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SPA4007 : Spanish and Romance Word analysis

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Ian MacKenzie
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To explore how Spanish grew out of proto-Romance (late spoken Latin), by considering (i) the sound changes that have affected the vocabulary and (ii) the associated restructuring of the language’s morphology. A comparative perspective will be adopted, enabling students to see how other Romance languages, such as French, Catalan or Italian, have taken different historical trajectories, having started from the same baseline.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics include:
1.       Changes affecting consonants
2.       Changes affecting vowels
3.       Creation of the modern Spanish noun system
4.       Development of “radical changing verbs”
5.       Where the modern pronouns come from
6.       Development of verb tenses
7.       Changes in inflectional morphology
8.       Syntactic changes

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SPA8017Spanish and Romance word structure
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with the principal analytical tools required for the course and also familiarise them with basic facts and themes. Students will develop their listening and note-taking skills and, where appropriate, they will also do exercises. Lectures will be associated with a detailed programme of auxiliary material, both printed and delivered via the course website. Thus much of the focus will be on guided independent study. In this way, students will be encouraged to develop their research skills and independence in project management. In particular, they will be expected to sift through a wealth of factual knowledge with a view to identifying general trends and patterns of causality.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Exam set and answered in English
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M30In-class assessment. 1 hour multiple choice test (in English) in Week 10
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination2MPractice exam (in English) taken in class in week 10 of Semester 2.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

By obliging the students to apply the conceptual tools acquired during the course of the module to unseen data, the written exam will test students' practical ability to analyse and solve problems while under time pressure. The exam will also test students' ability to present an argument in a clear and rational way.

The essay tests students’ ability to research a topic independently and to use data to construct a coherent and persuasive argument.

The in-class test examines students’ technical ability and factual recall.

Reading Lists