The Reading Matrix
Vol. 3, No. 3, November 2003

Interagindo: Portuguese as a Second Language
Reviewed by Karl W. Fisher


Interagindo: 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


Windows 95/98 or NT version 4.0, 2000* or later

Minimum hardware requirements: for PC

486 66 mHz processor, 8 MB Ram
CD-ROM drive
Soundblaster or compatible card
VGA 640 x 480

Minimum 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!

























Karl is the Director of the Language Laboratory and an Instructor of Spanish at the University of the South in Sewanee, T He would rather be in Rio learning to play “The Girl from Ipanema” on his guitar but he has to work for a living.