Portuguese: A Language Map by Kristine Kershul

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“Five outta ten!”
artistic and visual; good choice of survival phrases; clear division into topics; fold-out may attract some on-the-go travelers and language learners; stays basic and doesn’t go off on any tangents like travel tips or cultural notes (phrases only!)

despite its visual appeal, visual learners would have benefited from images that correspond to the phrases; Brazilian only (a con for European Portuguese learners); fold-out format cumbersome for some travelers (do you like laminated maps?); coverage and variety of phrases is less than traditional phrasebook for the price

Portuguese: A Language Map is not a book, but an eight page laminated fold-out. It fits as many Portuguese phrases as possible onto the space of two sides of a placemat, with the exception of spots dedicated to attractive watercolor drawings.

The phrases cover 14 different traveler-friendly topics from meeting people (Como vai?) to hotels and room service (Fiz uma reserva) to shopping (Aceita cartões de crédito?). Each section contains one or two dozen must-know phrases, which seem well chosen and fit the topic. The top and bottom borders also count to one thousand in Portuguese for easy access.

Each phrase is accompanied by an English-friendly pronunciation reading, which is less than optimal if you can listen to a native speaker instead (or, at least, read Portuguese sounds written in IPA). Still, this guide gives you a rough idea of how to pronounce words as you speak Portuguese (por-too-gaysh).

The layout of words and phrases follows Portuguese in 10 Minutes a Day. According to the back of the product, this map is offered bundled together with that book as a companion phrase chart.

I don’t think the coverage offered by Portuguese: A Language Map can compare with other Portuguese phrase books available online or at your local bookstore. However, if you like the layout and style, and you plan to travel to Brazil, it’s worth it for the ability to reference vocabulary quickly. On the other hand, I’m used to the book format, and find this foldout stylish but unwieldy.

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