Customer Review

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deeply flawed, 15 Dec 2007
This review is from: Brazilian Portuguese (Lonely Planet Phrasebook) (Paperback)
At first sight, a useful book despite a dictionary at the back that contains some glaring omissions of basic words such as 'from' and 'please', as well as other useful words such as 'sting'. Its culinary reader is threadbare too, with plenty of omissions - annoying when tried to decipher a menu.

But the real flaw is in the phonetic spellings of the Portuguese words. The author uses 'ng' to indicate the nasal vowels that characterise Brazilian Portuguese, but this only works about half the time. The rest of the time you're just mispronouncing the word.

The biggest omission of all, though, is as follows. In Brazilian Portuguese, when a 't' is followed by an 'e' or an 'i', this means the 't' is pronounced like the 'j' in jam or 'ch' in church. It soon transpired that this is a key and crucial part of Brazilian Portuguese speech and it's not mentioned anywhere in this book, thereby rendering several phonetic spellings inaccurate and useless.

Interestingly I later discovered that the Lonely Planet guide to Brazil, published two years later than this book, does include this bit of information in its few pages devoted to the language - but if they now know this to be the case they should really have withdrawn this Brazilian Portuguese phrasebook and published a new edition with the correct phonetic spellings. Given that this is the third edition of the book, the fact that it will have taken Lonely Planet four editions of the book to include a fairly rudimentary aspect of pronounciation does not inspire confidence that they know what they're doing. As it is, the book is devalued and my confidence in the Lonely Planet brand weakened.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Feb 2009 12:16:13 GMT
It might be worth noting that the pronunciations are different in the south of Brazil to the north of Brazil (and found in practice and confirmed by a number of Brazilians!). I used the book in the north (Recife area), and the pronunciations were fine (particularly regarding the "ch" sound noted above). When I got further south (Rio), it had definitely gone to the "ch" rather than "te" sound (eg in Boa Noite - good night). So it might be that the above reviewer was using the book in the south where pronunciations are different to the book.
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