A problem in teaching a first language: topicalization in oral Portuguese


  • Eunice de Souza Lima Pontes Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais




Abstract: My purpose in this paper isto call attention to a problem which exists in Portuguese, but whichmay existin otherlanguages aswell, since the ignorance of oral language structures, or the prejudice against colloquial registers is not a privilege of those working in my country. As a result of ignorance and prejudices, when teachers find in their students' compositions a type of sentence which is not usual in written language they tend to consider it an error. Sometimes, as it occurs today in Brazilian Portuguese, the structure may be so different from those they are familiar with that they think the student who uses it "does not master the correct thinking patterns".

I want to study, in this paper, a type of sentence which is very common in colloquial Portuguese, even among educated people, but which is not accepted in written language, and when used in compositions, it is considered an error, "bad Portuguese", "without logic", "whithout structure", etc. Teachers do not understand why their students use such structures, and they are completely at a loss when confronted with them. Students do not know either why they "err" and are equally confused. However, when we observe oral language, these structures are completely natural and when we ask educated native speakers about them, they say: "We say this".


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