Book Review: Portuguese For Dummies

Portuguese For Dummies, by Karen Keller

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the dummies series, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that I do not consider myself particularly a dummy of any kind [1].  This book is an honorable member of the series that demonstrates the author’s personality and her interest in helping the reader feel and talk like a local.  This goal of the author’s definitely makes this a far more enjoyable book than it would otherwise be on its own, and certainly is an appealing aspect of this particular volume.  For those who want to learn Portuguese this is certainly a worthwhile book to help one out in that task, so long as one thinks of it as one resource among many and not the only source one would use.  Still, I am reasonably confident that the author of this book views this book as only one resource among many, and the good-natured way that the author deals with the material of this book certainly makes it an enjoyable read as well as something that can easily be recommended to someone who is not offended by it being titled what it is.

This book is almost 350 pages long and is divided into five parts and twenty chapters and four appendices.  The book begins with a short introduction.  After that the author talks about getting started (I), with chapters on cognates (1), basic grammar (2), basic greetings and introductions (3), numbers, times, and measurements (4), and speaking Portuguese at home (5).  After that the author discusses Portuguese in action (II), with chapters on small talk (6), dining out (7) and shopping (8), going out on the town (9), chatting about business and the economy (10), and recreation and the outdoors (11).  This leads to a discussion about Portuguese on the go (III), which includes chapters on planning a trip (12), money (13), transportation such as planes, buses, taxis, and more, (14), sporting events (15), Carnaval (16), and handling emergencies (17).  A section on the part of tens follows (IV), which includes discussions of ten ways to pick up Portuguese quickly (18), ten common Portuguese slang words and expressions (19), and eleven terms that make one sound fluent even when one is not (20).  After that comes four appendices (V), including a mini-dictionary (i), verb conjugation tables (ii), a discussion of material that is on an accompanying cd (which I did not use) (iii), and an answer key (iv).  The book then ends with an index.

How is one going to use a language?  The purposes that one has for a language will influence what sort of sources are the most useful for one’s learning.  This book is aimed at those who are tourists, and who have a certain desire to blend in and be cooler than the average tourist.  Admittedly that is something that appeals to me even if I know that I have purposes in learning a language, including writing my fairly cerebral essays of one genre or another, that are not widely shared and thus are not generally included when one is looking at references.  Since I do not expect books to cater to my own very specific and rare tastes, though, I find a book like this one to be very easy to appreciate and something that I can highly recommend to those who appreciate slang and a book by someone who has lived in Brazil and has a good way about languages and how important it is to know how locals talk.  As someone who has traveled and lived in diverse places, this is a skill I have always greatly appreciated and sought to master myself.  It may be the same for you.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: Portuguese For Dummies

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Dungeon Master 4th Edition For Dummies | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Blogging For Dummies | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Freemasons For Dummies | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s