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School of Modern Languages
Newcastle University
Spring 2013
[email protected]
Edited by Ana assunção and loiana pavlichenko
A warm welcome from our staff
We are very pleased to present to you the first edition of the Portuguese Newsletter. We intend to offer you
an insight into the Portuguese learning experience at Newcastle University through our students’ testimonies. You will also find a word from our Deputy Head of School and SPLAS Degree Programme Director. We hope the newsletter shows you how involved our staff and students are in promoting Portuguese
language and Lusophone culture inside and outside the classroom.
Our first year studying Portuguese at Newcastle
Portuguese is the fifth most spoken language in the
Before coming to Newcastle we world, and thanks to a population of almost 200 million
had never studied Portuguese. in Brazil, it is the most spoken language in South
We think our experience with America and in the Southern hemisphere. After a brilPortuguese has been really liant first year in Newcastle, we are looking forwarding
positive and with regular work to improving our skills for our third year, which will be
and diligence we have progressed a lot and unbelieva- spent abroad, in Portugal or in Brazil!
bly quickly. Despite our initial worries about finding
By Timothy Anstey and Edward Taylor
Portuguese difficult, we quickly got used to the lan*The text was written in Portuguese and translated into English by Loiana Pavlichenko.
guage with our class practice and very soon we were
taking part in Portuguese social events, in which students, teachers and native speakers of Portuguese living in Newcastle get together to have fun. The events
are really relaxed and informal and a great opportunity
to improve our speaking and listening skills. Although
there are similarities between Spanish and Portuguese,
which helps with the grammar, they are worlds apart,
especially the rhythm and intonation of the languages.
We are extremely happy to have chosen Portuguese as
part of our degree, as it is a very important language.
Celebrating Portuguese at Newcastle:
João de Vallera, Portuguese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, visits the University
On 7 March, Newcastle University had the honour of welcoming the
Portuguese ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency João de Vallera. Our
guest had accepted an invitation to give a Public Lecture in the University’s ‘Insights’
Programme and to visit the Instituto Camões - Centre for Portuguese Language. He
was accompanied by the Attaché for Education Affairs, Dr Regina Duarte. How often
have we passed Blake’s Coffee House on Grey Street, without noticing a small
plaque outside reminding us that, from 1874 to 1879, this building housed the office of
consul Eça de Queirós, one of Portugal’s leading writers. The Newcastle years were
among his most productive and saw the publication of his celebrated novel Cousin Basílio.
More than a century later, Portuguese language and culture are still alive on the Tyne. The Instituto Camões in
Lisbon, the cultural arm of the Portuguese Foreign Office, has supported the teaching of Portuguese at our alma mater for
almost 50 years. During this time, we have had outstanding leitores (teachers sent out from Lisbon to deliver the Portuguese
language programme), such as our current colleague Dr Ana Assunção. In 2001, the first Centre of Portuguese Language in the
UK was opened at Newcastle.
The Centre organises a seminar series with high-calibre speakers,
from academics and human rights activists to writers and Oscar-nominated
filmmakers. Guests have come from Portugal, Brazil, Angola, and TimorLoroeste. The seminar reaches out to staff and students of all Faculties and the
Portuguese community in Newcastle. In 2010, Professor António Costa Pinto,
Portugal's leading historian of the twentieth century, gave a Public Lecture on
the centenary of the Portuguese republic.
Portuguese at Newcastle is currently healthier than ever. In
fact, student numbers are rising more dynamically than in any other foreign language. During his visit His Excellency and Dr
Duarte had the opportunity to speak in their native tongue to undergraduate and postgraduate students from Modern
Languages, Politics, History, and Sociology. Some had studied Portuguese for
only six months, but were already able to communicate. Others had just returned
from their Year Abroad (third year of studies) in Portugal or Brazil and
demonstrated a near-native proficiency in the language, as the ambassador
noted. One of our graduates who stayed on to study for a PhD on a lusophone
topic and had received a generous grant from the Instituto Camões, Steven
Robinson, presented our guest with his thesis on the Europeanisation of
Portuguese foreign policy over the past four decades. His Excellency realised
that he was actually not the only ‘ambassador’ in the room. Many students are actively engaged in the ‘Routes into Languages’
programme which sees them work as ambassadors in schools to foster and stimulate interest in the learning of foreign
languages. Project director Nick Johnston and final-year student Alexandra Stamper showed that Portuguese plays a significant
role in these outreach activities. In consonance with its mission as a world-class civic university, Newcastle also opens its stateof-the-art facilities for language learning to members of the public. Andrew Grenfell and his team guided our guests through the
impressive Language Resource Centre. Instituto Camões and Newcastle University are determined to continue their longstanding and fruitful collaboration. We are immensely grateful to the Portuguese government and embassy for its investment and
trust in the future of the leitorado and Centre for Portuguese at Newcastle.
Professor Jens R. Hentschke
Deputy Head of School - Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Portuguese language: the year abroad
My year abroad in Coimbra — Portugal
tugal, and the stunning Serra da Estrela mountains. It is
the very easy to visit everywhere in the country from Coimbra
and it is worthwhile venturing out of the town to see what
large cities of Lisbon
else Portugal has to offer.
and Porto, Coimbra
Coimbra is the ideal place for any student of Portumixes both tradition
spend their year abroad. Not only do you have the
and modernity with the
opportunity to greatly improve your Portuguese, but you are
Univeralso able to soak up its rich traditional university atmossidade de Coimbra featuring at the heart of phere and explore the rest of Portugal whilst calling such a
beautiful town as Coimbra home.
the town. This majestic
centre point perched high on a hill above Coimbra gives you
a sense of grandeur and legacy, as well as providing a sublime view of the Mondego River and surrounding country-
By Madeleine Robinson
My year abroad in Lençois — Brazil
side. Coimbra’s soul is the University and its centuries-old
traditions, and any student who studies there will become a
member of its close-knit university community, providing
warm memories that will last long beyond their university
I spent the first semester of my year abroad in Coimbra, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The University, although very different to British universities, was a
great place to learn and an ideal place to meet other exchange students as well as the friendly Portuguese students.
Being able to combine studying with a warm climate, beautiful town and wonderful people was the perfect way to spend
my first semester abroad.
The University of Coimbra’s “freshers’ week” was
I spent 5 months of my year abroad living in the
North East of Brazil, in the state of Bahia, in a small town
called Lençóis nestled in the middle of the Chapada
different to how we do it here in the UK, but it was an inDiamantina National Park. There, I volunteered, running a
credible experience nonetheless as I was able to have firstchildrens project that provided support to the local kids in
hand experience of Portuguese university traditions, wheththe form of an academic and social education.
er it be the black Harry Potter-esque capes or the baptising
It was without a doubt, the best experience of my
of freshers in the Mondego River during the Latada festival
life! It was extremely challenging and very tiring being
in October! The “Queima das Fitas” festival in May is naresponsible for so many children who had differing needs
tionally renowned for its incredible parades, performances
and behavioural issues but it was also extremely rewarding
and concerts, and I definitely plan on returning to Coimbra
and I enjoyed every second. I loved living in Brazil and the
for this in the future!
Brazilians are a huge part of what makes the place so great!
As many people know, an important musical genre in
The region that I worked in is a poor area and the
Portugal is Fado, and Coimbra offers a form of Fado differpopulation are affected by many social problems but they
ent to other styles around the country. They sing of nostalstill enjoy life. It was a relaxed way of living for me;
gia, “saudade” and longing through haunting but beautiful
weekends would consist of spending the entire day trekking
songs that every visitor to Coimbra must hear.
through the national park enjoying the beautiful landscapes
The position of
and taking some time to relax in the many waterfalls and
Coimbra in the centre of
swimming holes in the
the country allows for exarea, all of course
tensive travelling around
bathed in the glorious
the country. Cheap train
Bahian sun, and a tasty
fares and trips organised
caipirinha (the local
by the ERASMUS group
drink of sugar cane
meant that I was lucky
spirit, lime and sugar)
enough to visit the Algarve,
to finish off the day.
the coastal town of Figueira da Foz with its incredible
(continued on next page)
beaches, Aveiro which is better known as the Venice of Por-
The year abroad (Continued from previous page)
Portuguese Language events
Music and dance are extremely important to
Brazilians. In the area that I was living, a type of dance
called forró is very popular, whereas the more well known
types of Brazilian music like samba and bossa nova weren’t
Professor Marco António da Silva Ramos from
São Paulo University talked about the
opportunities and advantages of spending your
Year Abroad or continuing your post-graduate
studies in Brazil.
Professor Susana Cecília Igayara from São Paulo University
explored the dialogue between classical music, Brazilian popular
music, word, sound and rhythm.
Tabu, film directed by Miguel Gomes, at Tyneside Cinema.
Tuga Tribe at Bar Loco, revisiting Brazilian and Portuguese
The visit of the Portuguese Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Florbela, film directed by Vicente Alves do Ó, to celebrate the
Day of Portuguese Language.
The Portuguese Café at The Goose takes place once a month.
[email protected] supports 4 events at ¡Vamos! Festival
quite as popular as in areas like Rio de Janeiro. Every
congregated at the one club to dance the entire night away
till dawn. Yet, my British rhythm
meant that despite my friends
spending months trying to teach
me to dance ‘like a Brazilian’, I
still have two left feet!
My Year Abroad was,
from start to finish, an incredible
opportunity and I loved every second of it! It gave me
experiences, friends and memories that I will cherish for the
rest of my life. If I hadn’t studied languages I would not
have been able to have and truly enjoy such an experience,
and an experience like mine in Brazil comes in very handy
when it comes to interview time and you are asked the
dreaded question: “Tell me about a time that you handled a
challenge well…”
By Eleanor Johansen
Portuguese language worldwide
 Portuguese is the national and official language of 8 countries: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal,
São Tomé and Príncipe and, finally, East Timor.
 Portuguese is spoken by about 240 million people.
 Portuguese is the fifth most spoken language in the world and the third most spoken European language, after English and
 Portuguese is the third most used language on Facebook and the most spoken in South America, given Brazil’s continental
dimensions (Brazil is considered to be one of the emerging countries. It is part of the BRICS, together with Russia, India, China and
South Africa).
 Portuguese is also the most spoken language in the Southern hemisphere, because of the five African countries which speak the
 Portuguese was spread all over the world by adventurous Portuguese sailors from the 15th century onwards.
 Fado, the national Portuguese music, is the only rhythm to be declared a Heritage of Humanity.
 The landscape of Rio, in Brazil, has also been awarded Heritage of Humanity status.
 There are around 100 non-native speakers of Portuguese studying the language at Newcastle University.
population in 2000
Contact us
If you would like to report on or advertise a Portuguese language-related event, please contact
Ana Assunção: [email protected]
For information about admissions, please contact Lesley Sherrin ([email protected]) or visit the
site of Centro de Língua Portuguesa em Newcastle @