Learning Portuguese, Take Off in Portuguese

Take Off in Portuguese

Authors: Michael Harland and Ana Saldanha

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication date: 2008

Price: the pack is no longer available to purchase, although there are still second-hand copies available

CEFR levels: A1-B1 (Beginner to Intermediate)

Components: Textbook (256 pages), 4 audio CDs

Number of hours: 40-50



  • Definite and indefinite articles
  • Masculine and feminine nouns
  • Verbs estar, ser and ficar
  • Regular adjectives
  • Plurals
  • Regular and irregular verbs
  • de + definite article
  • onde?, como?, quem?, quanto?, qual?, o que?, que?
  • nunca and nenhum
  • em + definite article
  • ter de/ter que
  • Present tense to talk about the future
  • ir + infinitive to talk about the future
  • Prepositions a, em, de
  • Subject pronouns
  • Possessive forms
  • muito
  • Cardinal and ordinal numbers
  • Direct object pronouns
  • Demonstrative forms
  • Imperative
  • Time expressions
  • Indirect object pronouns
  • Reflexive verbs
  • Present continuous estar a + infinitive
  • ‘Strong’ object pronouns
  • com + pronoun
  • The comparative
  • tencionar and pensar to express intentions
  • Future tense
  • Imperfect tense
  • por and para
  • Present subjunctive
  • in time expressions
  • Superlative
  • ou…ou, nem…nem
  • Imperfect continuous
  • Adjectives with muito and the –íssimo form
  • Preterite tense
  • deixar de
  • dever
  • Expressions with ter
  • Object pronouns
  • Dates
  • Imperfect preterite
  • durante to talk about the past
  • tão…como, tanto…como/quanto
  • Pluperfect
  • Past participles
  • Time expressions denoting frequency
  • brincar, jogar, tocar
  • Infinitive in formal instructions
  • Words showing the sequence of events
  • -se for instructions
  • Impersonal constructions
  • Passive
  • Diminutives
  • Imperfect subjunctive
  • Past tenses of


  • Greetings
  • Simple everyday phrases
  • Ordering food and drinks
  • Booking a hotel room
  • Giving personal details
  • Describing places
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Using local transport
  • Timetables
  • Directions
  • Asking how much something is
  • Asking how far something is
  • Buying petrol
  • Booking tickets
  • Saying where you live and where you come from
  • Adjectives of nationality
  • Saying what you do for a living
  • Giving an opinion
  • Talking about daily routines
  • Telling the time
  • Talking about events
  • Talking about shopping hours
  • Describing items (colour, size)
  • Talking on the phone
  • Making invitations
  • Arranging to meet
  • Making requests
  • Giving instructions
  • Weather
  • Expressing future intentions
  • Giving and asking for advice
  • Expressing opinions and doubts
  • Making announcements
  • Offering, accepting and refusing
  • Paying compliments
  • Talking about the past
  • Taking about your background and giving personal details
  • Parts of the body
  • Saying how you feel and where it hurts
  • Describing what happened
  • Understanding advice and giving instructions
  • Talking about past experiences
  • Expressing emotions such as surprise
  • Talking about family and friends
  • Talking about dates and length of time
  • Talking about hobbies, games and other interests
  • Expressing how much you like or dislike something
  • Compare the things you like or dislikes
  • Expressing how often you do something
  • Following recipes and manuals
  • Giving instructions on how to do something
  • Narrate a sequence of events
  • Congratulating people
  • Making toasts
  • Asking others to do something
  • Expressing hopes and wishes
  • Expressing surprise, feelings and sensations

Publisher claims

The course focuses on listening and speaking and allows you to progress at your own rate. It provides support with transcriptions of the audio, translations of new vocabulary and grammar explanations. You can build your knowledge of Portuguese vocabulary and grammar with activities, dialogues and summaries. There are test-yourself exercises which allow you to measure your progress.


The course focuses on European Portuguese. There is a recurring story with a group of Portuguese characters which allows you to hear natural conversations in an engaging setting.

The course is structured and there is clear progression.

The book is a nice compact size, which allows you to carry it in pocket or handbag.

There is plenty of listening and speaking practice, along with vocabulary and grammar activities. The speaking in particular is good in this course, as you are having virtual mini-conversations (where prompts in English are given by the woman on the CD).

There is a short test at the end of every unit, which gives a score at the end. The test only tests grammar and vocabulary, not listening or speaking.

There are regular reviews every three or four units which test grammar, vocabulary, listening and speaking. This does not have a final score at the end.

The themes of the units focus on functional language and there is a good progress in the level of the vocabulary.

The units are structured: presenting the new grammar and vocabulary in a dialogue and focussing on key phrases or sentences, doing written vocabulary and language building activities in the book before doing the speaking activity. There is a whole lesson in each unit dedicate to reading, which introduces information about Portuguese culture. The recurring story in the last lesson of each unit consolidates all the grammar and vocabulary. The unit ends with a Summary, which gives more speaking practice.

The methodology is very clear.

The endmatter includes the answers, a grammar summary, a Portuguese-English vocabulary list, a glossary of grammar terms and an index of the grammar covered in the book.

There is good coverage of pronunciation skills.

It gives a good grounding in the language necessary for the GCSE, CIPLE or DEPLE exams and makes a good revision course.


The design of the book is uninspiring. It is black and white text with no images.

The course is now out of print.

There are no track numbers for the CD in the book, which makes it hard to locate which CD and which track you need for the listening activities.

There is too much English explanation in the book and there is too much explanation given in English on the CD.

Activities often require the answers to be written in English rather than in Portuguese.

The audioscripts don’t appear anywhere in the book, so you can’t check a passage you may not have understood.

Each unit covers a lot of grammar and then quickly moves on.

The book doesn’t cover the future subjunctive.

The reading texts don’t get longer towards the end of the book and the activity types in the later units don’t seem a lot more challenging than earlier units.