Cod: 51067
Department: DH
Scientific area: Linguistics
Total working hours: 156
Total contact time: 15

Sociolinguistics is a branch of linguistics that studies the relationship between verbal language and their contexts of use (socio-cultural, interactive and interlocutory contexts). Taking as its subject the communication competence, this course unit highlights and contrasts 3 main analytical guidelines:
(i) the analysis of the use of social-communicative codes in the Ethnography of Communication;
(ii) the perspective of social change (William Labov);
(iii) the analysis of the interactional perspective - considering language actional dimension, the illocutionary theory and the discursive functioning of illocutionary acts, the analysis of discourse sequences, the theory of the faces and the system of politeness of Brown and Levinson, the treatment forms (social deixis) and politeness forms.

  1. Communication competence
  2. Sociolinguistic analysis models
  3. Language and variation 
  4. Actional dimension of language

(i) Distinguishing linguistic competence from communication competence;
(ii) Distinguishing sentence from statement;
(iii) Understanding basic elements of the Linguistics System and comparing it with the Linguistics of Use/System Functioning;
(iv) Mastering the relations among Lexicon, Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics.

The course unit program aims at:
(i) Understanding different theoretical models that fall within the scope of sociolinguistics;
(ii) Understanding the ritualization of discursive practices;
(iii) Analysing the relationship between parameters of the communication and speech produced;
(iv) Establishing relations between treatment forms and use contexts;
(v) Identifying different illocutionary values;
(vi) Distinguishing strategies of negative and positive politeness strategies in different interactional contexts;
(vii) Studying the interpretive process, taking into account the interactional framework established by the speaker and the addressee;
(viii) Understanding the relations between discursive practices and specific variables related to gender, age and socio-professional groups.

Marques, Maria Emília Ricardo (1995), Sociolinguística, Lisboa, Universidade Aberta.

Complementary readings:
Coulmas, Florian (ed.), (1997), The handbook of sociolinguistics, Oxford, Basil Blackwell.
Fonseca, J. (Org.), 1998, A organização e o funcionamento dos discursos. Estudos sobre o Português, Tomo I, II, III, Porto, Porto Editora (Colecção Linguística da Porto Editora, nº. 8, 9, 10).
Goody, E. (ed.) (1978) Questions and politeness, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press;
Mateus, M. H. et al., [1983/2003], Gramática da Língua Portuguesa, Lisboa, Caminho, 5ª. edição revista e aumentada de 2003.


Continuous assessment is privileged: 2 digital written documents (e-folios) during the semester (40%) and a final digital test, Global e-folio (e-folio G) at the end of the semester (60%). In due time, students can alternatively choose to perform one final exam (100%).

Students are required to have access to a computer with Internet broadband connection.