Teach Yourself Portuguese Grammar, by Sue Tyson-Ward
One of the advantages, if it can be called that, to trying to learn a language where there is a distinct lack of formal education in the United States is the creativity that one can find among those who wish to teach the language through books and courses. This particular author has written other guides on self-teaching Portuguese, and the result is a pleasant book that provides information in a conceptual friendly way. When one is involved in self-education, it is worthwhile to note that there are a lot of materials available to use if you have access to a good public library system or are willing and able to buy a lot of guides online, and this particular book is certainly a good one if you like a systematically and well-organized discussion that does what it needs to do without a lot of fuss about it. Not all guides will appeal to everyone, and so it is well worth knowing what works are most appealing to you, because if you know what you like then you will be able to get something that will be of use to you specifically without having to worry about being bored or frustrated by the material.
This book is about 300 pages long and is divided into 46 lessons. The book begins with a discussion of the author, a personal introduction, regular introduction, and instructions on how to use the book as well as a glossary of grammatical terms. After that the author discusses Portuguese spelling, accents and stresses (1) before moving on to nouns and articles (2), adjectives (3), and adverbs (4). The author discusses comparatives and superlatives (5), demonstrative (6), possessive (7), and relative (8) pronouns and adjectives, as well as prepositions (9) and the distinction between por and para (10). The author discusses negatives, interrogatives, and exclamations (11), prefixes and suffixes (12), all and everything (13), numerals (14), measure and dimensions (15), and time (16). There are lessons on personal pronouns (17), impersonal verbs (18), and infinitives (19). Most of the rest of the lessons focus on tenses, including infinitives (20), irregular verbs (21, 22, 37), reflexive verbs (23), verbs with attached prepositional phrases (24), preterite (25), imperfect (26, 27), future (28), conditional (29), ter and haver (30), participles (31), present perfect (32), other perfect tenses (33), continuous (34), modal verbs (35), commands (36), ser and estar (38), passive voice (39), subjunctive (40, 41, 42, 43, 44), and then finally if clauses (45) and direct and indirect speech (46). The book then ends with a discussion of some differences in vocabulary between continental and Brazilian Portuguese as well as verb tables, further reading, and a key to the book’s exercises.
Self-education is a beautiful thing, and the fact that there are so many books that are available for self-teaching in language suggests that there is a large market available for people who want to learn languages. Admittedly, Portuguese is one of the most widely spoken languages worldwide, a testament to the longevity of Portland’s empire and its spread around the world. Yet at the same time in my own experience Portuguese does not rank high among the languages that people learn in the United States. Perhaps, as this collection of books suggests, I am simply not always around the right people and it is pleasing to see a book like this be able to be part of a commercially successful series. The fact that there is demand for a clear and easy-to-read guide to basic Portuguese suggests that there are enough people who want to learn basic Portuguese and that is good for me because it means that there are plenty of books for people like me to devour and reflect upon. Hopefully, if this book is of interest to you, you can find in this book some good instruction and find your own way to learn Portuguese better.