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Spanish Phonology and Morphology


Admission requirements

Enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree programme at Leiden University or any other Dutch university.


This course serves as an introduction to Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology of the Spanish language with a comparative-contrastive focus with Portuguese.
Readings and lectures will deal with the distinctions between Phonetics and Phonology and examine the interfaces between Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology. Topics include phonetic transcription (using the International Phonetic Alphabet - IPA), modes and point of articulation, acoustics, perception, phonological systems and processes, nominal/verbal inflection and derivation, and variation as it relates to all three areas of study. In this course, examples will come from different varieties of Spanish and Portuguese as well as other languages in contact with them.
The students’ active attitude towards preparation for and participation during seminars is crucial in order to be able to meet the learning outcomes of the course.

Course objectives

  • Students will be able to distinguish between and describe the principal areas of study in each area (Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology).

  • Students will be able to perform phonetic transcription in Spanish using the IPA.

  • Students will be able to describe basic phonologic and morphological rules and processes in Spanish.

  • Students will be able to apply the main concepts in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology to carry out basic linguistic analyses in Spanish.
    Apart from specific knowledge and skills for basic linguistic analysis, this course will also help the students in developing the following transferable skills:

  • Oral communication (presenting, speaking skills, listening) in academic English, Spanish and/or Portuguese

  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, structuring, summarizing) in academic English, Spanish and/or Portuguese

  • Problem solving (recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking)

  • Analytical thinking (analytical skills, abstraction, proof)

  • Responsibility (ownership, self-discipline, responsible attitude towards own project, acknowledging errors)

  • Commitment (dedication, motivation, proactive attitude, own initiative)

  • Self-regulation (independence, insight into one's own goals, motives and capacities)

  • Working together (teamwork, support, loyalty, fulfilling agreements, attendance)

  • Flexibility (dealing with changes, eagerness to learn, adaptability)

  • Critical thinking (asking questions, checking assumptions)

  • Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, out of the box thinking)

  • Integrity (honesty, morality, ethical conduct, personal values)

  • Intercultural skills (communication with different cultures)


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Continuous assessment (10%): participation in class, quizzes, presentations, homework
Exams and final paper: midterm exam (30%), final exam (30%) and final paper (30%)

Continuous assessment:
The progress that the student makes during the semester will be taken into account through continuous assessment. This means that the lecturer will regularly check whether the student duly carries out the assignments and tasks as proposed in class and Brightspace.

Midterm and final exams: Both written examinations will include closed questions (for example, multiple choice or identification), open ended questions and/or short essay questions.

Final paper: In pairs or individually, students have to look for an academic article or paper about a specific topic of their choice. If the original article is not in Spanish or Portuguese, the final paper to be submitted must be written in one of these languages.

The original paper / article must be about a specific topic in Spanish Phonetics, Phonology or Morphology. The final paper of the students must include the following:

  • brief background description of the article (authors, context of the study, the rationale of the choice of this particular article)

  • summary of the article (description of its parts with special focus on the objectives, methodology, results and conclusions)

  • critique of the article (What are the interesting points in the article? What is deficient or lacking? How would you modify the methodology or analysis?)

  • future research (Have you thought of a partly similar or a totally different topic in Spanish linguistics while working on this paper?)

More specific instructions will be given to the students during the first block to give them enough time to do their research and writing. Before the final exam period, students will have to give a brief oral presentation in class about their final paper.


30% Midterm exam (Phonetics and Phonology)
30% Final exam (Morphology and special topics)
30% Final paper
10% Homework, Quizzes and Participation

To pass the course, the student must obtain at least 5.5 for the final paper and the average of the midterm and the final exams should also be at least 5.5. Otherwise, the final mark is 5 or lower regardless of the other components.

The passing final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
Due to the current covid-19 situation, the lecturer may adapt the exams/evaluation methods of the course with the approval of Examencommissie.


The student whose average for midterm and final exams is below 5.5 can have a resit exam. This written exam will cover the content of the entire course and its result will be the 60% of the new final mark.
For the final paper (30%), the deadline for resubmission is 10 working days counted from the day after the notification of the failing grade. It is not possible to improve the grade component that corresponds to Homework, Quizzes and Participation (10%) after the last day of classes.

Inspection and feedback

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.

The date of exam review will be announced on Brightspace.

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.

Reading list

  • Hualde, et al. (2010) Introducción a la Lingüística Hispánica. Cambridge University Press

  • TBA on Brightspace


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.

Not applicable.


R. Valencia Libo-on MA

Onderwijsadministratie: Reuvensplaats

Studiecoördinator: Tim Sanders


Students will only be allowed to take the midterm and final exams if these conditions are satisfied:

  • 80% compulsory attendance. Absence must be reported in advance to the lecturer giving a valid reason. Students who do not meet the 80% attendance requirement will not be allowed to take the exams. Frequent tardiness and both excused and unexcused absences are included in the 20% margin. Exceptions to this should be mutually agreed upon by both the lecturer and the student in writing (e-mail).

  • Progress throughout the course. Students are expected to participate actively in discussions during seminars and to duly carry out all assignments during and outside seminar hours. During the semester, you are expected to complete all assignments and to check all the topics regardless of them being discussed or not in class. Students will be excluded from the exams if they fail to participate or prepare sufficiently (see “Continuous Assessment”).