Norm and Variation - 1st semester


1. Understand the relativity of the concept of norm.
2. Identify the most relevant conditioning factors related to linguistic variation.
3. Be acquainted with the rules of Portuguese orthography and identify their criteria.
4. Identify variant features of European Portuguese, their conditioning factors (geographic, social, stylistic) and to discuss their treatment within a linguistic revision and consultancy perspective.
5. Recognise some of the main distinctive features of Portuguese national varieties and discuss their treatment within the same perspective.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Teresa Brocardo


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Martins, Ana Maria & Ernestina Carrilho (eds.) (2016) Manual de Linguística Portuguesa. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.
Milroy, J. & L. Milroy (1991, 2ª ed.) Authority in Language. Investigating Language Prescription and Standardisation. London: Routledge.
Peres, João A. e Telmo Móia (1995) Áreas Críticas da Língua Portuguesa. Lisboa: Caminho.
Raposo, Eduardo P. et al. (orgs.) (2013) Gramática do Português. 2 vols. Lisboa: FCG.
Sampson, Geoffrey (2014) Writing systems: methods for recording language. In Keith Allan (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Linguistics. London: Routledge, pp. .47-61
Tagliamonte, Sali A. (2006) The linguistic variable. In Analysing Sociolinguistic Variation. Cambridge: CUP, pp. 70-98.
Wetzels, W. Leo, Sergio Menuzzi & João Costa (eds.) (2016) The Handbook of Portuguese Linguistics. Malden / Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Teaching method

This is a course seminar, with more expositive and more practical sessions. Students must participate on a regular basis in the seminar sessions with the presentation and discussion of course topics, papers, data collection and analysis, etc.

Evaluation method

Participation in the seminar sessions, with several tasks, as described above (40%); 1 paper, prepared under close supervision, and its oral presentation (60%). The paper can be improved after its presentation and discussion.

Subject matter

1. General and introductory topics
Language variation (a characteristic inherent to human natural languages) versus linguistic standardization (related to non-linguistic factors).
Definition, recognition and importance of linguistic norm(s).
Correctness and style accuracy.
Language prejudice.
2. Linguistic variation in Portuguese
European Portuguese variation areas.
Linguistic variables related to more specific factors (dialect, sociolect, style) and more widespread variables.
Some distinctive features of Portuguese national varieties.
3. Grammar topics
Identification of ‘critical’ or ‘unstable’ areas of Portuguese.
Description and characterization of some of these linguistic uses.
Strategies’ design for linguistic revision and consultancy.
4. Orthography topics
Writing systems.
Levels of representation in alphabetic phonographic systems.
Framing, criteria and characterization of the Portuguese orthography.
5. The standardization of Portuguese – some discussion topics
Standardization and language policy – institutional and diffuse linguistic authorities.
Purist and flexible attitudes towards normative prescriptions.
Discussion of the role of linguistics in contributing to normative perspectives.


Programs where the course is taught: