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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.


My Timetable

Mode of instruction


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


Re-sit: Paper (100%)

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.

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


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

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats


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.


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

  • Analytical thinking (analytical skills, abstraction, proof)

  • Project management (planning, delineation, result orientation)

  • 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)

  • Oral communication (presenting, speaking skills, listening)

  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, structuring, summarizing)

  • 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)