Almost a year ago, language teacher Sheila Watts decidedto make learning Portuguese more practical by releasing a book that explained the basics, and promised readers they would not become bogged down with complicated grammar.
“The book was conceived during one of those February downpours that only the Algarve can produce,” she remembers. The ‘household’ Portuguese, which Sheila had acquired during her years living and working in the Algarve, was the source of the original book. “It is not an all-embracing language course, but rather an attempt to provide people with the wherewithal to get into, and out of, the sort of practical situations that make being an English-speaking resident in Portugal so special. The book has been welcomed by English-speaking residents, who say it is just what they need, and that they have found it very useful,” she explains.
Now, as a response to readers of the book who have commented that they really struggle with Portuguese pronunciation, Sheila is launching an audio CD to accompany the book. Sheila explains: “My main concern was to produce something that is authentic, but at the same time useful.” So, she approached Ana-Luísa Albuquerque – the proof-reader for the original book – and her husband Filipe for help. “They are both teachers and, therefore, know just how to read the text so that it sounds natural, but, at the same time, is slow and clear for a foreign listener.”
Sheila finally comments: “Making the recording was an experience in itself, as none of us had any idea of just what modern computer sound technology can do. We had great fun, and collapsed into giggles on more that one occasion, especially when Filipe got tongue-tied in his own language. So although the result will, we hope, be a successful follow-up to the book, it is no more seriously academic than the book is and we hope listeners will find it of practical help to them.
• The Practical Portuguese – Language for Living Here book and CD are available at outlets across the Algarve. Ring George at The Resident during office hours for the location of your nearest vendor. In addition, Sheila Watts will be signing books and CDs on The Resident stand at AFPOP’s Better Living in Portugal exhibition, on October 16 and 17 in Portimão’s Exhibition Park.