Modern Portuguese: A Reference Grammar by Mario Perini

Score:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (9) 10
“Nine outta ten!”
Pros:
solid treatment of huge range of grammar and sentence structure topics; plenty of examples of real-life Brazilian Portuguese in use; author focuses on grammar as it’s used by native speakers in Brazil, unlike the standard language of even Brazilian Portuguese textbooks; well organized; great table of contents and index; amazing reference resource for learners to grow with

Cons:
more scholarly and linguistic than other books reviewed here; whatever your skill level, you must be willing to take it for what it is and extract useful examples and explanatory analysis for your own learning benefit


Mario Perini’s Modern Portuguese intends to bridge the linguistic gap between standard Portuguese and real-life Brazilian language use in his thorough breakdown of Brazilian Portuguese grammar.

The foreword and introduction are very academic, mostly of interest to linguists. From there, Perini moves on to an extremely detailed coverage of Portuguese grammar, with a specific focus on the structure of Brazilian usage.

There’s no point in keeping students in the dark about the difference between standard Portuguese and the real Brazilian Portuguese language as it’s spoken. It’s not a matter of slang or improper speech – people of all walks of life in Brazil speak differently than they write.

To shed light on this subject, Perini builds a robust, well-organized guide that breaks down all the essentials of Brazilian grammar. The topics covered are rather technical, and that’s where a knowledge of linguistics comes in handy.

Yet even if your knowledge of linguistics stops at “nouns” and “verbs”, the exposure to real Brazilian usage is the key here. Unit by unit, section by section, the book tackles every major topic of grammar and sentence structure. You’ll read plenty of fluent examples that illustrate each point along the way.

The book does an excellent job of analyzing Portuguese grammar into smaller, manageable chunks, and tracking down examples that illustrate those chunks. It sets out to cover the whole of Brazilian grammar, and does an equally commendable job of covering such a wid range of topics. Some have mentioned mistakes, but I didn’t see anything that would keep me away.

If you’re learning Brazilian Portuguese, Mario Perini’s Modern Portuguese is a welcome addition to your collection. Non-linguists will have to use this as a secondary grammar reference, not as a main lesson course. Any student of Brazilian will be able to mine examples and quickly find topics of interest in this methodical, deep, well-organized resource.

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