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A theoretical research seminar on Language Variation and Language Change in Latin America


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA programme


This course is an introduction to the study of variation in Spanish and Portuguese morphosyntax. Main theoretical and methodological issues will be discussed based on examples drawn from variation studies. Our main focus will be the observation, description, and explanation of morphosyntactic variation and change across time and space in Latin America. Readings, discussions, and practical sessions will center on theoretical issues and methods of data collection (e.g. corpora, elicitation techniques and experimental methodologies).

Course objectives

Students will acquire knowledge of what the principal axes of syntactic variation in Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese are, considering the following points:

a. The contribution of different tools (databases, atlases, questionnaires, corpora, internet, descriptive manuals, etc.) to the study of morphosyntactic variation in Spanish and Portuguese.
b. Different theoretical approaches to the study of linguistic variation.
c. The weight of language contact to establish the boundaries between them and other linguistic variables.
d. The effect of non-linguistic factors (social, cultural, legal, etc.) in the study of language variation.


Timetable LAS

Method of Instruction


Course Load

140 hours
In-Class: 28 hours (2 hours p/week x 14 weeks)
Reading and Class Preparation: 56 hours (4 hours p/week x 14 weeks)
Preparation for in-class presentations: 12 hours
Weekly response papers: 14 hours
Final Written Paper: 30 hours

Assessment method


Weekly response papers (25%), final research paper (50%) and oral presentation (25%).

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Weekly response papers (25%), final research paper (50%) and oral presentation (25%).

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Re-sit: Paper (100%)

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing study materials

Reading list

To be announced


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in Engels and Nederlands

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable

Contact information

For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher: mw. M. Parafita Couto

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats


Students are expected to come to class prepared and ready to participate in class discussion. All readings assigned for the week must be done prior to class. Every student is expected to contribute to class discussion through oral questions and comments every class. In order to facilitate class discussion, students will write a response to the weekly readings.

A detailed class syllabus will be provided on the first day of class.