PhD SUPERVISION: BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE

In February and March the University of Bremen has a break in teaching, and I can focus more on research and other academic tasks.

This week I have been at Aarhus University to meet with my PhD student Ana Paulla Braga Mattos. She worked as my research assistant when I worked in Aarhus as a postdoc and is currently a PhD fellow at Linguistics at AU.

Currently she is working on her dissertation with the title “A linguistic study of Kalunga”. The project aims to describe the variety spoken in Kalunga, an Afro-Brazilian community located in the state of Goiás, Brazil, and to classify the variety within the variation across Portuguese and contact varieties in Brazil. The results of Ana Paulla’s analysis so far show that the Kalunga speech variety is a marginalized variety of Brazilian Portuguese and that it has some linguistic peculiarities that differ from other rural varieties in the surrounding areas. The features present in this variety are shared mostly with the Afro-Brazilian Portuguese varieties in Bahia. They differ from other Brazilian Vernacular Portuguese varieties, especially and mostly from the Standard Brazilian Portuguese.

Other aspects of the project focus on the sociohistorical process and language contact scenario (between European, Indigenous and African languages) in which this variety evolved; selected dialectal features/language variation (morphosyntatic, lexical and prosodic aspects) compared to other vernacular varieties, especially rural varieties of the surrounding areas; comparison of these features to features in creoles and restructured varieties among others, and the relevance of this debate to the Brazilian Portuguese linguistic scenario.

In supervision, it is important to build a good working relationship. Ana Paulla and I meet regularly to discuss her project, its advances and challenges. In cooperation with her supervisor at Aarhus University, Peter Bakker, we comment on her work, presentations, and plans in a constructive manner, and try to guide her on career as a young scientist.