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SPA4007 : Spanish linguistics III: sound change and morphological change

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Ian MacKenzie
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
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 ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Present-in-Person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials120:306:00Non present-in-person contact hours
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion167:0067:00Non-contact hours
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching71:007:00Present-in-Person
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities52:0010:00Non present-in-person contact hours
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00Non-contact hours
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SPA8017Spanish Linguistics III: Sound Change and Morphological Change
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and small group teaching will provide hands-on learning support to deliver core technical and conceptual elements of the syllabus. Lecture materials and structured research and reading activities will enable students to think critically and to familiarise themselves with relevant academic debates. Guided independent study will develop research skills, data retrieval and analysis, and organizational capabilities.

Evaluation from last year showed that a majority of students appreciated the online elements as part of the module contact hours.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A100N/A
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination2M50-minute multiple choice test
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written exams will test students’ practical ability to analyse and solve problems while under time pressure. They will also test their ability to present an argument in a clear and rational way.

Reading Lists