Experimental Linguistics
Cod: 53044
Department: DH
ECTS: 15
Scientific area: Portuguese Linguistics
Total working hours: 390
Total contact time: 60

Experimental linguistics aims to gather evidence about how language works by adding a quantification component to linguistic descriptions and intuitions. The study of the language units of a language is carried out through rigorous observation and description of their behaviour in the various contexts in which they occur, from which generalizations about their functioning are established. These are the object of theorization, constituting theoretical explanatory paradigms with predictive capacity.

This seminar will discuss experimental studies carried out at different levels of linguistic analysis, in the areas of production and perception of speech, comprehension and language processing. Experimental methodologies (online and offline) will be presented, problematizing their adequacy to the levels of linguistic analysis.

The elaboration of an experimental design in linguistics will be discussed, critically reflecting on each part of the process

Experimental linguistics; experimental methods in linguistics

Learning objectives

- Recognize the importance of experimental research in Linguistics;

- Analyze and critically interpret experimental work in Linguistics and Psycholinguistics;

- Describe and characterize online and offline research methodologies used in the study of Linguistics and Psycholinguistics;

- Identify and discuss the different components of an experimental design in Linguistics.


- Argue critically about the importance of experimental research in Linguistics;

- Select the most appropriate experimental methodology for research in Linguistics according to the levels of analysis, the language units and the hypotheses to be tested on the functioning of language

- Elaborate stimuli for experimental research in Linguistics;

- Plan, construct and implement an experimental design to test a hypothesis about the functioning of language.

1.      Research in Linguistics

1.1.   Intuitive and observational method and experimental method

2.      Experimental studies in linguistics

2.1.   Speech production and perception

2.2.   Language comprehension and processing

3.      Experimental methodologies in the study of human language

3.1.   Offline experimental methods (questionnaires; acceptability judgments, comprehension tests; recognition tasks)

3.2.   Online experimental methods (priming; lexical decision tasks; naming tasks; self-paced reading; eye-tracking; visual world paradigm)

4.      The experimental design

4.1.   The problem

4.2.   The hypotheses

4.3.   The independent and dependent variables

4.4.   The experimental method

4.5.   The sample

4.6.   The data

4.7.   The data analysis

Construction of an experimental design

Fernández, E. M., & Cairns, H. S. (Eds.) (2017). The Handbook of Psycholinguistics. John Wiley & Sons.

Gillioz, C., & Zufferey, S. (2021). Introduction to Experimental Linguistics. Wiley-ISTE.

Litosseliti, L. (Ed.) (2018). Research Methods in Linguistics. Bloomsbury.

Meyer, A. S., Aldey, P. M., Decuyper, C., & Knudsen, B. (2018). Working together: Contributions of Corpus Analyses and Experimental Psycholinguistics to Understanding Conversation. Frontiers of Psychology, 9, 525.

Paltridge, B., & Phakiti, A. (Eds.) (2015). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. A practical resource. Bloomsbury.

Podesva, R., & Sharma, D. (Eds.) (2013). Research Methods in linguistics. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Riazi, M. (2016). The Routledge Encyclopedia of Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research. London: Routledge.

Zufferey, S. (2020). Introduction to Corpus Linguistics. Wiley-ISTE.



Applied Linguistics

Applied Psycholinguistics

Research Methods in Applied Linguistics



The assessment includes several written academic works, as well as regular and relevant participation in the forums throughout the semestre,