Best Portuguese Textbooks

Hi guys,
I was wondering if any of you had any book recommendations to study Portuguese, in addition to this (fantastic!) website. What makes this book great? Is it focused on grammar, vocabulary, phrases, or all of the above? Is it for beginners or advanced learners? Is it written in European or Brazilian Portuguese, or both? Etc.

I would love to hear from you, kind regards from Holland!

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I liked the book Basic Portuguese: A Grammar and Workbook by Cristina Sousa. If you’ve been learning for a while, you might want something more advanced, but it’s great for beginners because it’s informative without being overwhelming.

It focused mainly on the most common grammatical structures in European Portuguese. Irregular forms were discussed, but they didn’t go way into detail on every exception to the rule. They did a good job of keeping it concise (it’s less than 200 pages), while still adequately explaining the concepts and providing a lot of good examples. Each chapter has a few exercises at the end.

I remember it being particularly useful for explaining how contractions work in Portuguese (de + o = do, etc.).

It would definitely be a good starting point to spell out some of the grammar rules, especially in combination with all the great audio practice on Practice Portuguese.

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This is my little collection :slight_smile:

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When I was at the Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa, they used this series, Aprender Português:


The exact books you need depend on your level (and some of those are packs as opposed to the individual books you see there). The books are awkwardly split between the 2 co-authors at the links below, but you’ll see by the covers that they are part of the same series.

The two “gramática aplicada” books in the series (you’ll see them there) are great for reference as well. Not necessarily saying these are the absolute best, but they worked for me. My only complaint was that it was frustrating at first trying to learn basic grammar via explanations that were more more complex that what I was actually trying to learn, so you’ll need some patience :see_no_evil:

ps. sadly, those aren’t affiliate links! We reached out to them in the past but I guess we were too “small potatoes” at the time for the publisher to be interested.

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I would like to recommend these books by Sue Tyson-Ward (see picture). The two green books are perfect for busy adults with limited leisure time, because the lessons are ”bite-sized” and not overwhelming. These books focus on European Portuguese, but you also get some information about Brazilian Portuguese and the differences between the two varieties. ”Beginning Portuguese” comes with two audio cd’s for the texts and exercises, but the ”pronunciation guide” in the book is very short and by no means sufficient to cover all the tricky bits of Portuguese phonology. When I discovered this awkward drawback, I tried to find a better tool for learning Portuguese pronunciation on Youtube. Thankfully, Practise Portuguese was there to save me. Perfect in combination with Tyson-Ward’s books, I would say. The purple book goes deeper into verb conjugation. I haven’t reached that far yet, but it looks good to me. All three books can be bought from Amazon, for example.

Kind regards from Sweden!

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And it’s Practice Portuguese, of course. :slight_smile:

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I’ll put in a plug for the following. It is old - circa 1965. However, I’ve found it gives a lot more ‘reasons’ for how the grammar works than others that I’ve tried. IE it explains how the grammar works in addition to presenting examples.

Additionally, I’ll suggest reading portuguese childrens books; O Principinho, Charlie e a Fabrica da Chocolate, e outras. I’m now on to Harry Potter e a Pedra Filosofal. I don’t read for 100% comprehension, more to get the general sense. I’ve found as my understanding of grammar and vocabulary increase, I can go back to the earlier books and now get much higher comprehension. Alas, however, I’ve looked for these as audio books (read in portuguese) and have had no luck. Reading along to the spoken would be ótimo!

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This isn’t a textbook, but I still wanted to share. As a kid, it was one of my favorite books, so I was excited to find it in Portuguese.

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Muito bém! Onde descobri-o?

@stephencanthony na Livraria Bertrand

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Yesss! Harry Potter in Portuguese is great, and I agree with your approach of reading to get the overall idea and perhaps only translate a couple words per page if they seem important for the overall context.

Since I already read these books as a tween, it was less overwhelming knowing that I wasn’t going in cold. My foggy memory could help fill in some of the gaps whenever my comprehension failed me.

Great recommendations, thanks for sharing and glad to see you here :slight_smile:

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And you get some interesting vocab … like for goblins, dragons, etc… Feitoceiro/a is another one… Having read the english books & seen the movies (multiple times) I can pretty much fill in the gaps, as you suggest. I’m sure I’d be pretty lost otherwise. And the portuguese rendition of Hagrid talking (a ‘scots’ accent rendered in portuguese) is pretty funny.

Also, when I was in Porto a month or so ago, I went to FNAC seeing if I could get the movies dubbed in Portuguese - alas no go. Subtitled, yes, dubbed, no. Any thoughts/experience in getting movies that have been dubbed would be welcome.

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Movies are rarely, if ever, dubbed in Portugal unless they’re for children. Subtitles are the standard, I’m afraid.

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I was able to get Super Heróis so all was not lost!

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Haha yeah, when I read the first book with Hagrid’s sloppified Portuguese, it was hilarious and frustrating at the same time!

Regarding overdubs, as Joseph said, it’s mostly just kids stuff. However, I find that Pixar’s extensive library is really well done, and pretty satisfying to watch as they seem to make their films for all audiences and not just kids. The Portuguese voices are often as good as the originals, in their own way.

Hi, thank you all for the great tips so far, really helpful. And good luck on the studies!
Kind regards

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If some french stop here.

Very good with stories + CD to learn.

I also use

It’s for beginner and full of exercices.

Porto Edition’s Dictionary.

And the last one :

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Thanks for these suggestions in French! There are people from all over the world using Practice Portuguese, so suggestions in different languages might be very useful.

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Thanks for this tip, Molly. I’m going to order this book as a supplement to Practice Portuguese. It looks as though it’s just what I’m looking for. :smiley:

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