Brazilian Portuguese

Book Review



Brazilian Portuguese Complete Course


Living Language -  A Random House Company, New York, NY



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

November, 2001


Brazilian Portuguese Complete Course is one in a series  of language courses by Living Language designed for beginning to intermediate level students of the Portuguese language. The course consists of two 90-minute  cassette tapes, a learning guide, and an English-Portuguese dictionary. It comes packaged in a compact bookshelf style case.

Get more information about this course at Amazon.comThe  course is divided into forty units with each unit having several sections. All  of the audio material is listed in the learning guide and bold-faced along with translations. Explanations of the material are given in the learning guide after each conversational drill. Additional vocabulary is included near the end of  the units and the listener can take short quizzes along the way to check their progress. The dictionary included with this study course contains over 15,000  words and has a section for Portuguese to English and another for English to Portuguese.

 The course covers a wide variety of topics. It starts with basic concepts such  as colors, numbers, days of the week and basic greetings. More difficult material is introduced as the student progresses such as finding your way around the city, ordering food, renting a room, and using public transportation.

There are a few shortcomings with this course. The printed materials are on par with regular paperback-style books, but are very  plain and have no illustrations. The material in the audio portion of the course  is not always listed in the same order as the learning guide, and further distraction  is provided at times by demonstrating pronunciation differences with continental  Portuguese or local dialects. The sequence of audio and non-audio portions in  the learning guide forces the listener to constantly pause the player so they can read the explanation for each section. The recorded material is entirely  Portuguese with no English explanations, making the course inappropriate for  those wanting to learn while commuting.

This program does have several useful attributes for beginners. The speakers are well recorded and they talk slower than normal conversational speed, making comprehension easier for a beginner. The dialogs  do not focus on learning standard tourist phrases but are designed to give the  student a well-rounded command of Portuguese. The course contains a large amount of vocabulary, allowing the student to master a number of new Portuguese words.

Although this program has some shortcomings, its low cost  and wealth of material make it a good value for those wanting to learn Portuguese  in their idle hours. The student gets a bi-lingual dictionary, a workbook / phrasebook, and audio practice for a little more than the cost of any one of these items separately.

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