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SPAN3013 Transatlantic Crossings: Linguistic Variation in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America

Module Overview

The focus of this course is dialectal variation, the emphasis being on the spoken rather than the written word. It offers you an approachable introduction to the concept of accent through the examination of linguistic data such as speech recordings and written transcriptions. Initially, you will gain a solid grounding in the general but relevant linguistic tenets through a short series of tutor-led lectures. You will then be introduced to the historical and geographical development of dialectal variation, including Castilian, other Peninsula and Latin American varieties, Galician, Catalan, European and Brazilian Portuguese.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• provide you with a solid grounding in general sociolinguistic and linguistic theory • introduce you to dialectal and accentual variation • offer you an appreciation of the role of such variation in multilingual societies • introduce you to basic qualitative research methodology, including linguistic data analysis, transcription conventions, dialectal mapping, recording techniques etc.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the general historical development and geographical location of the linguistic variation found in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds
  • fieldwork methodologies and their basic applications in dialectal analysis
  • the linguistic concepts involved
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate written communication skills through the development of ideas and arguments in a variety of written formats
  • demonstrate oral communication skills through the development of ideas and arguments informally in class and within formal presentations
  • show your capacity for teamwork and demonstrate interpersonal skills by working with other students, by problem solving, information gathering and presenting your findings collaboratively
  • display individual learning, study and performance skills and time management through your independent learning activities
  • show that you have developed your linguistic skills by demonstrating your appreciation of the Spanish- and Portuguese- speaking worlds as multifaceted
  • display both self-confidence and self-awareness in your studies
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate linguistic data using theoretical models regarding spatial provenance
  • explain and analyse the significance of linguistic data
  • synthesise your own commentaries using the models
  • demonstrate a sound understanding of the concepts involved

Syllabus

The focus of this module is dialectal variation, primarily in the Spanish- but also in the Portuguese- speaking world, the emphasis being on the spoken rather than the written word. It offers you an approachable introduction to the concept of accent through the examination of linguistic data such as speech recordings and written transcriptions. Initially, you will gain a solid grounding in the general but relevant linguistic tenets through a short series of tutor-led lectures. You will then be introduced to the historical and geographical development of dialectal variation, including Castilian, other Peninsula and Latin American varieties, Galician, Catalan, European and Brazilian Portuguese. The seminar class will then provide you with an opportunity to discuss issues raised and to demonstrate your appreciation of the phonetic variation of each of the major dialect families therein, as well as their interrelated linguistic structures. The second part of the module will integrate more task-based practical exercises and student presentations. In order to provide you with a chance to evaluate linguistic data using theoretical models, it will involve the deciphering of dialectal and accentual cues and the pinpointing of the information gained onto maps and charts. This will also require you to apply phonetic transcription analyses and techniques to both speech recordings and written text. In this way, you will come to appreciate, articulate and apply the relevant linguistic concepts. Throughout, you will be offered guidance with respect to your independent learning activities and research. Your presentation contributions will be used to provide you with informal feedback so that you can evaluate your progress, knowledge and understanding of the module objectives and content.

Special Features

The seminar classes will provide you with an opportunity to discuss, as a group, the issues raised in the lectures. They will also provide a chance to evaluate linguistic data using theoretical models and to perfect your practical experience, acquired as an independent learning activity, of dialect mapping, phonetic transcription of speech recordings and text analysis. Your contributions will be used to provide you with informal feedback on your progress throughout the course. In addition to these classes you will be expected to do a further 8 hours’ preparation and follow-up work each week. Group discussion and informal collaborative work will also enable you to develop your teamwork and interpersonal skills, as well as your individual intellectual skills. The latter will be assessed, along with a range of key skills, in your oral presentations. Knowledge and understanding will be developed through your attendance at lectures and your writing of the written composition, which will also offer you the chance to communicate your assimilation of the content of the first part of the course and its further enhancement through independent learning and study skills. You will also be able to demonstrate your enhanced knowledge of the Spanish- and/or Portuguese-speaking worlds and linguistic variation therein. Within the empirical assignment, dialectal analysis and linguistic commentary techniques will offer you an opportunity to apply qualitative research methodologies taught within the seminars to your own original research tasks. In this way, you will be able to synthesise your own commentaries using the knowledge gained within the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Seminars • Group work sessions Learning activities include • Individual and group study and empirical research • Preparing and delivering presentations on dialectal variation • Recording of accents and dialects using online resources • Innovative or special features of this module • Fieldwork data collection

TypeHours
Independent Study126
Teaching24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Catalan, Diego (1989). El Español. Orígenes de su diversidad. 

Beswick, Jaine. Regional Nationalisms in Spain: Language Use and Ethnic Identity in Galicia. 

Pountain, C (2003). Exploring the Spanish Language. 

Siguan, M (1992). España Plurilingüe. 

Chambers, Jack and Trudgill, Peter (1998). Dialectology. 

Hualde, J.I., Olarrea, A. Escobar, A.M (2001). Introducción a la Lingüística Hispánica. 

Penny, R (2000). Variation and Change in Spanish. 

Lipski, J (1994). Latin American Spanish. 

Azevedo, Milton Mariano (2005). Portuguese: a linguistic introduction. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • Individual and group class presentations • Dialectal mapping exercises • Transcription exercises

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (2500 words) 50%
Composition  (2000 words) 40%
Presentation  (10 minutes) 10%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: What makes a Language: exploring the systems of Spanish. New second year Phonetics module ‘Sound and Voice’ an advantage. Although the course covers some Portuguese dialects and accents, previous knowledge of Portuguese is not required.

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