Best Brazilian Portuguese YouTubers for the Smart Learner
You already reached the intermediate level. But you have a hard time understanding spoken Portuguese.
Then you turn to Brazilian Portuguese YouTubers for help.
Good call, friend.
But if you’ve looked at the sheer stupidity around YouTube these days, you know that finding valuable YouTubers in a second language is like mining for gold on a cake — you might find it but it’s highly unlikely.
That’s why I compiled this list — which is by no means exhaustive — of YouTubers that you can benefit from in two ways:
- They help you learn Portuguese.
- They show you some aspect of Brazilian culture you were not aware of but from which you can benefit.
Here you’ll see the most meaningful intro videos for those YouTubers. Subscribe to their channel if you like them.
Lili Schwarcz, the professor on all things Brazil
If you are a history buff like me, you’ll love Lili Schwarcz.
She is a professor and academician but has none of the academic vices all the while being quite professorial.
She’s the one you turn to you if you want to know a bit more about slavery in Brazil, the development of our history from the Empire to these days, violence and its consequences…
Even though the subjects might not be light, her approach is quite entertaining.
Level of difficulty: intermediate to advanced. She has a clear enunciation and a very good pace of speech, but her vocabulary might be specialized at times.
A knowledgeable drag queen: Tempero Drag
This channel started out as a mix of talk show, cooking program, and drag queen things related.
But as Brazil became more and more intolerant, Tempero Drag got a more philosophical and sociological slant.
Guilherme Terreri plays the role of Rita Von Hunty, a woman who knows a lot about sociology, politics, and fashion.
She has a kind of old-fashioned accent that is clear and easy to understand.
And she’s not afraid of diving deep into questions and matters that others shy away from.
Level of difficulty: intermediate to advanced. Like Lili Schwarcz, Rita von Hunty speaks clearly and slowly, but sometimes she uses slang and discusses rather specific subjects. But if you know something previously — for example, you might have read one of the books she refers to — you won’t find it too hard. Especially because Rita’s goal is to simplify complex ideas and make them more accessible to a wider audience.
Also, she includes subtitles for most videos.
He screams a lot but is highly entertaining: Buenas Ideias
Buenas Ideias is for history buffs who crave more detail — Eduardo Bueno is a journalist and historian who has seen a lot and understands a lot.
He makes his videos under the title: “Não vai cair no ENEM” (It won’t be on ENEM).
In Brazil, the teaching of history is mostly limited to memorizing dates and facts.
We don’t really think. We only prepare for ENEM, a kind of SAT from Brazil.
Eduardo Bueno’s purpose is to make us see what textbooks don’t teach us. Things that won’t be on ENEM.
Eduardo Bueno screams a lot and is a bit too nervous on screen, but that’s what makes him entertaining and engaging to an otherwise apathetic audience.
Level of difficulty: extremely advanced if you try to understand everything that he says the first time.
But the good thing is that his channel has subtitles for most older videos (you just have to activate them). And his accent is from Rio Grande do Sul.
The two sides of the coin: Contraditórios
These guys are great — Eduardo Bueno is a co-host here, and Marcelo Madureira is quite sophisticated a comedian with a long career in Brazil.
In this channel, they choose a topic and take sides. One is against and one is for whatever the topic they are discussing.
And whatever the topic they are discussing, they make very good points.
Level of difficulty: hard, quite advanced. And there are no subtitles, unfortunately.
A Calm Mind: Monja Coen
If meditation is your thing, Monja Coen should be your pick.
With a calm voice and a smiling face, she gives us lessons on how to live life without worrying too much.
She is also a great storyteller. You will remember much more from what she says.
Level of difficulty: intermediate. She doesn’t speak fast, the words tend to be in the high-frequency range, and sometimes there are subtitles.
The art of the interview: Regina Volpato
Regina was the host of the still famous TV show Casos de Família (kind of a mix between Geraldo and Oprah), a staple in popular entertainment in Brazil.
The audience loved her at that time but she was too good — she was polite and reasonable and that’s not what Casos de Família is about.
Now, Regina hosts her own interview show on YouTube. The guests talk about a variety of topics, always in a very casual manner.
Level of difficulty: intermediate. It might be a bit more difficult because of the colloquial vocabulary they use. But it’s very good practice, and if you can understand her and her guests, you’ll likely boost your listening comprehension. No subtitles, unfortunately.
Casual entertainment and commentary on everyday life for younger folks — Matando Matheus a Grito
If you want extremely informal vocabulary and like memes, you’ll probably enjoy Matheus and his topics.
He and his boyfriend choose topics that are popular among the younger generations and give their funny take on it.
Their vocabulary is colloquial with lots of slang and cultural references that might go by unnoticed.
I particularly like their analysis of movies like Twilight.
Level of difficulty: advanced. Colloquial vocabulary and cultural references may make it hard for you to understand.
Through the back door — Porta dos Fundos
These guys are my all-time favorite.
Witty, intelligent, accessible, and critical, they can make the most mundane of subjects (like a schoolteacher who can’t leave the teaching mode behind) and make them into engrossing sketches you’ll probably watch more than once.
What I like most about them is that they include subtitles in several languages — usually English, Portuguese, and Spanish, but sometimes they also include French and Russian.
If you want to see how people actually speak in their everyday lives — with curse words and all — Porta dos Fundos will be just the ticket.
Level of difficulty: variable, from intermediate to very advanced.
How to best benefit from these videos?
There are two ways to play this game — actively and passively.
If you want to play it passively — without lighting a fire under yourself — just watch them once or twice, allow yourself to laugh when laughing is called for, and forget about it. Just try to enjoy.
But if you’re like some of my students, you won’t be able to enjoy something you don’t fully understand.
Well, reading might help (at least that’s what my students who participate in the Brazilian Book-of-the-Month club say). But listening to the videos more actively will help, too.
If you want to play this game more actively, grab a pen and paper (it might work with the computer, but pen and paper has been proven to help retain more information).
Watch the video that catches your attention.
Read the description before watching the video. Then, make some assumptions and help your mind come up with relevant vocabulary.
If you don’t have the relevant vocabulary, your mind will be alert to any new vocabulary that might fit the bill.
It’s like when you’re watching a suspense movie on that specific scene where you know someone is going to die. All your senses open up, you start making guesses, and when something happens your mind adjusts reality to what you thought.
While watching, make notes.
Okay, you won’t understand everything. But write down even one word you understand.
Repeat it aloud, try and form sentences with that, write down the sentence you heard it been used in…
And then, when you’re done watching, watch it again in a few days — or hours, if you have the enviable leisure most grown-ups don’t. You’ll see you start to get more and more.
Of course, it’s a slow and painful process at first. And unfortunately, there is no easy way.
But the more you do, the easier it gets.
And if you allow yourself to do that for fourteen days — only fourteen days — a new habit will have probably taken roots.
(But you can speed up the process with the right strategy.)
Well, what do I do now?
I could give you at least twenty-five recommendations of YouTubers to look at.
But as I said before, some are empty, some are downright stupid, and not very profitable at all for the learner who can and want to express themselves in a meaningful way.
But I do watch junk YouTube from time to time — just like I order Mac Donald’s once in a blue moon.
And tell me the comments section below, is there any specific topic or subject you would like to know whether a YouTuber covers?
And who are your favorite Brazilian Portuguese YouTubers?
(And if you’re looking for podcasts, I have them here for you.)