How to choose a dictionary

You already know that learning Portuguese is important to your future. You are off to a good start by reading this blog. But can you read and understand the Intermediate Portuguese section? Not yet? So, let’s talk about something that I think is essential to accelerate your learning process:  a good dictionary.
There are a lot of English-Portuguese dictionaries out there. How are you going to know which one to buy? I’m going to help you.
In order to find a really good Portuguese-English dictionary,  read the reviews or ask me for suggestions. Always get the newest edition and choose the size you are more comfortable handling. I usually tell my students to have a smaller one for travel and a bigger one to use as a reference, at home.
If you are learning Brazilian Portuguese, you should make sure to get a Brazilian Portuguese dictionary. I’ll give you two good options soon.
If you are learning the European Portuguese, make sure to get a European Portuguese dictionary, if possible. That sounds obvious but there are variations between the two languages so it’s important to get the right one. There are some differences in spelling and especially in pronunciation.

I couldn’t find a good European Portuguese one here in the US but if you are out of the United States go to a bookstore or try to find one online. It needs to be an edition after 2009, because of the New Orthographic Agreement of 2008. Try Collins or Langenscheidt. If you don’t mind to use an online dictionary, this one is good: Dicionário Priberam.

For the Brazilian Portuguese students: I found this one a few months ago, and now it’s my favorite.

Have a look:

It’s a concise dictionary. The size is less than 6×4 inches and it has 531 pages.  There are more than 10,000 essential entries and each entry includes grammatical information and pronunciation.

It’s great to take with you when you are traveling. Check it out here.
In addition to that one, I also like the Larousse. I’ve been using this one here in the US since 2005 and always recommend it to my students. Of course I recommend the new edition from 2010.

It has 1064 pages, more than 90,000 references and 120,000 translations, including coverage of Brazilian usage and spelling. There’s also a pronunciation guide, some grammar and idioms plus a 32-page supplement of life and culture. Looks like this:

It’s the best one to have on your desk. Check it out here.

Those are my suggestions. If you already have a dictionary, that’s good. You can tell me which one you have and I’ll check it out for you to make sure it’s a good one and that it’s the most appropriate for your level and goals.
Let’s start!


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