JoLIE 4/2011

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Maria Elisete Almeida

University of Madeira, Portugal






In this study, we will focus on time deixis, in particular that of verb tenses. We adopted the contrastive approach, which was made popular in France by H. Adamczewski. This method involves corpus analysis. In this case, we intend to examine Le Petit Prince by Saint- Exupéry, in the original version and in the Portuguese translation by Joana Morais Varela. Before enticing the analysis itself, we would like to establish two guiding lines:

• The verbal system of the Portuguese and the French languages are, as we shall see, in complete opposition: without referring to the present tense, the most frequent verb tenses in French are the least frequent in Portuguese and vice versa.

• In accordance with the theory of M. Maillard, among others, to whom the French verbal system is more aspectual and modal than temporal, we understand that it is the same in Portuguese, in which, for example, the future tense is not necessarily associated with the future or the imperfect tense with the evocation of the past, as is sometimes written in some school grammars. The interest of corpus work is to discover ad hoc examples which some grammarians pass on from generation to generation, without ever showing concern about the way languages really work. Furthermore, the contrastive study allows for both languages to become mutually disambiguated, in light of, sometimes enormous, differences, between two languages as close as the French and the Portuguese ones.


Key words: Contrastive approach; Time deixis; Verbal system; Corpus analysis.





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How to cite this article: Almeida, M. (2011). Approche contrastive du système verbal en français et en portugais à travers Le Petit Prince de Saint-Exupéry et sa traduction portugaiseJournal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 4, 722. DOI:



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