Why the verbs "fazer" and "haver" are not written in the plural form and the verb "existir" is, in the following sentence, for instance?* “Faz anos, havia casas lindas e bem cuidadas aqui. Hoje, só existem escombros”. *This question is asked very often by Portuguese students.
“The verb “haver” when it means “to exist” or “to happen”, and the verb “fazer” when it indicates past time is always used in the singular form. It never agrees with its subject. On the other hand, the verb “existir” always does. Therefore it can be used both in the singular and plural form. If rewrite the same sentence changing the plural and singular (and vice-versa) forms of the subjects, we would have this structure: “Faz um ano, havia uma casa linda e bem cuidada aqui. Hoje, só existe esse escombro”. You can notice that the verb “fazer” and “haver” assume the same form whereas “existir” drops the morpheme “s”, which is indicative of its plural form.
What makes for a good theory of learning a second language? Can you be a language teacher without having a theory of second language learning?
According to the Mitchell and Myles (1998), theories on language learning can help us understand better the nature of language as well as how human beings learn it. This knowledge is very important when we think about second language learning because what we understand by language, the knowledge we have about its process of acquisition, the roles we believe teachers and students should have, among other issues, guide our daily practices and influence the teaching approaches, methodologies, strategies and materials we use in our classroom. I do not believe a language teacher could teach effectively without knowing second language theories. Nonetheless, there are people who teach a language based solely on their previous experiences as language learners and their own personal theories of the best ways of teaching and learning the language. In such cases, they would not be able to understand and solve the many problems and difficulties that emerge in class as well as asses students’ language learning development and support them in cases of failure.
How do a Sociocultural Theory (SCT) (communicative and literacy-based approach) to FL teaching conceptualize communication? How is it different from a more conventional understanding of communication based on the notion of “negotiation of meaning” and "transmission of information"?
According to the Sociocultural Theory, "[...] the process [of additional language learning] cannot be explained fully as an innate process of acquiring and controlling a system of isolated, context-free linguistic structures. Rather, it is best understood as an inherently social process of developing a repertoire of cognitive, social, and communicative skills, abilities, and knowledge for engaging in a wide variety of activities in which the target language is the common code" (HALL, pp. 38). In this perspective, learning a language undergoes the process of “negotiation of meaning” and “transmission of information”. It presumes a collaborative work between teachers and students as well as among students that support each other in the process of using and interpreting linguistics components, their social meanings, values and attitudes as they interact with others and accomplish they purpose of communicative events. Therefore, students acquire the language as they develop their sociocultural knowledge and communicational competencies fundamental for their full integration and participation in socio interactions through the target language (HALL, pp. 26). In this sense, students do not learn the language to communicate. They learn it through meaningful communication.