Vol. 3, No. 3, November 2003
as a Second Language
Reviewed by Karl
Portuguese as a Second Language
Publisher and Contact Information:
Rua Santa Luzia, 798 - Sala 1306
Centro - Rio de Janeiro - RJ
Tel/Fax: +(55-21) 532-1611
95/98 or NT version 4.0, 2000* or later
Minimum hardware requirements:
486 66 mHz processor, 8 MB Ram
Soundblaster or compatible card
VGA 640 x 480
hardware requirements: for Macintosh
Only for PC
The language laboratory has become a more complicated
place in the last 20 years. There was a time when (if your
school was fortunate enough to have a lab) the only worry
was whether the lab program masters came on reel-to-reel
tapes or on cassettes. Today textbooks come with myriad
lab resources: Cassettes, audio CDs, companion web-sites,
and of course CD-ROMs.
The good news is that everything a cassette deck did -and more- can now be
done by computer. The multimedia capacity of computers makes the language
laboratory a more interesting place: Students can experience sights and sounds
of the lands where the target language is spoken rather than simply listening
and repeating after the model.
In Interagindo: Portuguese as a Second Language , ibMedia has produced
a professional update of a textbook that was originally designed to be used
with a lab tape:
“O laboratório de línguas é moderno.
Há 1 mesa principal para a profesora. Há um
painel de controle na mesa. Há 10 cabines para os
alunos. Há 10 gravadores. Há fitas-cassete
no laboratório. As fitas estão nos arquivos
e nas cabines.” (p. 61)
(The language laboratory is modern. There is a main table
for the professor. There is a control panel on the table.
There are 10 booths for the students. There are 10 recorders.
There are cassette tapes in the laboratory. The tapes are
in the files and in the booths.)
The CD-ROM installed and ran flawlessly on Windows ME
(an operating system not famous for its stability!) The
menus are well organized and follow the ten-unit textbook
closely. The dialogs are presented with colorful cartoon
drawings, first read at normal speed, and then read with space for the student
to repeat. The grammar charts are also well-presented. The written exercises
are virtually identical to those in the textbook.
One shortcoming of the program is that it does not actually check the users'
written input. Instead, it simply gives the correct answer and lets the student
compare her work to the key. Nevertheless, having an answer key is helpful.
A student would be well advised to complete the written work in the paperback
textbook and then use the CD-ROM as an answer key (or to simply skip these
exercises and use the exercises and answer key in the textbook.)
The accompanying textbook is well organized and clearly
comes from the author's years of classroom experience.
The course begins with greetings and the present tense
of the verb SER in unit one and covers the present, present
progressive, preterite, and the imperfect tenses by unit
ten. The textbook ends with the following observation:
“‘Carioca' is the name given to people born in Rio and
to everything that belongs to Rio . ‘To be carioca' also
defines the way of life in Rio .” (p. 214)
For the adult beginner who wishes to learn Brazilian Portuguese, Interagindo is
a good starting point. It is also a valuable resource for
self-study in a language center, or as a textbook in a
language institute course. It does not cover enough material
to be used in typical North American college language programs.
In conclusion, Interagindo is a good introduction
to the language and culture of Brazil . Congratulations
to Professor Suely Mesquita Cosenza for a very nice multimedia
course in Portuguese!