Spanish philology

Spanish philology studies Spanish language, literature and culture. Spanish evolved from Latin in the Iberian Peninsula and spread to new contexts in the Americas and other continents. Today, it is one of the world’s most-spoken languages. Research on Spanish at the University of Helsinki focuses on language change, variation and contacts as well as contemporary literature.

At the University of Helsinki, the research area of Ibero-Romance languages includes Spanish philology and Portuguese philology, as well as Catalan, Galician and Basque. Central research themes include

  • Language variation and change
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Pragmatics
  • Contrastive linguistics
  • Language contact and creoles
  • Portuguese phonology
  • Interfaces between lexicon and grammar
  • Spanish varieties and Spanish as a global language
  • Contemporary Hispanic literature

Portuguese philology studies Portuguese language as well as literature and culture in the Portuguese-speaking world. Portuguese is spoken around the world in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East-Timor, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, as well as small communities in Macao and in India. Research within Portuguese Philology focuses on comparative linguistics, language learning, phonetics and Portuguese-lexifier creoles.

Galician is an official language in the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain. It is closely related to Portuguese.

Catalan is an official language in Catalonia, located in the northeast of Spain, as well as in Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Andorra. It is also spoken in Southern France and in Sardinia.

Basque, or Euskara in the Basque language, is a language isolate, since no firm evidence of relations to any other language has been found. Basque may be the last remnant of a language group spoken in Western Europe, displaced elsewhere by Indo-European languages. Basque is spoken in the Basque Country in Spain and France, and it is an official language in the Spanish Basque country.

Creoles are languages that arose in situations of intense contact, where people of diverse ethno-cultural and linguistic backgrounds came together and formed distinct communities and languagesSpanish- and Portuguese-based creoles are spoken in tropical regions around the world and in migrant communities in the US and Europe. For example, Palenquero in Colombia, Casamancese Creole in Senegal, Indo-Portuguese varieties in India, and Chabacano in the Philippines and in California.

Spanish and Portuguese are majors in the Bachelor’s and Master’s Programmes in Languages.

Basque, Catalan and Galician can be studied in the Bachelor’s Programme including courses on the respective language, linguistics, literature and culture.

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