Portuguese Frequency Dictionary JLL

How to learn portuguese fast or Best way to learn portuguese

95% of all Portuguese vocabulary you'll ever need - in your pocket.

Now available in E-book and softcover format.

The Portuguese - English Frequency Dictionary - Essential Vocabulary shows you the 2.500 most used Portuguese words with their English translation, 2.500 example sentences and correct pronunciation through International Phonetic Alphabet entries.

With this vocabulary you will be able to understand 95% of all daily spoken Portuguese, and 85% of all written Portuguese. We included both Brazilian PT and European Portuguese.

Key Benefits

  • Learning words by frequency is the fastest way to fluency. By knowing the most important and most common words, you're able to express yourself quick and effortlessly.
  • Expand your vocabulary and feel for the language. The example sentences help you discover Portuguese vocabulary, get used to grammar, sentence structure, common idioms and expressions and help you remember words faster.
  • Read anywhere, instantly. Our E-books are delivered to you instantly and can be read on any iPhone, Android phone, Tablet, E-Reader or PC, MacBook or Laptop.
  • Physical copy available. Prefer reading a "real" book instead of a digital copy? We got you covered. You can buy our physical copy directly from Amazon.
  • Available in all major online bookstores and Amazon.com. Our books are also available on iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, Scribd, 24Symbols, and Rakuten, amongst others.
  • Money back guarantee. If you don't like it, we will refund you your money.

Key Features

  • 2500 most common Portuguese words. These high frequency words make up 95% of all daily spoken Portuguese, and 85% of all Portuguese text you will encounter on a daily basis in books, newspapers and websites.

  • 2500 Portuguese to English Example Sentences. Expand your vocabulary further by discovering new words through context. Words discovered naturally trough context are remembered better.

  • International Phonetic Alphabet entries. You'll always know how to pronounce Portuguese vocabulary the right way.

  • Available in both E-book format and as a softcover physical copy.

  • Contains study hacks & tips. To help you speed up your language learning and gain a practical knowledge of Portuguese.. fast!

The Science Behind This Book

We believe in science. We believe that speaking a language in the shortest amount possible, is the #1 goal. Facts why our language books are so efficient:

1. We teach you written and spoken Portuguese vocabulary.

Every study on language learning and frequency lists starts with stating that subtitles are the best way to discover word frequencies that you will use in day to day situations.

"Previous evidence has shown that word frequencies calculated from corpora based on film and television subtitles can readily account for reading performance, since the language used in subtitles greatly approximates everyday language."*

Our dictionaries are made out analyzing millions of Portuguese subtitles. Subtitles are the best choice to find out how often you use a word. Subtitles correlate to both spoken and written texts, respectively 73% and 85%, according to science.

Other frequency lists often base themselves on written texts (e.g. newspapers, fiction novels, non-fiction books, etc.) While this helps discover the most common words, it lays the focus on written vocabulary.

Our frequency dictionaries are unique, because they cover both spoken and written vocabulary.


2. You'll know actual useful words fast.

Remember studying a language in high-school? In most language learning programs,  you start with the basics.

You go through each chapter, starting at 1. Ninety-nine percent of the time, chapters are divided thematically.

This approach is wrong. It is utterly ineffective.

Traditional learning methods are designed to make you able to handle yourself in a broad range of situation.


Traditional learning methods have you learn words like "throat" very early on.

But "garganta" (throat) is only ranked as the #4239 most common Portuguese word. Not very effective learning it early on, is it now?

Our frequency dictionaries teach you actual useful words, words that you are most likely to encounter and use in real life situations. 


3. Always pronounce Portuguese words right.

Our dictionaries contain phonetically written Portuguese entries. If you're reading the e-book version of our frequency dictionaries, the text-to-speech option helps you with pronunciation by playing the Portuguese words as audio.

If you're studying vocabulary from a word list, however, correct pronunciation might not always be crystal clear.

In English, take for example the words:

  • slayer:      /ˈsleɪə/
  • prayer:    /pɹɛə(ɹ)/

While the spelling is similar, the words are pronounced completely different.

By phonetically spelling a word, you'll be guaranteed to get your pronunciation right. We use the international phonetic alphabet for phonetic spelling of Portuguese words.


4. Humans are programmed to learn vocabulary through sentences.

Learning words from a pure word list isn't exactly natural. When you were learning your native language, you got input in the form of whole sentences.

This is how you discovered grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary naturally.

Science has discovered that words learned through context are internalized faster. By giving meaning to a word through a Portuguese to English example sentence, we mimic natural language learning for you.

And, another benefit: by actively studying the example sentences and their translations, you are able to expand your vocabulary by learning new words through context.

The 2.500 example sentences consist out of roughly 92.000 words. That is similar to having read a 250 page novel in Portuguese.  Awesome vocabulary practice, right?


5. Example Sentences work with the principle of spaced repetition.

Our example sentences repeat more used words more often. By frequently encountering previously learned vocabulary you will learn faster through the principle of spaced repetition.

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned
material; this exploits the psychological spacing effect.

"Using spaced repetition as a study technique is effective because you are deliberately hacking the way your brain works" - The Guardian

Spaced repetition helps you remember vocabulary faster and better.

How often do you need to revisit your vocabulary? That is a secret we will tell you in our books..

How Much Portuguese Words Do You Need To Know To Achieve Fluency?

While it’s impossible to pin down these numbers and statistics 100% correctly, the follow estimates are a global average of multiple sources. According to science, this is the amount of vocabulary needed for different levels of fluency.

  1. 250 words: the essential core of a language. Without these words, you cannot construct any sentence.
  2. 750 words: those that are used every single day by every person who speaks the language.
  3. 2500 words: those that should enable you to express everything you could possibly want to say, although some creativity might be required.
  4. 5000 words: the active vocabulary of native speakers without higher education. You will understand 95% of all written texts.
  5. 10,000 words: the active vocabulary of native speakers with higher education.
  6. 20,000 words: what you need to recognize passively in order to read, understand, and enjoy a work of literature such as a novel by a notable author.

What level of Portuguese will I achieve with this book?

The Portuguese English Frequency Dictionary covers vocabulary from A1 to roughly B1+.

To measure proficiency in a language, we utilize the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) ratings.

Basic User

  • A1: Beginner. You are able to to communicate and exchange information in a simple way. E.g: CAN ask simple questions about a menu and understand simple answers.
  • A2: You are able to handle simple, straightforward information and you can to express yourself in familiar contexts. E.g: You are able to take part in a routine conversation on simple predictable topics.

Independent User

  • B1: You can express yourself in a limited way in unfamiliar situations, and you can deal in a general way with non-routine information. E.g: You are able to ask to open an account at a bank, if it is straightforward procedure.
  • B2: You are able to achieve most goals and express yourself on a range of topics. E.g: You are able to show visitors around and give a detailed description of a place.


  • C1: You will be able to communicate with the emphasis on how well it is done, in terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics. E.g: You are able to handle hostile questioning with confidence. You can get and hold your turn to speak.
  • C2: The capacity to deal with academic or cognitively demanding material. You are able to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain aspects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.
    E.g: You are able to scan texts for relevant information, and grasp the main topic of texts, reading almost as fast as a native speaker.


Note: the Common European Languages Framework does not provide a clear vocabulary size for any of its levels, so we do not know how many knows words are expected at each niveau.

In 2009, a notable study tried to measure vocabulary size needed for various levels of fluency. These are the results for English, French and Modern Greek.

Keep in mind that Portuguese is a romance language, and is rather closely related to French. Results will be more or less comparable.

The Portuguese English Frequency Dictionary - Essential Vocabulary covers vocabulary roughly from A1 to B1+.


CEFR level Vocabulary size: English Vocabulary size: French Vocabulary size: Modern Greek
A1 <1500 1160 1486
A2 1500 – 2500 1650 2237
B1 2750 – 3250 2422 3288
B2 3250 – 3750 2630 3956
C1 3750 – 4500 3212  
C2 4500 – 5000 3525  

Vocabulary size and the CEFR (Milton and Alexiou 2009)