PORTUGUESE AO PÉ DO BERIMBAU: ON CAPOEIRA AS AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE
Keywords:capoeira, Afro-Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese as an additional language, translanguaging, informal language learning
From its historical origins as a resistant and violently repressed bundle of music, dance and martial arts practices of the African diaspora in Brazil, capoeira has travelled, becoming a global phenomenon with groups and networks in diverse sites around the world, including London, Cape Town and Hong Kong and indeed Leeds where this research was based. We focus on the linguistic, cultural and embodied ensemble of capoeira, researching a capoeira group with diverse participants led by Sandro, a Brazilian contramestre, providing a rich laboratory for what has been called language learning “in the wild”, specifically of the Afro-Brazilian linguistic and cultural practices (music, movement, lyric, voice) that are a crucial element of the capoeira ensemble. These linguistic and cultural practices contingently bring together, in rehearsal and performance, the characteristic capoeira dance/ martial arts movements, the pervasive regulation of rhythm and the apprenticeship of the body into its rhythm and movement. Seen from the perspective of informal language learning the capoeira group seems to constitute a near optimal context. We will explore the affordances of the capoeira group for linguistic/cultural/embodied learning of Afro-Brazilian Portuguese, drawing on the “maximalist” framework for translanguaging (BAYNHAM; LEE, 2019), which we extend to encompass the pervasive musical aspect of capoeira, linking these to contemporary perspectives on language learning, particularly informal language learning and language learning “in the wild”.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Mike Baynham, Jolana Hanusova
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