** there is limited space available in this class to allow for the best learning experience. Please fill out this short form to apply by JUNE 9TH. You’ll be notified by acceptance by June 11**
Join us for an introductory course on the basics of Portuguese with a glimpse on historical and contemporary contexts of the working classes and social movements in Brazil, and other Portuguese-speaking countries.
Portuguese is a language with roots in Portugal and also the official language spoken today in 10 countries: Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese is arguably among the 9 or 10 most spoken languages in the world, but only 5 percent of its speakers live in its original home Portugal. It is estimated that 270 million people speak Portuguese today, amongst which nearly 254 million are native speakers. It is the second most spoken Romance language, after Spanish. Brazil’s 211 million people is the largest Portuguese-speaking population in the world.
As a colonial language, it suffered many transformations, particular to each locale. It is nowadays also a result of cultural resistance of the indigenous and enslaved people during colonialism. It is spoken in the U.S particularly in the Northeast, in California and in Florida, where native Portuguese speakers, who are immigrants from Africa, South Asia, Europe and Brazil have concentrated historically. In nearby regions, it is more widely spoken in areas of Newark, New Jersey; Astoria, Queens; in the coastal regions of Connecticut, and Massachussets.
Português Básico 1 is a beginner’s class with a focus on listening, speaking and developing communication skills in Portuguese from the first day, without resorting to translating into one’s native language, to allow you to start to communicate with Portuguese native speakers.
The instructor will use visual materials, music, and conversation between participants during the learning process, focusing on her native Brazilian Portuguese, and also examine a few differences between Brazilian, African, South Asian and Continental (European) Portuguese. The program will introduce grammar structures in practical ways, and some writing exercises.
We will also engage with the history of Brazilian people, its revolutionary struggles, and other means of resistance.
Since the 16th century Brazilians started to incorporate dialects, words and sounds into Portuguese, particularly from the Tupi and Guarani indigenous linguistic branches that make up the majority of the pre-Columbian indigenous languages of Brazil’s current territory. With enslaved workers brought from Africa, more heavily during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, many different languages and backgrounds were also influential.
Brazilian Portuguese continued to evolve as the common language amongst all living in Brazil, and the one permitted to be spoken by the colonizers. However, new words referring to foods, materials and relationships with no correlations in Europe, started to influence Continental Portuguese, even though the grammar and syntax structures remained the same.
Revolutionary literacy methods created for adults, by the influential educator Paulo Freire in the 1960s, author of the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, finally started to prioritize local people’s needs and generate wider political consciousness about the role of language in political emancipation to the elite oppressors. It is still used to combat illiteracy and poverty, and to help achieve freedom, much beyond Brazil’s borders.
Photo: Agrarian Reform March – MST