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Unit information: Languages of the Iberian Peninsula in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Languages of the Iberian Peninsula
Unit code HISP20088
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. James Hawkey
Open unit status Not open
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School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

This unit 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 unit 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.

Your learning on this unit

Successful students will:

  1. be skilled to apply theoretical knowledge to different linguistic situations, and will be able to perform independent, original, critical analyses.
  2. be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity;
  3. be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including study at a foreign university and on work placements during the year abroad
  4. demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively.
  5. demonstrate sophisticated presentation skills.
  6. demonstrate the ability to carry out independent research appropriate to this level of study.

How you will learn

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

How you will be assessed

1 group presentation (groups of 2-3, 20 minutes plus 5 minutes of questions; 25% of final mark), assessing ILO’s 4-6.

1 essay (3,000 words; 75% of final mark), assessing ILO’s 1-3 & 6.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HISP20088).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.