I'm looking for a European Portuguese phrasebook that uses IPA.

A major problem with most phrasebooks is that they attempt to describe pronunciation with some pseudo-phonetical approximation in a different language. This is particularly disastrous in English, where a suffix like -ough has 11 pronunciations. Moreover, many Portuguese sounds simply do not exist in English. Therefore, any attempt to describe pronunciation using English is completely useless (for example: prah OHN-deh vigh EESH-teh kohm-BOY-oo).

Yet most phrasebooks use it anyway.

Does anyone know of any Portuguese phrasebook that uses the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to describe pronunciation? For my purposes, the phrasebook should describe European Portuguese and translate to either English, Dutch, Germany, Swedish, or French.

  • Another problem with phonetic approximations in English is that you have to keep in mind (or guess) which English accent is being used by the person concocting the phonetic representation of the other language. At some point in my childhood I realized that all the crazy attempts in my parents' phrasebooks were not quite as crazy for a speaker of English "received pronunciation" as they were for me. (But I didn't actually learn the term "received pronunciation" until ten or fifteen years after that.)
    – phoog
    Apr 9, 2018 at 21:00
  • 2
    I would just learn how to read Portuguese (and I actually did, it's not that hard) and be independent from any descriptions of pronunciation.
    – Neusser
    Apr 9, 2018 at 21:20
  • @Neusser that implies the availability of a Portuguese speaker to instruct you in pronunciation and how it relates to spelling, or, dare I say it, written materials employing IPA.
    – phoog
    Apr 10, 2018 at 3:11
  • Why not use some sort of an app which has pre-recorded voiceovers for every sentence?
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 10, 2018 at 4:29
  • @JonathanReez That depends on technology I don't have (a smartphone or tablet), and I prefer to use written materials rather than to try and navigate which phrase in my phrasebook (and I do mean a book, not anything electronic) matches with which phrase in the audio source.
    – gerrit
    Apr 10, 2018 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Well, I haven't found a phrasebook, but here's an online converter from European Portuguese text to IPA. The good thing is that Portuguese has regular pronunciation rules, but they are somewhat complex, especially for vowels.

Related question from portuguese.SE: Online Portuguese dictionary with IPA transcriptions

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .