(Scene from INTENSIVO)
The best way to learn Portuguese.

The best way to learn Portuguese is with Stories.

Q: What's so special about a story?

A: Plenty.

Whats going on in the scene pictured above? It looks like someone might be in a situation. Is she mad at him? Even the two women off to the side look agitated. Does she even know the guy? Is the man in white shorts getting mixed up in this too? And, what is up with the calf tattoos? Are the musicians going to carry on or perhaps switch to a song that fits the mood better?

We are all hardwired to find stories more memorable than just plain facts. When we hear a story being told our brains light up. Suddenly, we’re processing emotions and images, trying to make sense of it all. We’re learning!

Your mother probably told you a story something like this: Eat your spinach and you'll grow up big & strong. The unique thing about this little story is that, (1) it had context, and (2) it had purpose. The concepts of growing-up, of becoming big & strong, and most importantly the connection these have with eating.

The process of hearing words in-context super-charges the learning process. A decent story automatically gives context to the words. Their meaning becomes clear. Even if, for example, the idea "growing up" wasn't well-understood, one or two more examples like this and the word becomes truly fixed in the person's mind. Forever.

Get Started.

The best way to learn Portuguese is with stories. Stories of real life. Real life is always contextual.

Even complex skills such as describing an event, or asking a question, are quickly mastered using this method. And what's learned is remembered. Forever!

What about immersion? Isn't that the best approach? Well, sim & não. If you have the time to learn slowly, and in Brazil... maybe. But many of our students are people that have moved to Brazil and are having a hard time getting anywhere with everyone speaking quickly and with lots of expressions thrown in.

I struggled to remember the difference between abacaxi and abacate (pineapple & avocado). I had already "memorized" them with my flashcard deck. Both are fruit, but juicing an avocado is not a great idea! Asking the store clerk where the I could find the avocados, she gave me that raised-eyebrow look letting me know I'd used the wrong word. She guided me to the avocados, then to the pineapple. Holding each in raised hands she looked at one and said "abacate", then the other - "abacaxi". I've never ever forgotten these words since that moment. The flashcard deck had no context. The store did. It makes all the difference 🤓.

It's a different approach. And it works. There is no better gauge of our success than what our students say about it (below). We've had less than 2 dozen people ask for their money back after 10+ years in business.

Lessons looks like this:

Six big ideas: Discovering the best way to learn Portuguese.

We’ve built our language learning program around six big ideas to help every learner make rapid progress.

Learn through engaging stories.

Ever watch a sitcom, Netflix series, or TV drama? That's the core of the program. You’ll learn by watching the characters talk, act, and live with each other. You'll hear real people speaking, learn how to answer questions, and pick up on new words organically as you follow along. The stories in our movie-like series always present Brazilian Portuguese in it's most-used form, helping you engage with the language as a native does, not how a textbook thinks you should.

The best way to learn Portuguese.
Our stories give you the context and clarity you need to speak with confidence.

Build fluency through context.

Fluency comes through learning and using language in the right context. Our entire library of lessons are all part of long, connected stories. There are main characters, dramas, action, and emotions. As you relate to these stories, your language learning will be anchored in the real world and the context of how Brazilians actually talk. 

The best way to learn Portuguese.
Context ++ Real-life adult situations -> in Brazil.

Never again be afraid to speak.

Most learners hit a wall when it comes time to hold a real conversation. We're so worried about how we sound that it can lead to a sort of paralysis. The best solution is repetition. If you have someone that will listen to you practice "I will see you later" over and over while giving you feedback - ótimo! Our program gives you a safe space to practice and find your voice. We use Google's AI system, and it is truly amazing. And, she speaks Portuguese!

The best way to learn Portuguese.
We'll model the pronunciation, you repeat it and Google will be the judge.

Portuguese grammar in flying words.

Skip the boring grammar lessons. We will show you the finer points of Portuguese grammar through short, clear animated illustrations. It's called kinetic typography, and it's a purely visual approach to teaching grammar.

Portuguese grammar visually
Grammar is best explained visually.

Hacking Portuguese.

Fluency is a prized goal. Everyone wants a faster, easier way to get there. And as you know, it's not hard to Google a language course that will promise you fluency in a matter of weeks - or, days! This is of course, nonsense. But, shortcuts and tricks do exist! At every step along the way, we'll show you the tried and true hacks - the ones that will actually streamline the process of learning new grammar and vocabulary. We use everything from talk-show style breakdowns to shorthand formulas for constructing phrases. The goal is to get you to fluency in as little time possible. And, enjoy the journey too.

Portuguese broken-down
Each breakdown brings you one step closer to mastering the language.

Lock-in your learning.

We put a lot of work into making quizzes that are useful and not at all boring. We quiz you on vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Voice recognition technology is now so good that most of the quizzes will let you speak your answer. This is a huge advantage! You're getting pronunciation practice at the same time you're doing a quiz. We'll use the results to help you discover what to spend your time on. No grades, no shame - just learning.

And hey! You can skip them too. They're not required to move advance.

Semantica test application
Take the pressure off and let the quiz app track your progress.

We do all six.

That's why we're now, the best way to learn Portuguese.

If you can dedicate 10 minutes a day, you can learn Portuguese. You can become fluent!

With our course you’ll learn how to start thinking in Portuguese. You won’t just be memorizing random words and grammar rules. You'll have a new library of vivid scenes stored in your mind that you can quickly call upon during a conversation.

Learn Brazilian Portuguese with a Comprehensive Online Course

Learning a language should be fun, natural, and easy. Let’s show you what you can experience as you learn Portuguese the best way! [Example video]

Ready to try a lesson?

Here’s how you can begin learning Brazilian Portuguese:

Subscribe to our monthly package for $21/month. This will give you access to everything - all of our series of stories. You can easily find the level that fits your learning style, and the story that suits your mood.

If you’re more advanced or want to buy the entire course for a much greater value, then check out our Once you're ready to commit, you can easily switch to a longer-term, less-expensive plan.

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Life is a story. ~James

2006, Rio de Janeiro – having the time of my life and suddenly decided to try living in Brazil for a few months – maybe as long as a year. I’d been studying non-stop at home, but Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and Babbel seemed slow, out of date and boring to boot. Besides that, what I was hearing on the streets here was very different from anything these courses was teaching! It seemed clear to me that the best way to learn Portuguese, would be a program with audio and video together. Like a movie, but slower – something I could begin to make sense of. I wanted to be able to say thinks like (not just memorize)…

  • Where’s the laundry detergent?
  • Do you accept Venmo?
  • Are you free for dinner tonight?

I wanted Brazilians, on-screen acting-out these things! And, I wanted to learn the most useful conversational Portuguese first – not in the order presented in these courses. I was learning more simply watching Brazilians interacting with each another. But it was too fast. Way to fast.

So, I built it myself.

Rough draft in hand, B-level actors in tow we filmed anywhere we could without getting arrested. I made every mistake possible. Rio de Janeiro is a forgiving place. So are Brazilians. At the end of this period I had a full-length movie on DVD(!). The actors spoke slowly and clearly. They were forbidden to speak anything other than the present tense. The script used no more than 200 unique words.

Stories that have real-world context, meaning and that excite you (!!!) you are prefect for teaching a language. And that’s exactly what we’ve created starting in that summer of 2006. But now, we’ve been validated. The storytelling method is widely accepted as one, if not the best approach for language learning. Science.

You could not choose a better, more engaging way to learn Portuguese. Former student write us love letters!

Don't take our
word for it.
  • Hi James, 
    I used semantica when I first started learning Portuguese - it was my miracle. I instantly brought a 6month subscription. I adore your program and I’ve been waiting for the chance to get it again and eventually move on to the advanced stories. Learning Portuguese is my dream, my goal of living in Brazil one day.

    Indigo Kelly Indigo Kelly
  • Love, love, love Semantica! I'm a visual learner and especially so with pictures. That makes this method perfect for me. Auditory-based programs just don't work for visual learners and other visual-based programs are boring. Semantica is AWESOME!

    Mary Lea
  • I'm sorry but I won't be renewing my Semantica subscription. Not because I'm unhappy, but because you succeeded - I am now fluent enough in Portuguese that I feel that the lessons are no longer a help! While I am waiting for covid to die down so that I can return to Brasil, I'm getting my daily dose of Portuguese listening to CBN, reading Folha de SP, and talking on WhatsApp with my Brasilian friends.

    The novella format lessons and the private tutoring I had through Semantica were fantastic. 

    Douglas Steele Douglas Steele
  • Every course i'd attempted before this was just a slog through conjugations and grammar that i barely understood, and which seemed so unrelated to the spoken language i was hearing on my visits to Brazil.

    Nicolas Jones Nicolas Jones
  • I am married to a Brazilian, but it took years before she would speak Brazilian with me. She said what I was learning was not the way she spoke Portuguese. Then I started with Semantica Portuguese, and about two thirds of the way through O Encontro she started to speak Portuguese with me.

    Philip Lipetz Philip Lipetz
  • This is a FANTASTIC program!! The very best!! The explanations are super-clear, the introducing of idiomatic expressions is so useful, and the videos and sound-clips are amazing. The perfect balance between learning the language and the Brazilian culture as well!!

    Elizabeth Fraser Elizabeth Fraser
  • Semantica has helped exponentially with my listening! I spent my first couple of months in Brazil not studying but speaking daily. I learned nothing new and was disappointed by my lack of progress as everyone said immersion would work wonders. Not for me. After one week of returning to studies my listening comprehension improved drastically!

    Antoinette Guest Antoinette Guest
  • I understood about 80%! Granted, I have been learning Portuguese for about 6 months now but let me tell you something, my listening comp was NOTHING like it is now after just 8 days of using Semantica Portuguese. Muito obrigada!

    Phaedra Phaedra

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