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Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology of Spanish and Portuguese


Admission requirements

Enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree programme at Leiden University or any other Dutch university.
Completion of Spanish 1 / Portuguese 1 or having at least A2 or A2+ level (CEFR) in Spanish or Portuguese is recommended.


This course serves as an introduction to Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology applied to Portuguese and Spanish languages with a contrastive focus.

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), basic speech analysis in PRAAT, modes and points 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

The main objectives that students achieve by the end of the course are the following:

  • Ability to describe and analyze concepts of Phonetics applied to speakers and / or learners of Portuguese and Spanish through phonetic transcription with IPA symbols and basic speech analysis in PRAAT;

  • Ability to identify and describe similarities and differences between Portuguese and Spanish phonological and morphological systems, and their interfaces with other subfields of linguistics; and

  • Ability to understand and appreciate research work in linguistics through critical analysis of a linguistics paper about Portuguese and/or Spanish.

Apart from specific knowledge and skills for basic linguistic analysis, this course will also help 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)


My Timetable

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 student’s progress 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, true-or-false or identification), open-ended questions and/or short essay questions. The midterm exam may include phonetic transcription and speech analysis in PRAAT.

Final paper: In small groups, 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, Portuguese or Galician, the final paper to be submitted must be written in either Portuguese or Spanish at level B1 (CEFR) or higher.

The original article must be about one or a combination of the following: (a) Phonetics (involving speakers or learners of Portuguese / Spanish) (b) Phonology of Portuguese / Spanish (c) Morphology of Portuguese / Spanish

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 provided to the students by the end of the first block. 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

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
To pass the course, the final weighted grade should be 6 or higher.

Due to the current covid-19 situation, the lecturer may adapt the exams/evaluation methods of the course with the approval of the Board of Examiners.


Students who do not pass the course (weighted grade lower than 6) is entitled to a resit evaluation. 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.

Students who miss or get excluded from the midterm and/or final exams may take the resit exam (60%) and submit (or resubmit) the final paper (30%) as scheduled for everyone.

It is not possible to improve the grade component that corresponds to Homework, Quizzes and Participation (10%) after the last day of classes.

In all cases, the final grade will be calculated as follows:

10% Homework, Quizzes and Participation
30% Final paper (with or without resubmission)
60% Written resit exam or the average of midterm and final exams

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 exam results and date of exam review will be announced on Brightspace.

Reading list

  • Introducción a la lingüística hispánica. Hualde, José Ignacio, et al. Cambridge University Press, 2010 or 2014.

  • Portuguese: A Linguistic Introduction. Azevedo, Milton. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

  • Espanhol e português brasileiro: estudos comparados. Fanjul, A. P. & González, N. M. São Paulo: Parábola Editorial, 2014.

More materials will be provided through Brightspace. Please contact the lecturer before purchasing books for this course.


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

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats

Coordinator of Studies: 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”).