Optional Seminars

First Semester

Language Sciences – Theories and Applications

The aim of this course is to provide a general and updated overview of the area, making a necessarily brief historical synthesis of the main theoretical milestones in the evolution of linguistic thought, highlighting the features that identify them as relevant contributions in the area and recording the affinities that can be established between the Language Sciences and other fields within the Human and Social Sciences. It also intends to frame the study of human language in its social, political and economic projections, taking into account the multiple applications of the theoretical analysis of natural languages in the daily use of language.

Teachers: Lucília Chacoto, Merja de Mattos-Parreira

Discourse Analysis (optional seminar 1)

Discourse analysis is field of research relevant to a number of other fields, not only Linguistics, but also Sociology, Psychology, Political Sciences, Anthropology, History, Education, Journalism, Law. The aim of this Discourse Analysis seminar is to provide students with some tools for the analysis of (written) texts with a strong practical component, based on the notion of language in use.

It is a seminar that, first of all, sees all textual and discursive representations as contextually conditioned. In particular, the discourse register always determines the speaker's linguistic choices. The starting point in terms of theoretical framework will be Systemic-Functional Linguistics, not forgetting other linguistic theories of a social leaning and socio-cultural analysis.

In the seminar, grammatical concepts concerning the logical-experiential meta-function (transitivity issues), the interpersonal meta-function (grammatical modes, modalisation, modulation, distributional roles in verbal interaction), and the textual meta-function (textual cohesion and coherence, thematization, topicalization, informational structures) will be studied in depth.

Teacher: Merja de Mattos-Parreira

Theories and techniques of translation (optional seminar 2)

This course aims to provide an overview of the main theoretical frameworks of the so-called Translation Studies, their methodologies and approaches to the translation phenomenon, as well as of the most recent developments in machine or computer-assisted translation paradigms. In the laboratory practice component, the students will work on the analysis of various translation problems and difficulties, covering different discursive genres and different communication situations, while getting acquainted with computer-assisted translation tools (and the post-edition paradigm). There are no pre-requisites, but familiarity with the English language is important, as it will function as the source and/or target language in the different practical assignments and much of the bibliography is in English.

Teachers: Fátima Noronha

Second Semester

Phraseology (optional seminar 3)

Deemed by many to be the repository of a given community’s wisdom and the flagship of its culture, proverbs and fixed expressions occupy a special place in grammatical knowledge, their study being therefore not only relevant but also essential to the mastery of any language. This curricular unit has as its main goals: 1) To provide a general overview of Portuguese fixed expressions and proverbs, of their scope and importance and also of the way they can be articulated within a general description of the grammar of Portuguese; 2) To present a cross-linguistic methodology for the analysis and description of the basic properties (lexico-syntactic, semantic and pragmatic) of these phraseologic units.

Teacher: Lucília Chacoto 

Pragmatics (optional seminar 4)

This curricular unit focusses on the basic principles of linguistic communication in context. These will be discussed and theoretically grounded, with the emphasis being placed on the Principles of Cooperation and Politeness. Against this theoretical background, we will analyse representative examples of the mechanisms of production and interpretation of pragmatic meanings in different contexts of language use, with a view to singling out the similarities and especially the differences to semantic mechanisms. Different kinds of constraints (sociocultural and individual) will be identified which could impinge on the production and decoding of pragmatic messages on the part of speakers.

Teacher: Pedro Santos

Computational Linguistics (optional seminar 5)

The main objective of this course is to provide students with the fundamental concepts and skills for the study of language using computational tools, namely through the development of linguistic resources (corpora, lexicons, etc.) which enable the modeling of verbal behavior and, from these, the development of applications for different practical purposes. To this end, the course will be structured around key concepts of corpus linguistics (sampling methods, representativeness, balancing, annotation, and validation issues), general problems and main tasks of natural language text processing, and fundamental concepts of machine learning and artificial intelligence. At the end of the course, the student will have a comprehensive view of the area, being able to relate different dimensions of the study of language with the most appropriate computational methods to address them.

Teacher: Jorge Baptista