Resenhas de Livros: Tirando Dúvidas de Inglês

Tirando Dúvidas de Inglês
by Michael Jacobs, Disal Editora, 2003
Reviewed by Andrew Kelsey and John R. Schmitz

As with his three previous books, Como não aprender inglês, this one is aimed squarely at Brazilians. Once again Michael has managed to take a dry subject like English and spice it up with witty personal recollections and comments. Gently chiding his readers, or encouraging them to buy a grammar book, he leads them on an amusing journey of discovery through some byways of the world’s most widespread language. Michael’s innate good humour comes through in his writing and leaves his readers, as I suspect he leaves his students, feeling as though they have had a chat with an old friend, rather than a lesson. No detail is too unimportant to examine, no question too silly to ask. Tirando dúvidas de inglês is a fun read, “without a doubt”, but with a deadly serious purpose.

The reviewer
British born Andrew Kelsey is a freelance English teacher and translator.

Tirando dúvidas de inglês is chock full of information about all aspects of English. In a question and answer format, Michael Jacobs provides answers to questions asked by his students in class and also queries sent to him by e-mail. There is a wealth of information in this lively publication for Jacobs has managed to collect a wide range of questions about grammar, spelling, use of contractions, vocabulary, pronunciation and culture. It is the type of book that is difficult to put down once you get started. I am certain that Jacobs´ book will enable teachers to be more confident in their work. All teachers, native or non-native, are required to field questions and some of them are not at all easy to answer. What is nice about the book is that the questions are really good ones - a tribute to all the teachers in different parts of Brazil who take their teaching seriously, really want to improve and are not afraid to ask. I, for one, enjoyed reading the questions and the answers the author provides. I learned a lot of things I was not aware of. Happily, I am now in a position to pass on the information to my own students. One never stops learning, really. The questions about the difference between start and begin, fill in and fill out and how one says “ficar a ver navios” in English are good examples of what readers will find in this very well-written and good-humored book. The question and answer, informal but serious “bate-papo” presentation in Portuguese is a pleasant change from those “canned” texts written by authors who have never been in a Brazilian classroom and may not have seen real students for years.

The reviewer
John R. Schmitz is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Unicamp.

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