Portuguese as a Global Language (MLP2002)

StaffDr Susana Pinto Cavadas Afonso - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module introduces you to the global spread of Portuguese and related sociolinguistic issues such as dialect variation, language planning and language maintenance/shift of Portuguese-speaking diasporas. You will develop an awareness of how sociohistory and contact shape language. The module will explore the reasons behind the differences between the different varieties of Portuguese, the presence of Portuguese in Africa and Brazil as well as introduce the conditions of the emergence of the Atlantic and Portuguese-based creoles. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of how social and historical facts shape language
  • 2. Demonstrate familiarity with the current sociolinguistic situation of Portuguese in the different countries where it is the official language
  • 3. Demonstrate familiarity with some linguistic features of the different varieties of Portuguese

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. After initial input from the course tutor, apply the linguistic concepts to the material under analysis independently
  • 5. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor(s); find independently and evaluate critically other relevant resources
  • 6. Recognise and understand basic linguistic terminology relatinng to variation

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Present information and arguments on a defined topic
  • 8. Acquire and apply the conventions and style of a Linguistics essay
  • 9. Acquire the skills to discuss linguistic data

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:

  • Concepts of language and dialect and dimensions of language variation
  • Portuguese as a pluricentric languagePortuguese in Africa: background and sociolinguistic situation
  • The process of nativisation of Portuguese in Africa
  • Creoles and semi-creoles: degrees of restructuring
  • Standard Brazilian Portuguese and Brazilian Vernacular Portuguese

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 Teaching1510 x 1.5 hour lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mini essay500 Words1-9Written

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
Essay1002500 words1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral 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:

  • Azevedo, M. 2004. PortugueseA Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Firmino, G. 2011. “Nation-statehood and linguistic diversity in the postcolony: The case of Portuguese and indigenous languages in Mozambique". In Anchimbe, E. and Mforteh, S. (eds). Postcolonial Linguistic Voices. Postcolonial Choices and Representations. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 99–118
  • Gonçalves, P. 2004. “Towards a unified vision of classes of language acquisition and change: arguments for the genesis of Mozambican African Portuguese”. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 19(2): 225–259
  • Holm, J. 2004. Languages in ContactThe Partial Restructuring of Vernaculars. Cambridge: CUP
  • Holm, J. 2000. Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge: CUP
  • Lloyd-Jones, S. & Pinto, A. (eds.). 2003. The Last Empire. Thirty Years of Portuguese Colonisation. Bristol: Intellect Books.
  • López, L., Gonçalves, P. & Avelar, J. (eds.) (2018). The Portuguese language continuum in Africa and Brazil. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Mufwene, S. (ed.) (2014). Iberian imperialism and language evolution in Latin America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


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Key words search

Portuguese; varieties of Portuguese; Portuguese in Brazil; Portuguese in Africa; Influence of African languages in Brazilian Portuguese