.

  • Há quanto tempo…? [For how long…?]
  • Desde quando…? [Since when...?]


Week 15:  Vais para o Algarve? Making plans for the holidays.

  • Seasons and the weather
  • Prepositions of time
  • Com + personal pronouns  
  • Adjectives: comparative and superlative degrees

No Class 3rd March - Half Term

Week 16:  Viagem à Serra da Estrela. Discussing hobbies and leisure activities.

  • Clothes and colours
  • The possessives


Week 17:  Faça Exercício! At the doctor’s surgery.

  • Body parts and physical description
  • Simple Present of verbs dar and doer
  • Imperative 


Week 18:  A minha família. Family members and relationships / Revisões. Consolidation.

  • Describing character


Week 19:  Queria enviar esta carta, por favor! Shops and services.

  • Variable demonstratives
  • Indefinite pronouns
  • Prepositions + Personal pronouns


Week 20:  Desculpe, podia indicar-me o caminho para o Parque das Nações, por favor? Asking for and giving directions.

  • Roleplays and language games


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course fee £385.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Ms Ângela Sarmento-Dingsdale

Ângela Sarmento-D. is an experienced teacher of Portuguese for English speakers and of English as a foreign language. She holds a degree in Modern Languages and Literatures (Portuguese and English Studies) and an MA in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, from the University of Porto. During the curricular stage of her PhD, for two semesters, she attended courses at Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris), where she developed work in the field of Comparative Literature and Interartistic Studies. Currently, she is teaching Portuguese Language and Culture at the University of Oxford and is a research member of ILC-ML [Margarida Losa’s Institute for Comparative Literature], in Porto. Ângela celebrates diversity and chooses to teach language(s) with an interartistic and intercultural approach.

Course aims

The course aims to provide students with little or no previous knowledge of Portuguese an introduction to simple everyday language and culture of the Portuguese-speaking countries.

Course Objectives

  • To develop the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing for simple interaction in Portuguese.
  • To equip students with basic information about the culture and daily life of the Portuguese-speaking countries.
  • To familiarize students with basic vocabulary and grammar structures to understand simple short texts such as notices and adverts.

Teaching methods

All the Departments' language courses adopt the communicative teaching method with a focus on interactive tasks and activities, role-plays, and pair/group work in a friendly and informal atmosphere. Students will be encouraged to participate and have fun.

The emphasis in class is on interacting in the target language, practising listening speaking and grammar structures, as well as exploring the culture. Students are encouraged to develop their reading and writing skills in their own time.

Learning outcomes

The following are brief indicators of what students should be able to do in each of the skills

Speaking (S), Listening (L), Reading (R), and Writing (W) by the end of the individual stages:


S - Participate in simple everyday conversation made up of familiar language

L - Understand simple messages and conversations

R - Obtain specific information from simple written texts

W - Produce simple, short texts using limited structures and vocabulary items

Assessment methods

Most tutors will set weekly assignments to consolidate learning and allow students to study at their own pace. Some of these assignments, which may include testing listening and speaking skills, will count towards formally assessing the students' progress.

In general, students are required to submit for assessment a variety of exercises and/or shorter pieces of work. They will also have the opportunity to complete one or more optional tasks to benefit from tutor feedback.

Credits gained from the successful completion of this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher education in other subjects.

Due to the continuous assessment required for language classes, students must submit one completed Declaration of Authorship form per term. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands