Hi all! some information regarding Brazilian Portuguese.
As Brazilian linguist MᲩo A. Perini has said: ‘’ There are two languages in Brazil. The one we write (and which is called ‘’Portuguese’’), and another one that we speak (which is so despised that there is not a name to call it). The latter is the mother tongue of Brazilians, the former has to be learned in school, and a majority of population does not manage to master it appropriately. […] Personally, I do not object to us writing Portuguese, but I think it is important to make clear that Portuguese is (at least in Brazil) only a written language. Our mother tongue is not Portuguese, but Brazilian Vernacular. This is not a slogan, nor a political statement, it is simply recognition of a fact. […] There are linguistic teams working hard in order to give the full description of the structure of the Vernacular. So, there are hopes, that within some years, we will have appropriate grammars of our mother tongue, the language that has been ignored, denied and despised for such a long time.’’
According to many Brazilian linguists (Bortoni, Kato, Mattos e Silva, Bagno, Perini), Brazilian Portuguese is a highly diglossic language. L-variant (also known as Brazilian vernacular) is the mother tongue of all Brazilians, and H-variant (standard Brazilian Portuguese) is acquired through schooling. L-variant is a simplified form of archaic Portuguese, influenced by Amerindian and African languages, while H-variant is a form based on 19th-century European Portuguese (and it is very similar to Standard European Portuguese, with only orthography being a little different). MᲩo A. Perini (Brazilian linguist) compares the differences between L- and H- variants of Brazilian Portuguese with those between Standard Spanish and Standard Portuguese.
L-variant is the spoken form of Brazilian Portuguese, avoided only in very formal speech (court interrogation, political debate) while H-variant is the written form of Brazilian Portuguese, avoided only in informal writing (such as songs lyrics, love letters, intimate friends correspondence). Even language professors many times use L-variant while explaining students the structure and usage of H-variant. But, in essays, all students are expected to use H-variant.
L-variant is used in songs, movies, soap operas, sitcoms and other television shows, although, at times, H-variant is used in historic films or soap operas to make the language used sound more ‘’elegant’’ and/or ‘’archaic’’. H-variant used to be preferred in dubbing of foreign films and series into Brazilian Portuguese, but nowadays L-variant is preferred. Movies subtitles normally use a mixture of L- and H-variants, but remain closer to H-variant.
Most literal works are written in H-variant. They have been attempts at writing in L-variant (masterpiece Macuna, written by Brazilian modernist MᲩo de Andrade), but, presently, L-variant is used only in dialogs. Still, many contemporary writers like using H-variant even in informal dialogs. This is also true of translated books, which never use L-variant, only the H-one. Children books seem to be more L-friendly, but, again, if they are translated from another language (Little Prince, for instance) they will use the H-variant only.
Most linguist use the term ‘’Brazilian Portuguese’’ to describe the mesolect of Brazilian Vernacular, not the Standard Brazilian Portuguese which is almost identical to Standard European Portuguese. This idiom is characterized by simplification in verbal and pronominal systems and many changes in prepositional system, but the most striking differences are those affecting syntax. Brazilian linguist Fernando Tarallo claims that ‘’the portuguese language variety used in Brazil has developed quite a reasonable number of syntactic features different from the European system. These differences are large enough to allow for a description of the Brazilian variety in the sense of a Brazilian grammar’’. The same was confirmed later, by Brazilian-based French linguist Galves.
The mesolect form of Brazilian Vernacular (that is, the one used in the speech of middle class Brazilians) is the form of Brazilian Portuguese language taught at American universities. H-varieties are explained later after students have mastered the L-variants.
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