Title: Portuguese language, change and variation – challenges for teaching Portuguese as a Foreign Language


Abstract: Languages ​​are living organisms undergoing constant change. They change along time, with the politic pressure they suffer from other languages, they change ​​with the contacts that people who speaks them establish, with the places and times in which they are spoken. Change is connected to variation. Portuguese used today all over the continents, is very different and various, due to maritime adventure and to colonial Portuguese past, but also due to the diaspora and migration. This language is currently spoken in various forms, with different varieties, depending on the languages ​​that existed in the different territories where it was implanted with more or less force, according to the mother tongues which coexist with it, in a more peaceful or more confrontational way, depending on the languages ​​that are in contact with it, depending on the specific status it has in each area. Leaving aside the question – although crucial – of  the internationalization policy which obviously also it’s linked to this linguistic diversity, it is essential to consider the challenges this state of affair poses to the teaching of Portuguese as a second language and foreign language, heritage language, specialized language, etc. The internationalization of the portuguese language shall require, among other aspects, a complete description and a deeper and more systematic knowledge of the different varieties of Portuguese. When we talk about these varieties, we are thinking about all of them, and not just two. Indeed, the word “lusofonia” has not been considered sufficiently comprehensive to include all these varieties, as the lexeme seem to favor one of them: the European Portuguese. On the other hand, if we take the variety that has more speakers, the Portuguese in Brazil, we are not, likewise, taking into account all this diversity and richness of variety. There are other ways of speaking Portuguese – and not only those two, eg in Africa, with growing strategic and economic importance – that can not be left out of the discussion. This question is related to another that follows from the first: and what Portuguese is taught to foreigners who want to learn this language? We are interested in retaining, in the context of this talk, two questions: 1) What guidelines should follow the training of teachers for the development of adequate tools for language teaching in its various aspects (L1, L2, heritage language, language for specific purposes) and adequate training of teachers and trainers?  and, above all, 2) How to implement a multilateral policy teaching of Portuguese as foreign language and L2? From the questioning of this set of topics, we will focus on the challenges faced by teachers of Portuguese as FL, when faced with the complexity of these issues: what variety to teach? How to deal with students who have had previously teachers who taught them another variety? How to account since the beginning of learning, with the internal linguistic variation of Portuguese language? And how to face such a wide range of problems?

Keywords: Portuguese, teaching, foreign