During this workshop we demonstrated that foreign languages are not codes that are entirely closed off until you’re ‘fluent’. In fact, students are pretty good at understanding and translating from Portuguese, though they may not think so. 'It's all Portuguese to us!' is all about giving students confidence to dive into the linguistic unknown and dare to find a way, even without previous knowledge of the language, simply by making the most the clues provided by the context and by the languages they do know.
The principal activity from this workshop drew on a scene titled ‘Tufão pede Monalisa em casamento’ (Tufão asks for Monalisa’s hand in marriage), from the Brazilian telenovela Avenida Brasil. Having discussed the various ways they could make sense of the Portuguese text, from picking out similar words and finding structures familiar from other languages to making sense of punctuation, proper nouns and exclamations, students were given the text of the script only, to try to brave their way to as complete a translation as they could manage. Only at the end of the workshop did they watch a clip of the show and see how well they had understood and translated the text.