Semantica Portuguese Review: There Are Far Better Options
- Written byJohann Brennan
- Read time2 mins
- Tons of Brazilian video content
- Useful explanations and breakdown of videos
- Gradually expanding lesson material
- Videos are downright corny
- Dated platform
- Limited to Brazilian
- Way overpriced
Semantica Portuguese is the most well-known and long-established video learning resource for Brazilian Portuguese. It has a large collection of unique 'story' videos which are mostly like corny soap operas with breakdowns and explanations.
A solid resource but totally overpriced and not without alternative options.
Semantica Portuguese is, as far as I’m aware, currently the only resource specifically focused on teaching from a Portuguese (Brazilian) video series.
The videos are essentially like soap operas, acted out in Brazil on various topics, followed up with ‘explanations’ of what you’re seeing/hearing.
You can see a decent sampling of their video series on YouTube to get an idea.
At present, there’s no trial option to use the service without paying and it’s quite expensive for what it offers compared to other alternatives (see below).
Quite a lot of Portuguese content is covered, but the biggest drawback to Semantica Portuguese is the incredibly cringeworthy and corny acting in the videos. That’s not to subtract from the value of the language material, but just bear in mind that it feels like watching a 90’s soap opera.
A few years ago, Semantica would have been outstanding, but with the availability of so many thousands of free Portuguese videos on YouTube, I’m just not sure anymore (perhaps if it were offered at a substantially lower price).
One thing I will note that I appreciated about Semantica Portuguese is the effective testing component, which quizzes you on what you’ve covered in the video lessons.
Semantica Portuguese alternatives
There are plenty of online Portuguese courses, but here are my preferences:
- YouTube (seriously - there are thousands upon thousands of native Portuguese videos that provide equal value for free)
- Rocket Portuguese (for a solid, comprehensive audio course)
- PortuguesePod101 (for podcast lessons with video that go into greater detail on grammatical and topical subject matter)
- Pimsleur Portuguese (for a straight up audio course that has been proven effective for decades)
- Babbel Portuguese (for a professional app developed by in-house linguists)
- Duolingo Portuguese (for a completely free alternative to Babbel)
- Mondly Portuguese (for a stunning Portuguese app that also includes VR)
- Glossika Portuguese (for a unique listening comprehensive trainer for both European and Brazilian Portuguese)
- italki (for native speaker corrections or explanations)
One other option to look out for in the near future is FluentU Portuguese (soon to be available).
Overall, Semantica Portuguese is a no-brainer if you’re learning Brazilian and like to pick apart and analyze Portuguese TV shows.
But if you’re looking for something with actual course depth or European Portuguese, then try one of the options above (or see this list of Portuguese resources).
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