An international conference titled ‘Confluences in Portuguese: Linguistics, Literature and Translation’, organised by the Department of Portuguese, Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH), University of Macau (UM), opened today (10 May). The event attracted more than 40 experts and scholars from Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, France, Italy, Japan, mainland China, and Macao. During the event, the participants will share their research findings, experience, and expertise in the area of teaching Portuguese as a second language. Participants say that this conference provides a platform for Portuguese language, literature, and translation professionals from different parts of the world to exchange ideas and share research results.
This is the second time that experts and scholars from various countries have gathered at UM to discuss teaching Portuguese as a second language. The last conference was held in 2016. During this year’s conference, participants will have an in-depth discussion on how to tailor teaching methods to students’ individual needs. Officiating guests at the opening ceremony included Vice Rector (Research) Rui Martins, Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH) Dean Hong Gang Jin, Department of Portuguese Head Yao Jingming, and the confernce’s Organising Committee Chair Ana Nunes.
‘It is also profoundly meaningful for this important international conference to take place in this town of Macao. Since the 16th century, Macao has played a vital role in language and culture exchange in the world and has been an important gate for the east to meet the west,’ said Dean Jin at the conference. ‘Because of Macao’s unique history, culture, linguistic environment, and geographic location, we not only have a deep sense of responsibility for promoting the Portuguese language and culture, but also a noble mission of developing a large number of linguistically capable and culturally competent Chinese-Portuguese bilingual talents, to enable them to engage in global economic and cultural exchanges with 230 million Portuguese-speaking people in four continents.’
Dean Jin added that the conference is an important professional gathering in the field of Portuguese Studies and Portuguese as a Foreign Language (PFL), as it provides a platform for Portuguese language, literature, and translation professionals from different parts of the world to share their research findings and to engage in pedagogical discussions on various scholarly issues.
Department of Portuguese Head Yao Jingming said that since the establishment of the department, UM has produced a large number of bilingual professionals for Macao and mainland China. According to him, the department has a lot of responsibilities ahead, such as innovating the current Portuguese teaching model to meet the individual needs of students. Yao added that the department will also initiate research in Portuguese language teaching, carry out translation and studies of Chinese and Portuguese classics, and strengthen academic exchange and collaboration between UM and other institutions. Against this backdrop, UM has established Chinese-Portuguese Bilingual Teaching and Training Centre, which has already initiated various projects.
Organising Committee Chair Ana Nunes said that the conference brought together Portuguese language professionals from different parts of the world. She added that UM’s Department of Portuguese is the ideal venue for this conference because it is the largest Portuguese teaching body outside of Portugal and Brazil.
The conference included the following sessions: 1)Teaching material and learning and teaching strategies for Portuguese as a foreign language (PFL); 2) Phonetics and phonology in Portuguese as a foreign language; 3) Learning of Portuguese as a foreign language: perspectives and practices; 4) Reading and writing in Portuguese as a foreign language; 5) The literary text in the teaching of PFL; 6) Translation and interpretation in the teaching of PFL; 7) Issues on pragmatics in PFL teaching; 8) Language policies and citizenship.
In addition, an alumni association, formed by Portuguese language professionals who graduated from UM, will be inaugurated at the conference’s closing ceremony to be held on Saturday 12 May. Since its establishment, the Department of Portuguese has graduated nearly 2,000 language professionals. Many of them have become key players in their industries, who have made a contribution to Macao or mainland China. The association will invite different alumni to share their experiences with students at UM on a regular basis.