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Unit information: Languages of the Iberian Peninsula in 2015/16

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Unit name Languages of the Iberian Peninsula
Unit code HISP20088
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. James Hawkey
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This module allows students in the HiPLA department to a gain an in-depth knowledge of the history of the languages of the Iberian Peninsula, up to the present day. With no prior knowledge of linguistics required, students will become familiar with the diachronic and diatopic language variation of autochthonous varieties spoken in modern-day Spain and Portugal.

The course will begin by introducing students to fundamental concepts required in order to study the historical development of languages. With these tools in mind, students will examine the diachronic development of Ibero-Romance languages. Latin and early Romance varieties are analysed in turn, and after discussion of key Vulgar Latin texts, each of the resultant Ibero-Romance varieties will be addressed. Lessons will be dedicated to the diachronic study of Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Galician and Judeo-Spanish, paying attention to the key moments in the linguistic history of each variety (including their usage in present-day society), as well as a class on Basque and the notion of language isolates.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Students will become familiar with the discipline of linguistics, acquiring new theoretical tools which will allow for the in-depth study of diachronic and diatopic language variation.

2. Students will gain greater knowledge of various languages spoken in Spain and Portugal, and will be able to undertake cross-linguistic comparative study.

3. Students will be able to apply their new theoretical knowledge to different linguistic situations, and will be able to perform independent, original, critical analyses.

4. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how language is used in present day Hispanic and Portuguese society.

5. Students will be skilled in the selection and synthesis of relevant material.

6. Students will be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials at a high level.

7. Students will be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including study at a foreign university and/or work placements during their year abroad.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour slot per week across 1 teaching block, divided into an informal lecture (one hour) and a seminar (one hour).

Assessment Information

  • Essay (2000 words, 50%) which will assess ILOs 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Exam (2 hours, 50%) which will assess ILOs 1-6.

Reading and References

  • Crystal, D. (1997). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, second edition. Cambridge: CUP. (pp292-301)
  • Echenique Elizondo, M.T. and Sánchez Méndez, J. (2005). Las lenguas de un reino: Historia lingüística hispánica. Madrid: Gredos.
  • Penny, R. (2002). A History of the Spanish Language, second edition. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Williams, E.B. (1962). From Latin to Portuguese: Historical Phonology and Morphology of the Portuguese Language. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press.