History of the Portuguese Language - 1st and 2nd semester


a) To identify Portuguese distinctive features, within the general and, in particular, Hispanic, Romance context, and to relate them with linguistic changes occurred throughout its history.
b) To describe the main changes which occurred throughout the various periods of the history of Portuguese.
c) To identify and to describe linguistic changes which explain diachronic relations between etyma and their derived forms.
d) To acquire basic competences for the analysis of different types of texts, from distinct periods, aiming at their exploration as sources for language history.
e) To relate some of the traits of Contemporary Portuguese variation to aspects of language history.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Mafalda Frade, Maria Teresa Brocardo


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Alkire, T. / Rosen, C. 2010. Romance Languages. A Historical Introduction. Cambridge: CUP.
Brocardo, M. T. 2014. Tópicos de História da Língua Portuguesa. Lisboa: Colibri.
Brocardo, M. T. / Lopes, C. R. S. 2016. History and Current Setting. In: W. Leo Wetzels / S. Menuzzi / J. Costa (eds.) The Handbook of Portuguese Linguistics. Malden / Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, pp. 1-14.
Herman, J. 2000. Vulgar Latin. University Park – Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State U. P.
Maiden, M. / Smith, J. C. / A. Ledgeway, A. (eds), 2010. The Cambridge History of The Romance Languages. Vol. I Structures. Cambridge: CUP.
Martins, A. M. (2016) O português numa perspetiva diacrónica e comparativa. In: A. M. Martins / E. Carrilho (eds.) Manual de Linguística Portuguesa. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 1-39.
Teyssier, P. 1982. História da Língua Portuguesa. Lisboa: Sá da Costa.
Williams, E. B. 19753. Do latim ao português. Fonologia e morfologia históricas da língua portuguesa. Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro.

Teaching method

Class sessions include both theoretical and practical approaches. Regular attendance is strongly advised as well as the development of autonomous work. Class sessions include extensive presentation of course topics, explanation of examples, analysis and linguistic comment of text sources, exercises.
Regular attendance is strongly advised as well as the development of autonomous work.

Evaluation method

Evaluation: 2 written tests (50%+50%). Students’ active and relevant participation in class activities may be considered in the final evaluation.
Exams (only for students evaluated according to the elements mentioned above): Students with a grade of 8 to 9 (0/20 scale) can take a special written exam (‘Exame de Recurso’). Students who obtain a minimum grade of 10 (approved) can attend a special exam (‘Exame de Melhoria’) if they wish to improve their final grade.

Subject matter

i. From Latin to Portuguese
From Latin to the Romance languages – continuity and divergence. Pan-Romance changes vs. (more or less) specific paths. Linguistic changes and nonlinguistic conditioning factors – Portuguese decisive differentiation.
ii. The emergence of Portuguese writing
Language vs. ´scripta´ emergence. The transition from Latin to Portuguese writing.
The most ancient Portuguese written records.
iii. Medieval Portuguese
Linguistic analysis of extant written records (13th to 15th centuries). Identification of Old Portuguese distinctive features. Linguistic changes concluded or in progress during the 15th century.
Periodization topics.
iv. Contemporary Portuguese from a historical perspective.
European Portuguese dialects as consequences of divergent changes (Classical and Modern Portuguese periods).
Unity and variation of Contemporary Portuguese – varieties and norms; unilingual and multilingual communities.
Brazilian Portuguese from a historical perspective.