Orlando Kelm, University of Texas, Austin
Pub Date: 2013
ISBN 13: 978-1-9379630-5-7
Conditions of Use
The textbook is intended for intermediate and advanced level learners and is an excellent tool for up-to-date exposure to Brazilian Portuguese. It is read more
The textbook is intended for intermediate and advanced level learners and is an excellent tool for up-to-date exposure to Brazilian Portuguese. It is organized around cultural use of language and communication. Each of its 35 chapters provides the student with a link to a video segment, that portrays a real life interaction. The subjects increase in linguistic and cultural complexity. The video clips can be viewed with subtitles in Brazilian Portuguese, followed by a script of the conversation with a translation to English, and footnotes to clarify idioms, to explain grammatical points or to point out important cultural aspects in the conversation. It offers a broad range of cultural information.
The textbook makes an emphasis on modern day use of Portuguese in Brazil, therefore I found that pointing out the differences of "proper" textbook learning and everyday use of language, was very effective in providing the student with the proper and most effective way to communicate in a real life conversation. I did not notice any inaccuracy in the text.
The content is up-to-date and presented in a way that makes it relevant for a long period of time. Most of the content depicts everyday situations and interactions.It includes language patterns that are both traditional and modern, in addition to cultural information and aspects of modern-day life portrayed in a wide range of situations.
The grammar explanations are accessible, brief and to the point. The footnotes bring light to items that might be confusing or perceived as grammatically incorrect. I especially appreciated the frequency in which the author pointed out the repetition in the use of certain verbs that vary greatly in meaning depending on context.
The chapters in this textbook are very consistent, presented in identical form throughout its 35 chapters. It is easy to read, It provides a gradual exposure to the language and can be relied upon to satisfy the need for further insight on expressions or idiomatic variations included in the dialogues.
The textbook is divided into small units that make it ideal for single lesson assignments or to study in a classroom setting. The video segments can also be assigned as homework and the script of the dialog then can be discussed as a group activity. It can easily be adapted to conform to different teaching styles.
Each chapter is designed in a way that flows and it follows a logical pattern. Each chapter includes a link to a video, that can be followed by the review of the dialogue's script. The footnotes add structure without overpowering the units with unnecessary or repetitive grammar explanations, but emphasizing on important linguistic aspects.
The text provides a link to a video in each chapter, that is easily accessible and ready to be viewed. Each video offers the option to view with or without Brazilian Portuguese subtitles, listen to pop-up commentary, or block pop-ups that appear when a new word or phrase is introduced.
I did not encounter errors in either the explanatory text, footnotes or English translations. The author, however, likes to point out the fact that everyday use of the language does not always conforms with grammatical correctness, and provides very useful and real examples of the modern, spoken version of the Portuguese spoken by Brazilians.
Conversa Brasileira provides examples of modern-day Brazilians in real life scenarios that include diverse ethnic, social, historic, cultural and artistic references, that expand and enable awareness. In general, the presentation of the cultural aspects is carefully inclusive and well developed.
I really enjoyed the real-life feel to the video segments, it is a text that can help intermediate and advanced level students to acquire very creditable proficiency, without overwhelming with grammar content, and is an excellent tool for conversation practice.
The book covers a wide range of topics relevant to Portuguese learners at an intermediate to advanced level. Each topic includes at least two videos read more
The book covers a wide range of topics relevant to Portuguese learners at an intermediate to advanced level. Each topic includes at least two videos with different combinations of speakers in each, depicting a variety of realistic scenarios and perspectives. One suggestion for improvement would be to include videos discussing work or employment situations.
As far as I can tell, the videos and text accurately depict conversational Portuguese and provide acceptable translations to English. That being said, I am a Spanish instructor and a novice Portuguese speaker, so my opinions in this area are not the most qualified. However, I did have a Brazilian student review a few of the videos as well, and she confirmed that the videos are an accurate portrayal of typical conversations and content. For example, one challenging area for language learners is that the actors speak very quickly and often interrupt each other during the course of conversation. My Brazilian student confirmed that the speed and number of interruptions are very typical of Brazilian conversation.
The material is relevant to learners, however, there are numerous pop culture references in the videos, which will eventually become outdated.
The book is very clear and easy to follow, and the formatting is clean and pleasing to the eye. The in-text footnotes help immensely to elaborate on cultural or linguistic features in the dialogues. For example, I had no idea who Sandy and Junior were until I read the footnote. One area for improvement is the pop-up explanations in the videos. These are done in a Q&A format in English and Portuguese with the Portuguese speaker(s) speaking at native or near-native speed. My recommendation is to move away from this style of explanation to a simple, straightforward English explanation. This would be easier for the learner to follow and enable him/her to return to the video more quickly.
The book is very consistent with regard to style, formatting, and the language used.
The videos are grouped by topic and readily divisible into sections that could be assigned throughout the course.
The organization of the book is logical in that topics with the broadest general appeal, such as animals, travel, hobbies, relationships, and food are presented first. The remaining topics are more specific and probably could be presented in any order. The structure and flow are very good.
The interface of the text is very clear and easy to follow. The images in the text match images from the video and a short summary of the video in English helps to provide some context before reading the transcript and watching the video. The links to the videos all work well. One recommendation for improvement would be to embed audio links in the transcript, enabling the user to listen to individual phrases from the videos.
This book does an excellent job of depicting Brazilian conversation, which sometimes does not follow the grammar rules of Portuguese. In cases where there is a departure, the book points out the ungrammatical nature of the phrase to the user. The English grammar in the translations is very good.
The videos depict a variety of speakers of different races. However, since the purpose of the videos is to teach Brazilian conversation, the ethnicity of the speakers is necessarily limited. One area for improvement would be to provide background information on the actors in each video. My impression, though I could be mistaken, is that most of the speakers are from middle or upper socio-economic classes, limiting the range of conversations depicted.
This is an excellent resource for students of Portuguese, and I highly recommend it.
This text is thematically organized and provides detailed model conversation on different daily subjects. Each section or conversation starts with a read more
This text is thematically organized and provides detailed model conversation on different daily subjects. Each section or conversation starts with a brief explanation of the context or situation, a dialogue translated into English line-by-line and a glossary of explanations of idiomatic expressions and common sayings, which sometimes also includes cultural notes and very brief grammatical explanations. Under each section's Usage notes there are also several great comments and suggestions for interacting with the material.
I believe the content on this book is fully accurate and culturally sensitive.
This book focus on daily life, common subjects and topics, as well as colloquial familiar language will probably make it relevant for a while. It is particularly targeted at conversation classes and self-learners, so it easily can be customized and updated too.
This book is very clear and user friendly making it a very accessible learning tool. The brief, but complex explanations in English allow access to the complicate nuances of the Brazilian spoken language.
Overall, this book is very consistent and uses the same approach coherently from the beginning to the end.
This textbook is readily divided into distinct sections that allow for good reading and assignment management, including easy matching with different times of the school year or daily activities.
Even though apparently the list of possible conversations and dialogues seems to follow a random thematic organization, there is an intent at progressively increasing the level of language and the complexity of the vocabulary and grammar structures involved. Each section, however, comes with its own follow up and is easy to follow and progresses logically.
Since what I have available is the textbook's PDF, I cannot comment on the web-based platform hosted at the University of Texas, Austin. However, their web-link is readily available and it is mentioned prominently at the beginning of the text: http://coerll.utexas.edu/brazilpod/cob/.
Spoken language at the familiar level often diverges from what is considered proper language and grammar, following a more colloquial pattern. This textbook readily identifies the grammar structures that are twisted or modified in order to maintain that truthfulness effect and briefly explains what is means.
This textbook accurately displays the great diversity and variety of the Brazilian culture, even though it provides a selection of situations and examples that can be considered small in comparison to real life.
This textbook proves to be a good balance between an organization based on pure thematic content and a great flexibility of sections and explanations. These are two necessary must-haves for this type of conversation materials.
Table of Contents
16. GRANDPARENTS'2:'WELL'GRANDMA,'THERE'IS AN'EASIER'WAY'TO'DO'IT
17. MOMS'IN'THE'PARK'1:'DON’T'CRY.'YOU’RE OK!
33. JAM'SESSION'2: TEM'QUE'AGRADAR'TODO MUNDO,'NÉ?
About the Book
Conversa Brasileira is an online open access site that contains a series of 35 video scenarios in which Brazilians talk about their daily activities, everything from hobbies to shopping, and from traffic jams to soccer games. These materials are designed to help intermediate- and advanced-level learners of Portuguese to analyze the way that Brazilians really talk and improve in their own proficiency and fluency. This textbook provides a hardcopy of all of the online materials, including the dialog transcriptions, English translations, and lesson notes that link to the original website.
About the Contributors
Orlando R. Kelm (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin where he teaches courses in Portuguese and Spanish, focusing mainly on business language and the cultural aspects of international business communication. He also serves as the Associate Director of Business Language Education at the UT CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research). Prof. Kelm's research and publications center on the cultural aspects of international business and the pedagogical applications of innovative technologies in language learning. His most recent online materials development project is entitled Conversa Brasileira and his most recent book (coauthors: John N. Doggett and Haiping Tang) is entitled When We Are the Foreigners: What Chinese Think About Working With Americans.