The pronunciation of Portuguese — particularly European Portuguese rather than Brazilian — has a number of unusual and interesting features. The vowel system contains not only the widely found i e ɛ a ɔ o u but also two central vowels, ɨ and ɐ, and furthermore as many as six nasalized vowels, ĩ ẽ ɐ̃ ã õ ũ. (French and Polish, the other two European languages known for nasalized vowels, pale by comparison.) There are also plenty of diphthongs, including nasalized ones such as ɐ̃ĩ̯. The word têm has the superficially improbable pronunciation ˈtɐ̃ĩ̯ɐ̃ĩ̯. Vowels in unstressed syllables are subject to weakening, manifested as raising and (for front vowels) centralization.
The consonant inventory includes the four liquids ɾ ʀ ɫ ʎ.
All of this is admirably set out and illustrated in a new book that has just come into my hands, Fonética do português europeu: descrição e transcrição by António Emiliano (Lisboa: Guimarães).
I am glad to say that the author uses IPA notation throughout. He supplements it by the equivalent SAMPA notation, given alongside. This is perhaps rather wasteful of space, given that a simple table of symbol equivalents would have sufficed. Nevertheless, it is good to see this ASCIIization of the IPA (whose development I oversaw) treated so seriously and in such detail.
As well as discussion and illustration of each sound of Portuguese and its representation in orthography, there is also a seventy-page Vocabulário fonético de geónimos portugueses [Phonetic vocabulary of Portuguese place names], which I shall find very useful. For LPD I shall have to correct the Portuguese phonetics of Coimbra to read ˈkwĩ bɾɐ and will need to adjust the Portuguese name of Lisbon, Lisboa, to read ɫiʒˈboɐ.
Typographically, the book is notable for being set in Gentium, a font devised by Victor Gaultney (blog, 9 May 2006) both for phonetics and for ordinary text. (Distribution and further development of the font has now been taken over by SIL.) As well as being eminently readable, it looks very distinguished. Well done everyone.