Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas

Introduction to Language Sciences - 1st semester



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas





Teacher in charge

Helena Topa Valentim, Joana Alexandra Vaz Teixeira, Joana Batalha, Maria do Céu Caetano, Maria Sousa Lobo Gonçalves

Weekly hours


Teaching language



1. To recognize language as a cognitive activity;
2. To relate the concepts of ´language´ and ´languages´;
3. To acquire tools to describe natural languages;
4. To develop different tools to describe and analyse human languages;
5. To establish points of difference and similarity between languages;
6. To be aware of the interaction between Language Sciences and other areas of knowledge.



Subject matter

1. Language as a cognitive activity: speaking / listening / understanding;
1.1 The origins of language: from non-linguistic to linguistic evidence;
1.2 How and why do we speak: the language faculty;
2. Language manifestations: verbal language and sign language;
3. Natural languages: levels of linguistic analysis;
3.1 The sounds of language: Phonetics & Phonology;
3.2 The structure of words: Morphology;
3.3 The structure of sentences: Syntax;
3.4 The study of meaning: Semantics;
4. Interdisciplinary approaches in Language Sciences.


Akmajan, Adrian et al. 2010. Linguistics. An Introduction to Language and Communication. Cambridge (Mass.): The MIT Press, 6th ed.
Aronoff, Mark & Janie Rees-Miller (eds). 2003. The Handbook of Linguistics. MA/Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Crystal, David. 2010. A Little book of Language. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Duarte, Inês. 2000. Língua Portuguesa. Instrumentos de análise. Lisboa: Universidade Aberta.
Fromkin, Victoria; Robert Rodman & Nina Hyams. [2003] 2007. An Introduction to Language. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
Mateus, Maria Helena M. & Alina Villalva. 2006. O Essencial sobre Linguística. Lisboa: Caminho.

Teaching method

The course will include a balanced combination of theoretical and practical classes. A detailed schedule will be handed out to the students at the beginning of the semester.

Teaching Language: Portuguese (one class taught in English- Class F)

Evaluation method

As learning assessment, students will have to complete 2 classroom tests and 2 take-home tests.
The 2 classroom tests will have a weighting of 80% and the take-home tests will have a weighting of 20% of the overall mark.