Reviewed by Aura Thuresson, Foreign Language/Part-Time Faculty, Rogue Community College, on 8/16/2017.
This book is a re-work of a 1964 publication, with emphasis given to Brazilian Portuguese. The four preliminary lessons introduce the different
Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
This book is a re-work of a 1964 publication, with emphasis given to Brazilian Portuguese. The four preliminary lessons introduce the different sounds of vowels and consonants, stress and pronunciation of words, the formation of plural nouns and adjectives and an introduction of the formal and informal address.
The main body of the text consists of 30 lessons, each include learning objectives, a grammar section, several practice exercises, vocabulary and audio for vocabulary words and expressions. After each chapter there is a dialogue presented in audio and script forms, followed by comprehension exercises.
There are short texts included for reading practice accompanied by reading comprehension exercises. The appendix has conjugation tables for regular and irregular verbs.
The grammar section is explained in English and examples given include words and sentences with a translation to English. The audio for some of the dialogues doesn't play, and vocabulary audio doesn't work in some of the words.
Accuracy rating: 4
It is a textbook designed for grammar acquisition. It is an effective beginners manual.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 4
The grammar is presented in a way that is relevant, but some of the vocabulary and examples are outdated.
Clarity rating: 4
English is used throughout the text to explain the grammar sections and provide instructions for exercises. Directions are easy to understand.
Consistency rating: 5
Each lessons is presented in a consistent form, and it is easy to follow.
Modularity rating: 5
Each lesson can be studied as a separate unit or module.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
The structure of the text is clear, and the progression of the topics allows easier acquisition of the language.
Interface rating: 4
The book doesn't present navigation problems since it is mostly text, but some of the audio doesn't play.
The practice exercises with fill in the blank activities, and other interactive features seem to be working well.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
There are a few typos, but no grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 2
The text doesn't have a cultural focus. It is a grammar textbook for the most part.
Portugues para Principiantes is a good introductory manual for grammar and vocabulary acquisition. It could be paired with activities to enhance language proficiency and cultural awareness. It is overall well-suited for beginners.
Reviewed by Sílvia Oliveira, Associate Professor, Rhode Island College, on 4/12/2017.
Português para principiantes is a re-working of a 1964 edition by the University of Wisconsin Extension Division ("Preface") and overall shows its
Comprehensiveness rating: 2 read less
Português para principiantes is a re-working of a 1964 edition by the University of Wisconsin Extension Division ("Preface") and overall shows its datedness. The authors intend this book to be used “in conjunction with a variety of approaches to the teaching of beginning Portuguese” (4).
The manual is organized in four preliminary lessons followed by 30 lessons, each focused on grammar description. The vocabulary in each lesson is random and not contextualized in a social situation. The sentences illustrating grammar points are likewise random. Practice exercises throughout the book are translation and sentence rewriting. Online features of the book include fill in the blanks and audio files of isolated words and short dialogues. There are no images except in the cover. Cultural content is minimal. The book includes some short texts, mostly not authentic, and the authentic texts do not include bibliographic attribution. There are Appendices with verb charts.
The book follows the Brazilian Portuguese variant although in a prescriptive fashion. For instance, the authors explain that “[t]he word “you” (singular) in Portuguese which denotes greatest familiarity is tu. However, in Brazil its use is limited and often ungrammatical (used with the wrong verb conjugation). Due to this restricted use, this text will not include it…” Nevertheless, “[t]he student should learn to recognize [it]” (40). The text does include it in the Appendix. No mention is made to the fact that the “tu” form of the verbs is common in the European (referred to as “Continental”) and African variants of Portuguese.
Proficiency guidelines are absent from the methodology considerations.
Accuracy rating: 3
Presentation of grammar and grammar progression follows the structure of a grammar book, not a language learning manual - for instance, prepositions are introduced toward the end of the book after the subjunctive mode; the content and language structure of non-authentic texts are limited and/or problematic (such as the reading on Portugal).
Relevance/Longevity rating: 2
Some of the vocabulary is dated: "O nosso toca-discos não funciona, mas o toca-discos de Marta funciona" (123), but overall the vocabulary is not grounded on and organized around relevant social communication situations or clusters of social life. The content of the non-authentic cultural texts is simplistic for a College audience and outdated (such as the cultural text "Portugal").
Clarity rating: 4
The text employs simplified grammar jargon. English is used throughout the book except on cultural texts.
Consistency rating: 4
Modularity rating: 4
The lessons can be easily used as modules.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 3
The organization is clear, although the progression of grammatical topics and vocabulary is not always logical and the vocabulary is not organized.
Interface rating: 2
The book is text only. The only advantage of the online book is the use of interactive fill in the blanks exercises and audio files.
Grammatical Errors rating: 4
I found a few typos such as "Brails" (366).
Cultural Relevance rating: 1
Low cultural relevance. The objective of the book is to present grammar structures.
Português para principiantes is a descriptive/ at times prescriptive grammar book that encompasses beginner-level structures and advanced-level structures (such as all the tenses in the subjunctive mode) in non-standard language learning procedure. The methodology is not communicative and the cultural relevance of the book is low.