How are these Brazilian (Portuguese) names pronounced in (U.S.) English?
- João Gilberto
- Astrud Gilberto
- Bebel Gilberto
- Vinicius de Moraes
- Antonio Carlos Jobim
- Vivo Sonhando
It is rare for an native (first language) American English speaker to have any idea how the orthography for Brazilian names to work, so they will pronounce them with the rules of American orthography:
(yes, the transcription is in 'sound it out' English orthography; IPA would take forever)
It is obviously not expected that an AmE speaker would be able to pronounce the nasal, but even though they could pronounce the 'ny' in Brazilian 'nh' or the initial 'g' has glottal aspirate 'h', Portuguuese (Brazilian at that) orthography is pretty rare, and so could not be expected to be known at all. (Spanish is popular enough for AmE speakers, and even there the orthography is not so well known).
As to news- or sportscasters, often they are given a close enough approximation so that the names aren't agonizingly butchered.
This is not meant to replace anybody else’s answer, just supplement them. Parlty this is because I’d like to have both the English and the Portuguese (well, and/or Brazilian) versions in the same place. But it’s also because I’m going to give fairly narrow phonetic transcriptions, which are very important, especially for the Portuguese since few English speakers have any clue about Portuguese phonology.
For the English, I just do whatever my mouth would do for these words in English using only native English phonemes picking whichever is closest to the original in Portuguese. I don’t try to read the letters as though they were English letters, which is the fatal flaw that English announcers ignorant of Portuguese so often do. Don’t do that. Just remaps the sounds, not the letters. And don’t pronounce it as though it were Spanish, either!
I then also provide a few different phonetic transcriptions for the Portuguese, also fairly narrow. This should help you get an idea of some of the range of actual variation there can be in speakers depending on region, education, social context, and phrasal context. There are more possibilities than those I’ve shown here.
People aren’t used to hearing the Portuguese palatalized syllable-final ‹s› in English, especially in the States, so I probably wouldn’t do that in English as I would in Portuguese. Interestingly, the BBC does do so, however, when pronouncing Portuguese names in English, trying to come as close to the Coimbra pronunciation as allowed for by English phonology.
I’ve chosen a [phonetic] transcription rather than a broad /phonemic/ one, because a native speaker of English unacquainted with Portuguese phonology would have no idea which allophones are possible, or likely, given a Portuguese phoneme. It takes some getting used to, and Spanish is no help here.
I find the IPA a lot easier to read in the literal font here. Otherwise my web browser screws up the narrow-transcription diacritics I’ve used.
Correction welcome as always.
English speakers familiar with the bossa nova canon will know how to pronounce these names:
Where there are two pronunciations, the first pronunciation is "closer" to Portuguese.
As a side note to those who are wondering who and what all these names are: the first five are all people who have Wikipedia entries and are extremely famous musicians, known world-wide as being the central figures of the bossa nova musical movement (except maybe Bebel, but she's João's daughter). The main airport in Rio de Janeiro is even named after Jobim! The song "Vivo Sonhando" is one of the most famous songs (in the top 15, at least) of the bossa nova canon. There are nearly a hundred recordings of the song for sale at the iTunes Store, and it is listed on Jobim's article under "notable compositions".
@nohat's transcription is pretty close. But being a Brazilian Portuguese speaker myself, I can assure you that the native pronunciation is more like:
Added after the OP's edit:
With these names, as with most foreign words in general, it will very depending on the speaker and how much they know about the words' pronunciation in their original language. But as a general rule, a sufficiently educated speaker will pronounce foreign names using the closest approximation to their original pronunciation that's possible using sounds available in English.
João, for instance, is generally pronounced in Portuguese as /ʒuˈɐ̃w̃/ (at least in Iberian Portuguese; I don't know how different it is in Brazilian Portuguese) but this last diphthong doesn't occur in English, so it would become something like /ʒuˈaʊ/ ("zhoo-ow").
However, Portuguese tends to suffer on the way a bit more than most languages, since it looks (to English-speaking eyes) very similar to Spanish, whose pronunciation is completely different but (at least in the US) much better-known. So João may often end up butchered as /həʊˈaʊ/ ("hoe-ow").
With this in mind, the names you give would usually end up in English as something like:
I'm very aware these aren't the correct pronunciations that the artists themselves would use; I don't know nearly enough about Portuguese pronunciation to answer that. But this is (I'm pretty confident in asserting) how they'll generally be rendered by moderately well-educated U.S. English-speakers.