Brazil and Cultural Diversity: Linguistic Diversity

Wednesday 17 November 2021 (14:00-17:00)

For more information please contact Richard Brunt

The Department of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham and the Brazilian Leitorado programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with support of the Embassy of Brazil in London and the Birmingham Brazil Forum, are delighted to present a series of events and discussions on Brazil and Cultural Diversity. This first virtual event will focus on linguistic diversity and will involve talks from a range experts. Portuguese-English interpretation will be available. 

Opening words

Counselor Rodrigo Govedise (Head of Academic Section, Brazilian Embassy London)

Dr. Emanuelle Santos (Portuguese Studies Coordinator, University of Birmingham)


Brazilian Portuguese as a means to exercising soft power on the world stage

Dr. Kanavillil Rajagopalan, University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Comments: Dr. Claudiana Nogueira de Alencar, Ceará State University (UECE)

In our highly wired world, regular contact – albeit, most of the time, virtual –among peoples from different corners of the globe is part of our daily routine – something, let us remind ourselves, that was simply unimaginable to our forebears. The question of language is invariably caught up in this discussion. While there is indeed a strong case to be made for dramatic changes down the road as recent developments in the study of translanguaging surge ahead, one should not lose sight of the fact that nations do still stand to gain by investing in their capacity to exercise soft power through spreading far and wide whatever they can summon up from their heritage and cultural assets. By all means, language needs to be seen as a key element among these immaterial assets. This has important implications for the way we go about teaching (Brazilian) Portuguese as a foreign language in different parts of the world. What needs to be foregrounded, is that language is but the tip of an enormous cultural iceberg. And that iceberg speaks to what a nation is all about, its “soul”. With its kaleidoscopic array of sub-cultures and regional customs and cuisines, traditions and so forth Brazil is uniquely positioned to offer the rest of the world what it is avid for.  Add to that, our universally acclaimed achievements in fine arts and we have what it takes to soup up any language teaching course.

Paths of Teachers of Portuguese as a Host Language   

Dr. Rosane Silveira, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)

Comments: Dr. Alice Corr (University of Birmingham)

This presentation will report on how an outreach project has contributed to the continuing education of a group of language teachers interested in the teaching of Portuguese to speakers of other languages. The outreach project was created in 2016, at the Department of Foreign Language and Literature of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, and is known as PLAM Project – Projeto de Português como Língua de Acolhimento (Portuguese as Host Language). The PLAM Project offers an opportunity to expand the teaching experiences of undergraduate and graduate students interested in second/foreign language teaching. By participating as part of the pedagogical team of the PLAM Project, the volunteers, mostly foreign language teaching majors, have the opportunity to rethink their approach to language teaching and often (re)learn how to set up a language course, how to design teaching materials, how to assess students’ learning, and how to define course content, for example. This ongoing (re)learning process applies to volunteers with experience and without experience in the teaching of second/foreign languages, considering the fact that teaching in the context of Portuguese as a Host Language presents us with a setting that is very different from the one we experience when teaching second or foreign languages in regular schools, at college, or even at language institutes. 

Did they forget about me? The necessity to propose specific approaches to the foreign languages teaching for deaf people

Dr. Adja Balbino Amorim Barbieri Durão, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)

Comments: Dr. Alice Corr, (University of Birmingham)

This presentation aims to introduce, albeit in general terms, a research project being initiated at the Federal University of Santa Catarina with the purpose of defining approaches for foreign language teaching ​​(more specifically, Spanish, but with applicability to other languages), as well as parameters for the creation of complementary teaching materials for Brazilian students whose native language is not Portuguese, the main language spoken in Brazil, but the Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS), which is the visual-sign language of the Brazilian Deaf people. Taking the 70's as a starting point, it is possible to see that in the last 50 years, both in the field of Applied Linguistics and in the Didactics of Foreign Languages, a large number of scientific based reflections/proposals have been presented involving the teaching of non-native languages, but almost all this reflection has been limited to the scope of oral languages. Considering, on one hand, the laws and decrees that have highlighted the need to include people with disabilities in the various educational levels offered in educational institutions in Brazil, and, on the other hand, that the Federal University of Santa Catarina has been a reference institution in regards to Deaf Studies, the research in question intends to contribute to the creation of dictionaries, glossaries, and teaching materials specifically designed for Brazilian Deaf people, considering Libras as their L1, the Portuguese language as their L2, and the foreign languages, in this specific case the Spanish, as the object of study.

The Leitorado Programme – Promoting Brazilian Portuguese language, literature and culture abroad

Dr. Gisele Tyba Mayrink Orgado, Brazilian Leitora at University of Birmingham 

This presentation aims to introduce the Brazilian Lecturer Programme, proposed in partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Division of International Cultural and Portuguese Language Themes) and CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel). Sponsored by this programme, university professors are selected through a public notice and a careful curriculum analysis process (CAPES/MRE/IES), so that they can act as Brazilian Lecturers in educational institutions abroad, promoting Brazilian Portuguese language, literature and culture. Acting in posts across four continents, Brazilian lecturers are challenged to deal directly with the specificities of each country, its culture and socio-educational context, proposing PLE (Portuguese as a Foreign Language) teaching and learning motivating and fruitful activities, actions and research in the institutions in which they work.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities