Como Dizer Tudo em Inglês: Livro de Atividades
Ron Martinez, Campus/Elsevier, 2004
Reviewed by John Corbett
The beauty of Ron’s Como dizer tudo books is that he combines keen observation and a sense of humour with state-of-the-art research into the words and phrases of English. The result is a series of books that teach you language that is real, useful and, above all, interesting. Any language textbook will teach you how to get from A to B or how to order a drink. But how many show you how to exchange suave small-talk with your partner while the waiter dispenses your food (‘Wow. Yours looks good.’ ‘I should have ordered that!’) and even flirt a little afterwards (‘Can I try some of yours?’ ‘Would you like some more wine?’)?
Como dizer tudo em inglês: Livro de Atividades fills the gap. It takes a selection of the phrases from the original book, adds a CD of spoken exchanges, and wraps around them a variety of simple but effective activities that can be used either in the classroom or by the independent learner (yes, there are answers and scripts at the back).
The dialogues are short and easy to memorise. But their biggest attraction for me is that they never fail to focus on that all-important touch of empathy that changes the speaker from an information-exchanging robot into a real human being, someone who might be described as simpático:
HOMEM: Are you OK? You don’t look very well.
MULHER: I have a terrible headache.
HOMEM: Oh, I hate that. Is there anything I can do?
The book is full of identification exercises, matching activities, sequencing activities and communication tasks. These activities are designed to aid memorisation and to promote both accuracy and fluency. And, ultimately, that is what this book is about: conversational fluency. The title of the series may still be a bit of an exaggeration learners may not be able to say tudo in English after using these books. But they will be able to function properly in a very wide range of common conversational situations. And they will be able to do more than just use appropriate language. They’ll be able to use interesting language too.
I can’t wait for the Portuguese version.
John Corbett – University of Glasgow