Introduction to Language Sciences - 1st semester


1. To recognize language as a cognitive activity;
2. To relate the concepts of ´language´ and ´languages´;
3. To acquire tools to describe natural languages;
4. To develop different tools to describe and analyse human languages;
5. To establish points of difference and similarity between languages;
6. To be aware of the interaction between Language Sciences and other areas of knowledge.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Helena Topa Valentim, Joana Alexandra Vaz Teixeira, Joana Batalha Marchão, Maria do Céu Caetano


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Akmajan, Adrian et al. 2010. Linguistics. An Introduction to Language and Communication. Cambridge (Mass.): The MIT Press, 6th ed.
Aronoff, Mark & Janie Rees-Miller (eds). 2003. The Handbook of Linguistics. MA/Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Crystal, David. 2010. A Little book of Language. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Duarte, Inês. 2000. Língua Portuguesa. Instrumentos de análise. Lisboa: Universidade Aberta.
Fromkin, Victoria; Robert Rodman & Nina Hyams. [2003] 2007. An Introduction to Language. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
Mateus, Maria Helena M. & Alina Villalva. 2006. O Essencial sobre Linguística. Lisboa: Caminho.
Pullum, Geoffrey K. 2018. Linguistics: Why It Matters. Medford (USA): Polity Press.

Teaching method

The course will include a balanced combination of theoretical and practical classes. A detailed schedule will be handed out to the students at the beginning of the semester.

Teaching Language: Portuguese (one class taught in English- Class F)

Evaluation method

As learning assessment, students are required to take two in-class tests, worth 80% of the overall grade, and to complete an independent study on a specific topic / a take home exercise, which will have a weighting of 20%.

Subject matter

1. Language as a cognitive activity: speaking / listening / understanding;
1.1 The origins of language: from non-linguistic to linguistic evidence;
1.2 How and why do we speak: the language faculty;
2. Language manifestations: verbal language and sign language;
3. Natural languages: levels of linguistic analysis;
3.1 The sounds of language: Phonetics & Phonology;
3.2 The structure of words: Morphology;
3.3 The structure of sentences: Syntax;
3.4 The study of meaning: Semantics;
4. Interdisciplinary approaches in Language Sciences.