5 outstanding books to help you learn Portuguese
Looking for some books to help you with your Portuguese? Then we have some great suggestions for you! Whether it’s a grammar guide you are after, or a great novel written in Portuguese for you to get your teeth into, here are some of the best to get you started.
The Oxford Essential Portuguese Dictionary is a great dictionary, with over 40,000 words and phrases and 60,000 translations. What is great about this dictionary is that while it is based on Brazilian Portuguese, there are guides to demonstrate the differences with European Portuguese so you won’t get caught out. There are pronunciation guides, and special terminology lists for things like technology and business. You will find ‘lifestyle’ language as well that incorporates the most up to date vocabulary while demonstrating how to use it.
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Ponto de Encontro is quite a famous book for Portuguese learning. This is one of the most comprehensive guides you will find, a favored book by many learning establishments. Like our dictionary suggestion, Ponto de Encontro gives guidance on both European and Brazilian Portuguese. The book provides clear explanations of all the language points you need through activities and exercises, using both cultural and societal examples to demonstrate their points. Why not get a copy for yourself?
O Alquimista, Paulo Coelho
On to some novels, and why not start with a famous one that has been translated into many languages, including English! O Alquimista, or The Alchemist, is the story of a shepherd who travels to visit the Egyptian pyramids in search of lost treasure, and in the process finds themselves. Although this Brazilian novel uses quite complex Portuguese in places, already knowing the gist of the story will help you work out the language you don’t already know. You will also get to see the story on the screen at some point! Laurence Fishburne’s labor of love to bring The Alchemist to the cinema is long anticipated. Why not read the book in Portuguese before it hits our screens, so you can know what to expect in advance!
Os Maias, Eça de Queirós
Os Maias is a coming-of-age story set in nineteenth-century Lisbon, following the life of Carlos de Maia. Despite a good education and a comfortable life thanks to his family’s wealth, Carlos soon realizes that the pursuit of happiness is more than just about fun and frivolities. This is a classic novel translated into a number of languages. There is tragedy, and comedy, and plenty of excitement to keep you turning the page. And if you want to wring even more out of this novel there is also a film to watch! Os Maias is a beautiful story that we are sure you will fall in love with, a perfect book to practice your Portuguese with.
Meia-Noite e Vinte, Daniel Galera
Meia-Noite e Vinte is an intriguing book set in Porto Alegre, where we meet our protagonists in the middle of a heatwave and bus strike. These three friends once produced a popular fanzine together back in the 1990s, though the fourth member of the group is now dead. As we learn more about the friends we see the world through their eyes, a fractured, broken one whose future is now undetermined and might not have as much as it did to offer for previous generations. Meia-Noite e Vinte is a great reflection on our modern life; if you’ve ever seen the disdain older generations have for Millennials this book will give you an insight into what it is like being handed a world that we don’t know how to fix. Politics and Portuguese all in one novel; what more could you want!
Aventuras de Dona Redonda, Virgínia de Castro e Almeida
Our final choice of novel is a fun one, particularly if you enjoy the writing of Lewis Carroll! Aventuras de Dona Redonda is a two-part story following the adventures of Dona Redonda and Dona Maluka. These eccentric, charming older ladies will draw you in as they encounter mysterious folk in the guise of children, animals, and strange beings, in a fantastical and humorous setting. These books are fun reads suitable for adult and children alike. Keep your dictionary to hand and expect to be so enthralled you will forget you are reading to learn Portuguese!
Whatever your reading choices when you’re studying Portuguese, we wish you page-turners and the very best of success!