BiographyI 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.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Languages (Brazilian Portuguese, English as a Foreign Language, Japanese, German, Greek)
Reading, cycling, travel
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.
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.