A Reference Manual: Portuguese
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  • A Reference Manual: Portuguese
  • Sheila R. Ackerlind and Rebecca Jones-Kellogg
  • Published by: University of Texas Press
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2011

This course book is the perfect grammar guide and reference manual for any Portuguese course. The chapters in this book provide students with in-depth instructions, information, and examples to help them understand some of the most challenging grammar structures in the Portuguese language.

Review posted: 30/01/2014
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What’s the worst part of learning a language? For me, it’s learning grammar. New words and phrases are exciting, listening comprehension is intriguing, and day to day communication is interesting. But correct grammar is simply a necessary evil. If you’re like me, whether you’re learning Thai or Portuguese, grammar is the hardest part of learning a language. That’s why I need a book solely dedicated to the art of grammar. A Reference Manual: Portuguese is one such book. But is it the book for me?

"A Reference Manual: Portuguese is a 315 pages of grammatical information followed by a lengthy and helpful topical index. Yet, is that enough?"

The name “reference manual” infers that it’s not exactly a study guide, but something to use when one gets grammatically stuck. That’s important, but learning the ins and outs of grammar is probably a little more useful. In and of itself, the term “reference manual” sounds about as exciting as a root canal, and unfortunately, the book presents the material in a way I find almost equally as painful.

To be fair, the book covers just about every grammatical issue you can think of. Have a question about subjunctive clauses? It’s on page 197. Want to brush up on prepositions? Turn to page 124. Literally everything you need to know about grammar – including the English definitions of grammatical terms- is in this book. Although this book is packed with information and detailed explanations of challenging grammar structures, it does not provide any activities to help student put what they are learning into practice. A Reference Manual: Portuguese is a 315 pages of grammatical information followed by a lengthy and helpful topical index. Yet, is that enough?

Considering that for me, grammar is the most boring part of learning a language, I need a book with a little more allure to help me through it. I realize that this book is simply a “reference manual” and there’s rarely anything enticing about a manual, but if I’m going to ever wrap my head around Portuguese grammar, then I’m going to have to use a book with a little more life in it. This book is good for serious students who are used to memorizing pages and pages of dry material, or for those who actually need a grammar book to look up occasional grammar questions. But, if you’re anything like me, it will take a lot more for you to master Portuguese grammar – and a few colorful pages just might do a better job at holding my attention span.



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