Ponto de Encontro
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  • Ponto de Encontro
  • Anna Klobuck, Clémence de Jouët-Pastré , Patrícia Isabel Sobral, Maria Luci de Biaji Moreira, and Amélia P. Hutchinson
  • Published by: Prentice Hall
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2007

Ponto de Encontro is a Portuguese coursebook which gives students the option to study Brazilian or European Portuguese. Throughout the book the authors emphasize important similarities and differences which can be seen in both of these dialects. This book provides a wide variety of activities and exercises for beginner level students.

Review posted: 10/10/2013
Have you used this book?

When I began studying Portuguese three years ago I wanted to find a book that would clearly explain the grammar basics, give thorough explanations of verb tenses (since this was my main weakness), and most importantly show me the difference between the dialects spoken in Brazil and Portugal. I also wanted to begin speaking, but before doing that I wanted to make sure I was prepared to express myself correctly. When a Brazilian friend of mine recommended Ponto de Encontro I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all these topics were covered in this book.

Initially, the amount of information in the book seemed very intimidating since it comes with 648 pages and 15 lessons, but when I began analyzing the content I immediately got hooked. Lição 1 begins by giving a crash course on how to describe people, talking about one’s routine, masculine and feminine words, present tense verbs, and asking questions. Even though the first lesson may seem a bit overwhelming, it is easy to follow and well organized; the content in the book is presented in a step-by-step manner and clear examples and rules are provided for every topic. As you continue reading you will come across exercises which will prepare you to properly describe people and things, understand idiomatic expressions, express yourself in casual situations, and help you when travelling abroad. You will focus on lessons dealing with friends and family, health and medicine, shopping, and technology just to name a few.

"Ponto de Encontro is the first Portuguese language textbook that allows the instructor to choose to teach either Brazilian or European Portuguese."- Ana Klobucka (Author)

From the very beginning the student is provided with Brazilian and Peninsular examples of the language. I was impressed by the decision the authors made to incorporate both dialects into this course because this makes the student’s job so much easier. There is also a DVD that accompanies the book with clips of native speakers talking about a wide variety of topics. What I thought was a very creative move on authors’ part was that not only were all the actors native speakers, but each actor was filmed in their respective country. The speakers also seem to talk in a natural pace and not in a slow and perfectly enunciated manner. There are parts where the pause and rewind button come in handy, but I think this is helpful for getting used to the natural rhythm of the language.

In the chapters that follow there is a strong focus on grammar; personally I enjoyed being able to study grammar in such an in depth manner, but for those who are looking to develop their communication skills this may not be a very attractive feature. The overwhelming amount of grammar exercises may take the focus off of the speaking skills that are being taught and this could be a weak point for the book. One of the strengths this book does have is that every chapter focuses on listening comprehension and then it ties those listening exercises with the grammar activities.

As with any language course each lesson presents a specific topic, but in this book there are a number of “cultural texts” in each lesson. As students work with the different grammar structures they will also learn about important cultural aspects specific to Brazil and Portugal. Through these brief cultural snippets students will learn about social, artistic, and political topics which will help develop a better understanding of the Portuguese speaking culture.Even the history of common words used in daily life such as “nossa” or “legal” are briefly explained throughout the chapters.

One very convenient aspect of this book is that almost everything, including the audio scripts have English translations. The vocabulary in each chapter is also relevant to the topics being covered. I cannot emphasize how great this is because from personal experience I have worked with many Portuguese books which have the habit of providing irrelevant words or phrases in many of their activities.

Apart from having 3 Audio CD’s and material on DVD the course also comes with access to online material. Be aware though that there are some parts of the online material which are not free. An additional fee or yearlong subscription may be requested.

Although this book can be used as an independent learning tool, I would not recommend taking this path if you are looking to practice your speaking skills. I used this book independently, but there were many speaking activities that I obviously could not work on because they called for group or pair work. I feel that those who will benefit the most from this book are teachers due to the way the information is presented and the variety of activities offered in the book. Overall if you are a teacher or student who wants to establish a good foundation in the language and use it in a real life context, this book will be of great use to you.



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