Introduction to the Lusophone World (MLP1002)

StaffDr Susana Pinto Cavadas Afonso - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In this module you will be invited to study and compare cultural and linguistic aspects of the Portuguese-speaking world. The module will examine the multiple layers of meaning that have endowed a selection of distinct and durable cultural icons from the Portuguese-speaking world across the fields of dance, food, literature, music, politics, sport, and theatre. We will analyse the social and cultural significance of icons within the parameters of imperialism, migration and war and explore the “life story” of icons beyond their national spheres, by viewing the Indic and Atlantic oceans as pools of cultural transference and transformation.

This module will also introduce you to the linguistic make-up of the Lusophone world, taking into consideration, on the one hand, the evolution of the Portuguese language within the context of the other Ibero-Romance languages and, on the other, the situation of Portuguese in other territories which have Portuguese as an official language. Concepts such as official language, language planning and standardisation, dialect and language, diglossia, as well as a gentle introduction to pidgins and creoles will be introduced and discussed in the context of the Portuguese-speaking world.


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Define cultural icon and distinguish it from myth and stereotype
  • 2. Discuss key aspects of the relationship between culturally iconic forms and the communities that participate in their formation
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of the history of the Portuguese language
  • 4. Demonstrate an understanding of the diverse linguistic situations in the Portuguese-speaking world
  • 5. Discuss critically the representation of the Portuguese linguistic situation in cultural manifestations such as literature and cinema

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Demonstrate the competence to analyse cultural texts in historical and geographical context, through the use of related critical writings
  • 7. After initial input from the course tutor, apply the linguistic concepts to the material under analysis independently
  • 8. Demonstrate an understanding of, and an ability to apply, theoretical concepts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Work effectively with other students in groups and sustain arguments coherently
  • 10. Present information and arguments on a defined topic
  • 11. Think critically and independently

Syllabus plan


Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:


  • Definitions of cultural iconicity
  • Case studies of cultural icons from the fields of sport, music, literature and food
  • History, literature and cinema of Lusophone countries
  • History of the Portuguese language: from dialect to language in the Iberian context
  • Linguistic situation in Africa: the relationship between Portuguese and the local languages, including creoles
  • Language planning
  • Diglossia and bilingualism


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Semiars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay500 words1-11Individual written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination1001 hour and 30 minutes1-11Generic group feedback posted on ELE. Students will get the exam scripts back with individual feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-11Ref/def period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  •  Anderson, B. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.
  • Azevedo, M. 2004. PortugueseA Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Earle, T. F., Stephen Parkinson and Pazos Alonso (eds). 2013. A Companion to Portuguese Literature. Woodbridge: Tamesis.
  • Fanon, F. 1986. Black Skin, White Masks. London. Pluto.
  • Fasold, R. 1987. The Sociolinguistics of Society. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Fausto, B. 1999. A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Holmes, J. 2000. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. London: Longman
  • Maiden, M., Smith, C. and Ledgeway, A. (eds.). 2013.The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages. Volume 2: Contexts. Cambridge: CUP
  • McClintock, Anne. 1994. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Context. London: Routledge.
  • Mitchell, W.J. T. 1987. Iconology: Image, Text and Ideology. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
  • Mufwene, S. (ed.). 2014. Iberian imperialism and language evolution in Latin America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Newitt, M. 1995. A History of Mozambique. London: C. Hurst & Co.
  • Owen, Hilary. 2007. Mother Africa, Father Marx: Women’s Writing of Mozambique 1948 – 2002. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Portuguese linguistics, lusophone studies, cultural studies, literary studies, cultural iconicity, postcolonial theory, gender theory, race studies, exoticism