John  Whitlam Author of Evaluating Organization Development

John Whitlam

Freelance author and university lecturer

Originally from England, I have been based in Brazil since 2004. Apart from ten years as an EU staff translator, I have spent most of my career specializing in bilingual lexicography, authoring and editing language textbooks and managing dictionary and other editorial projects. I work in a number of languages, but Brazilian Portuguese has become my particular area of expertise, along with English for Brazilians. I also teach translation at postgraduate level.


I studied German and Modern Greek at university, but a chance encounter at that time brought me into contact with Brazilian Portuguese. It was love at first hearing, a love which only blossomed and grew on my first trip to Brazil, still as a student, in 1981.  After graduation, another stroke of chance got me into bilingual lexicography and Portuguese dictionaries ended up becoming my speciality. After many trips to Brazil for work and pleasure in the intervening years, I decided to move here permanently in 2004. It has been an extremely stimulating and enriching experience to be living the language every day, observing at first hand new words and expressions, trends in grammar and usage and even native speakers' "mistakes", which can be very instructive. As an English linguist based in Brazil, it has also been a natural step to take an interest in the particular difficulties experienced by Brazilians learning English, which in turn have their origin in Portuguese. I firmly believe that this comparative approach is the key to effective language learning for anyone beyond the age when new information begins to be consciously processed through the filter of our mother tongue. That is also why I make substantial use of translation in my textbooks: an accurate and idiomatic translation in your own language can tell you more about how a foreign word or expression is used than half a page of explanation.


    MA in Modern Languages, University of Cambridge, 1984
    MA in Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield, 2004

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Languages (Brazilian Portuguese, English as a Foreign Language, Japanese, German, Greek)
    Bilingual lexicography
    Corpus linguistics
    Language teaching

Personal Interests

    Reading, cycling, travel


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar - 1st Edition book cover


New revised editions of the Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar and Workbook

By: John Whitlam

2017 sees the publication of new revised second editions of Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar: A Practical Guide and Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar Workbook. Building on the success of the first edition of MBPG A Practical Guide, the second edition also includes an introduction to the history and current status of Brazilian Portuguese; a more detailed description of Brazilian pronunciation; notes for Spanish speakers pointing out the main grammatical differences between the two languages; additional explanation and exemplification of areas of particular difficulty for learners, such as the use of the tenses and the difference between ser, estar and ficar. The new edition of the MBPG Workbook features a diagnostic test which you can use to assess and compare your knowledge before and after working through the book.

Publication of my Webster's Escolar dictionary in Brazil

By: John Whitlam

I'm very pleased and proud to report that my Webster's Escolar dictionary has just come out in Brazil, published by Editora Record. It is a two-way dictionary of English and Portuguese for Brazilian school students and other learners. Written entirely single-handedly over three years, it contains around 58,000 translated headwords, phrases and example sentences. For me, it represents both the culmination and convergence of the different strands of my career to date: bilingual lexicography, translation, Brazilian Portuguese, English teaching. As in all my published works, I have aspired to the highest possible quality of content presented in an accessible and user-friendly way.