The Everything Learning Brazilian Portuguese Book: Speak, Write, and Understand Portuguese in No Time by Fernanda Ferreira

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“Five outta ten!”
price; exposure to useful Brazilian Portuguese; conversations and phrases don’t sound “textbook-ish”; material is well organized
dry presentation; lack of relevant conversation topics covered

Call me crazy, but I have trouble keeping “Everything”, “Dummies” and “Idiot’s” guides straight. And that applies to their Portuguese lessons, too. Lots of extra notes about Brazil? Check! Relevant, fluent-sounding phrases rather than dry, expected, textbook Portuguese? Check. The difference lies in the overall structure and presentation. The Everything Learning Brazilian Portuguese Book presents grammar in an organized fashion – one look at the table of contents makes that clear.

Chapters revolve around grammar topics like nouns and articles or dealing with adjectives. Each section presents some aspect of grammar, like noun gender, but does so in a rather dry tone for what I’ve come to expect from a generally lively course. Longer vocabulary lists and fill-in-the-blank exercises follow. A Portuguese to English glossary ends the book. The tables, lists and exercises encourage rote memorization and repetition, which many students I’ve worked with find to be a challenging way to learn Portuguese.

I like the organized presentation, but I think that sacrificing conversation topics for grammar will also turn learners away to something more like the Dummmies guide. I’m not a particular fan of vocabulary lists in this context, and I found the explanations given for grammar topics a little drier than this kind of lighthearted lesson series is known for. All in all, though, it’s not a bad step-by-step introduction to Portuguese grammar.

Now is a good time to recall that I am known to grade somewhat harshly. My score doesn’t mean that this guide is useless, only that it has some faults learners shouldn’t overlook before purchasing the course. I do, however, highly recommend that you supplement this book with other learning materials if you do decide to buy it.

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