Historical Linguistics


At the end of the course students should: 1) understand the specificity of the subject of Historical Linguistics and its importance in the context of Linguistics; 2) master basic and fundamental concepts of General Linguistics and Historical Linguistics; 3) know, in general terms, different analytical perspectives in the field of diachronic linguistic studies and develop the ability to assess them critically; 4) understand the relationship between different factors (internal and external) of linguistic change; 5) understand the process of diffusion of language change in the light of the current state of knowledge; 6) know diachronic aspects of various languages, particularly of European Portuguese, and be able to describe and characterize them; 7) apply the knowledge acquired to different areas of Linguistics and the Social Sciences and Humanities in general.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

António Henrique de Figueiredo Pedro de Albuquerque Emiliano


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


BLEVINS, J. (2004): Evolutionary Phonology: The Emergence of Sound Patterns, Cambridge: C. U. Press;
CAMPBELL, L. (2004): Historical linguistics: An introduction, Edinburgh: E. U. Press, 2nd rev. ed.; COSERIU, E.
(1978). Sincronía, diacronía e historia: El Problema del Cambio Lingüístico, Madrid: Gredos, 3.ª ed.;
HALE, M. (2007): Historical Linguistics: Theory and Method, Oxford: Blackwell;
HOCK & JOSEPH (2009): Language History, Language Change and Language Relationship, Berlin: Mouton de
Gruyter, 2nd ed.;
JANDA & JOSEPH Eds. (2003): The Handbook of Historical Linguistics, Oxford: Blackwell; McMAHON, A.
(1994): Understanding Language Change, Cambridge: C. U. Press;
TRASK, R. L. (2007): Historical Linguistics, London: Hodder Education, 2nd rev. ed.;
TRASK, R. L. (2010): Why Do Languages Change? Cambridge: C. U. Press, rev. posth. ed.

Teaching method

Theoretical/PracticalClasses: lectures with student´s active participation.
Bibliographic support: class summaries, support documents, slides used in class, links, full texts of articles
and book chapters, discussion forum available online in the MOODLE platform.
Supervision: discussion sessions, oneonone tutorials, response to students´ queries by email, emessaging
or video conferencing.

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

1. General and introductory considerations on the study of language change: Historical Linguistics and History of Language; synchrony, diachrony and history; the problem of language change.
2. Data in Historical Linguistics: the study of ancient primary sources; philological work and digital textual
corpora; attestation and reconstruction.
3. Language evolution and language change: Glossogenetics vs. Historical Linguistics; the problem of the origin of language; language and evolution.
4. The comparative method and linguistic reconstruction: general trends in the development of Comparative Linguistics since the 1st half of the 19th century.
5. Explanation in Historical Linguistics — the mechanism of linguistic change: factors and causes of linguistic change; language change and synchronic variation; implementation and dissemination of changes.
6. Analysis of phonological, morphological, morphosintactic and lexical phenomena.


Programs where the course is taught: