A contrastive analysis of dar ‘give’ in English and Brazilian Portuguese: semantic-syntactic relationships and implications for L2 instruction

  • Katherine O'Donnell Christoffersen University of New Mexico
Keywords: Light verbs, Brazilian Portuguese, syntax, semantics, L2 learners.


In recent years, research on multiword lexical units has influenced second language acquisition research, but little work has been done on light verbs, especially comparing the use of light verbs in English and Brazilian Portuguese. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the syntactic and semantic aspects of dar and ‘give’ through the semantic continuum, event type, denominal verbs and incorporation. This study finds that distinct and varied semantic uses of light verbs present a unique challenge to second language learners in terms of both their understanding and their production. Furthermore, this study analyzes the semantic-syntactic interrelationships and suggests implications for teaching English and Portuguese light verbs to second language learners.


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Author Biography

Katherine O'Donnell Christoffersen, University of New Mexico

Katie O’Donnell Christoffersen holds a PhD in Second Language Acquisition & Teaching from the University of Arizona and is currently a Visiting Research Scholar in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of New Mexico.  Her primary research interests include the analysis of Spanish-English and Portuguese-Spanish language contact through the use of ethnographic and discourse/conversation analytic methodologies.  Katie has worked on the discourse analysis of identity construction in bilingual (Spanish-English) schools, ESL students, family conversation at the Brazil-Uruguay border and ethnic identities among New Mexican Spanish speakers.


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How to Cite
Christoffersen, K. O. (2016). A contrastive analysis of dar ‘give’ in English and Brazilian Portuguese: semantic-syntactic relationships and implications for L2 instruction. BELT - Brazilian English Language Teaching Journal, 7(1), 26-43. https://doi.org/10.15448/2178-3640.2016.1.23491
Original Article