Using the Verbs Ser and Estar in Portuguese: A Difficult Task for Non Native Learners*

Maria Carmen de Frias e Gouveia


Abstract The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the difficulty of learners of Portuguese to deal with the verbs SER and ESTAR (To Be), as far as each of them is used to express different and specific situations. It also aims to help the teachers solving this problem. After an overview of what the most important grammars of Portuguese say about this subject, the corpus is presented and the data (around 60 examples) are analysed taking account of the origin of the learners and also dividing the various examples according to different levels of language proficiency. When the various types of language mistakes are identified, the results are explained and the conclusions lead to the need of teaching SER and ESTAR in a way provides the non natives of Portuguese to actually understand the normal use of each of these verbs. This intends to avoid students of Portuguese to go on repeating the same errors which will get them to a future linguistic fossilization.

Keywords: Portuguese; verbs SER and ESTAR; learning and teaching of Portuguese; non native learners; analysis of corpus.

RumL'objectif principal de cet article est d'analyser la difficultdes apprenants du portugais traiter les verbes SER et ESTAR (re), dans la mesure ochacun d'entre eux est utilispour exprimer des situations diffentes et spifiques. Il vise alement aider les enseignants roudre ce proble. Apr un aper de ce que les grammaires les plus importantes du portugais disent a propos de ce sujet, le corpus est prentet les donns (environ 60 exemples) sont analyss en tenant compte de l'origine des apprenants et en divisant les diffents exemples selon diffents niveaux dapprentissage. Lorsque les diffents types d'erreurs de langage sont identifi, les rultats sont expliqu et les conclusions conduisent la nessitd'enseigner SER et ESTAR de manie ce que les apprenants de portugais comprennent l'usage normal de chacun de ces verbes. Ceci a pour but d'iter que les udiants rent les mes erreurs et les emphant ainsi de subir, dans le futur, une fossilisation linguistique.

Mots-cl: portugais; les verbes SER et ESTAR; apprentissage et enseignement du portugais; apprenants non autochtones ; analyse de corpus.

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