Generations of Linguaphone Portuguese
I am posting this description of the Linguaphone Portuguese courses in partial response to Dtmont’s
questions under his thread “European Lesson books with audio?” Some of my comments are repeats of my presentation of the Linguaphone Dutch course, above. Linguaphone Portuguese: 1920’s – 1930’s
While I do not have a copy of the Portuguese course from this period, I do have a three sets of the German course. As the Linguaphone courses of this period were so uniform in their approach to teaching that the dialogues could be matched on line-by-line basis across the different target languages, it is reasonable to assume that the Portuguese course resembled the image below which is drawn from the German course of the period. The printed materials accompanying these courses seem to have been varied: (a) a leaflet containing a printed transcript and translation of the 16 x 78 rpm shellac record sets, with the subsequent addition of (b) a grammar, and (c) a supplement on writing business letters. Elexi
would know more about this.Linguaphone Portuguese: 1940’s – 1950’s (until 1987)
A major revision to the Linguaphone courses was effected during the period from the 1940’s through the 1950’s and, during the process, a number of languages were added to this publisher’s catalogue for this new generation. Linguaphone retained their practice of using a uniform approach to teaching and story lines thereby permitting the line-by-line matching of dialogues across the different target languages (a few courses, notably those covering some of the less-frequently-studied languages, were reprints of materials published by Teach Yourself and, possibly, by Hugo). Linguaphone Portuguese: 1970’s (no revision)
In the 1970’s, a large portion of the Linguaphone courses underwent major revisions, yielding an entirely new generation. While the approach to teaching was fairly uniform (in that the courses from this period tended to present the language through the experiences of an expatriate family who has returned to their native country for an extended visit), the story lines differ across the different target languages and the dialogues can no longer be matched line-by-line. Note carefully that there was NO REVISION to the Linguaphone Portuguese course during this period; that is, the publisher continued to offer the course of the prevision generation. Linguaphone Portuguese: 1987 to the Present
In the early-to-middle 1980’s Linguaphone issued completely revised versions of their Dutch and Portuguese courses. It would appear that no other languages were included in these revisions. The materials presently included in this generation of the Portuguese course are (a) a 343-page Textbook which contains all of the dialogues and reading materials in the target language only, (b) a 392-page Handbook, for each of the language bases, containing precise instructions for study, glossaries by lesson, translations, exercises, culture notes, and notes on grammar (which are unusually clear for this publisher), and (c) 8 compact disks which contain the recorded dialogues and exercises in the target language only. In addition, the publisher’s website advises that purchases will have access to (d) “online audio”, something that was not available when I purchased my own copy several years ago. The materials are delivered in a plastic carrying case and include a Study Guide (I always misplace the latter). Finally, a “digital” edition of the course is available for download (computer, tablet, smartphone).
The language presented in the course is described in Handbook as follows: “It is written in the Portuguese of educated people throughout the Portuguese-speaking world. The accent and pronunciation are mainly those of Portugal, but there are also some speakers of Brazilian Portuguese. There are strong regional differences in the Portuguese spoken in the various parts of Brazil and the Brazilian speakers in your course speak the Portuguese of Rio de Janeiro. The emphasis throughout is on using Portuguese for practical, day-to-day purposes.”
The Handbook includes a summary notes on Brazilian Portuguese usage throughout the lessons.
The Linguaphone Portuguese course comprises four progressive levels, each divided into 10 units/lessons, including 2 reviews and a progress test at the end of each level. The language is presented through a combination of dialogues and exercises which force the student “to discover” the language through thoughtful analysis of the materials. That is, the student is not invited to simply repeat the dialogues; rather, he must “solve a language puzzle” (my own admittedly-weak description) in order to progress, a teaching method which might require some adaptation on the part of students who are accustomed to using more conventional self-instruction language courses.
The publisher estimates that the course can be covered within 3 months and that, upon completion, the student will have achieve a level of CEFR B2 competence in all four skills. I find both estimates a bit ambitious and would suggest that the average person would likely require at least 6 months to cover the materials adequately and that, upon completion, would likely be able to function somewhere within the CEFR A2-B1 range
. I have attached, below, images drawn from the Textbook and the Handbook.
Textbook: Unit 28
Handbook: Unit 28Inserted 29 October 2019 (from the "European Portuguese lesson books with audio" thread:
Gemuse commenting on Linguaphone Portuguese (first published in 1987) wrote: I went through most of the Linguaphone PT course and I was not happy with it.
1. In the beginning lessons, the audio is just too fast for beginners. I had to supplement it with Hugo Portuguese (I managed to get a used copy of Hugo together with audio).
2. After the beginning lessons, it covers materials too fast without giving the readers enough practice. I would read many constructs but I would not assimilate them. A proper course, covering the same material would have 3x the number of pages…
Two quick comments:
As I remarked in my own review of the Linguaphone Portuguese, this course is very demanding
. However, I was not referring to the cadence of speech. Rather, I found that the manner by which the authors chose to introduce the language was something of a departure from what seems to have become the standard in commercially-prepared language courses (dialogues, exercises, notes). While I cannot quite put my finger on it, the effect almost seems to be that of a “total immersion” course; that is, from the outset, the user really has to “think” in the language. While this means that progress through the lessons will be slower than with competing approaches (viz., Assimil, Cortina, Linguaphone from the 1920’s through the 1970’s), it should result in a higher level of integration of the materials or, so I assume.
Prior to tackling the Linguaphone Portuguese, I had studied Portuguese with a number of other courses. As a result, I was prepared for the cadence of speech. Nevertheless, there are two schools of thought on this aspect; that is, either introduce the spoken language: (1) at a speed that is laboriously slow (viz., Assimil) and, while it increases, it never achieves the conversational speed between native speakers, thereby causing problems of adaptation later, or (b) at a speed which closely resembles that of conversational speed between native speakers (viz., FSI Italian FAST, Linguaphone Portuguese) which risks terrorizing the students who may react by abandoning all efforts at learning the target language. Personally, I would favour an approach which gradually increase the cadence of speech throughout the course, with the dialogues of the final third of the course delivered at a speed resembling that of conversation between native speakers.
Although “double posting” is discouraged on the forum, given Gemuse’s strong reactions to the Linguaphone Portuguese course, I will be inserting a copy of this post into the “General Linguaphone Discussion” thread.
Gemuse wrote: Demanding in what sense?
Speakeasy wrote: From the very first lesson, there was, for me, something very different about the presentation that sets the most recent editions of the Linguaphone Dutch and Portuguese courses apart from anything else that I have ever encountered. As I commented, I cannot quite put my finger on it, but it’s there and, for me, it felt like I was being dragged into a total immersion situation. The effect was so powerful that it caused me to view the “standard” approaches as too easy by comparison which might explain why so few students can actually interact with native speakers upon completion of the average CEFR B1 level course. Not particularly specific, I know, but that’s what I’ve got. Perhaps, were someone like Cainntear, Aokoye, Inguanamon, RandomReview, Elexi, or others to use these courses, we might get a better appreciation for the differences in approach and the effects they have on learning.