Logo UAB

Spanish Historical Grammar

Code: 106376 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504211 Spanish Language and Literature OB 2 2


Carlos Sanchez Lancis

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


This subject requires a command of oral and written expression in Spanish equivalent to that obtained at the end of bachelor studies. Therefore the ability to express correctly verbally and in writing is essential.

It is not essential, but it is recommended, the possession of some basic knowledge of the Latin language.

Objectives and Contextualisation

"Historical Grammar of Spanish" is an introductory course to the historical study of the language, both in general (linguistic change) and particular (the concrete evolution of Spanish).

 The aim of the subject is for the student to acquire a general vision of the different stages of evolution of Spanish, with special emphasis on the graphematic and phonic changes of the Spanish linguistic system, as well as an initial mastery of the tools of diachronic study of a language.

 At the end of the course students must be able to:

  • Apply different methodologies in the study of the historical grammar of Spanish.
  • Handle the tools of historical linguistics.
  • Identify the different types of linguistic changes that may occur in a language.
  • Describe the most relevant aspects of the history of the Spanish language from the external point of view.
  • Establish the different historical stages of the Spanish language and the phonic and graphematic changes corresponding to each period.
  • Produce phonic evolution of Latin words to modern Spanish.


  • Analyse the main phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical and semantic properties of the Spanish language, its evolution throughout history and its current structure.
  • Develop arguments applicable to the fields of Hispanic literature, literary theory, Spanish language and linguistics, and evaluate their academic relevance.
  • Identify the linguistic characteristics of the different periods in the evolution of the Spanish language.
  • Introduce changes in the methods and processes of the field of knowledge to provide innovative responses to the needs and demands of society.
  • Students can apply the knowledge to their own work or vocation in a professional manner and have the powers generally demonstrated by preparing and defending arguments and solving problems within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Use digital tools and specific documentary sources to gather and organise information.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the principles of historical linguistics to describe the evolution of Spanish.
  2. Assess linguistic diversity from a diachronic point of view.
  3. Describe the main stages in the history of the Spanish language (Medieval Romance, Classical Spanish, Modern Spanish) on the basis of its linguistic characteristics and its external conditioning factors.
  4. Justify by means of appropriate terminology the analysis of data from a linguistic point of view.
  5. Make linguistic predictions and inferences about the content of a text.
  6. Make linguistic-philological comments on ancient texts and situate them in their corresponding period.
  7. Recognise and describe the evolution of the Spanish lexicon from Latin to the present day.
  8. Recognise and describe the evolution of the Spanish phonic system and its associated graphemic features from Latin to the present day.
  9. Recognise and describe the evolution of the morphological and syntactic system of Spanish from Latin to the present day.
  10. Use digital tools to obtain, classify, interpret and analyse relevant data related to the study of Spanish language and literature.
  11. Use the appropriate terminology in the construction of an academic text and in the transmission of their knowledge.
  12. Use traditional sources to obtain, classify, interpret and analyse relevant data related to the study of Spanish language and literature.


Topic 1. Historical linguistics and language change. 

Topic 2. Types of language change.

Topic 3. History of the Spanish language. Linguistic evolution from an external perspective: from pre-Roman languages to modern Spanish.

Topic 4. Historical grammar. Linguistic evolution from the internal perspective: graphology, phonetics and phonology from Latin to Spanish.


The student must carry up a continuous follow-up of the subject.

In order to achieve the aforementioned objectives, theoretical explanations will be combined by the teacher (where the methodology and the basic tools of the historical study of the language will be shown) with the practical realization of exercises in the classroom (mainly focused on the identification of the graphic and phonic changes experienced by Spanish from Latin to the present).

The realization of one theoretical-practical test, one theoretical test and a practical evaluative activity will be required.

The learning of this subject by the student is distributed as follows:

  • 37,5% of directed activities (54,5 hours)

- These activities are distributed in theoretical classes (55%) and classroom practices (45%)

  • 10% of supervised activities (15 hours)
  • 52% of autonomous activities (76 hours)

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Classroom practices 24.5 0.98 1
Theoretical classes 30 1.2 1
Type: Supervised      
Activities 7.5 0.3 6, 10, 4, 9, 2
Mandatory readings 7.5 0.3 10
Type: Autonomous      
Elaboration of the activities 20 0.8 6, 10, 7
Preparation of partial tests and final test 56 2.24 1, 9


The professor will evaluate this subject on an ongoing basis through the realization of one theoretical-practical test, one theoretical test and a practical evaluative activity.

The evaluation will be distributed as follows:

  • Theoretical and practical test: 20%
  • Theoretical test: 30%
  • Practical evaluation activity: 50%

The evaluation of the subject will be carried out, therefore, starting from the realization of three activities / tests in which the following aspects will be evaluated:

  • The assimilation of theoretical contents;
  • The practical application of the contents;
  • The adaptation to the requirements of the activity in question;

The three activities / tests to be carried out are the following: 

  • A theoretical-practical exam about the required readings and the theoretical concepts and their application in the resolution of exercises. This test constitutes 20% of the final grade of the subject.
  • A theoretical exam based on the contents of the required readings. This test constitutes 30% of the final grade of the subject.
  • A practical evaluative activity that will consist of the evolution of a certain number of words from Latin to Spanish, through the identification of the different evolutionary stages and the phonic changes corresponding to each period. This exam constitutes 50% of the final grade of the subject.

0.2 points of penalty will be given, without limits, for each error of spelling, expression, lexicon and syntax committed on the final grade of the different tests.

To pass the subject all the evaluation activities must be done. The final grade, once all the notes have been added and the percentages indicated above applied, must be equal to or greater than 5.

While it is the responsibility of the students to bring the subject up to date, the faculty will indicate with sufficient notice the date of each test.

Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 1/3 of the assessment items.

All evaluation activities are recoverable. However, the student will lose the right toreassess if the average of the tests performed with the corresponding percentage is less than 3.5 points. If the student has the right to reassessment, he can only reassess at most two tests. Moreover, it should be taken into account that in order to be eligible for re-evaluation, students are obliged to attend 2/3 of the evaluable tests.

In case of requesting anwers for exams or presentations of activities, papers, etc., everything must be original and the total or partial copy of materials already published in any medium is not allowed. In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, thestudent willbe given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Students who take part in the single assessment following the procedure established by the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts must complete the following activities/tests on the scheduled date:

  • Theoretical and practical test: 20%
  • Theoretical test: 30%
  • Practical evaluation activity: 50%

The same assessment method as continuous assessment will be used.

On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Practical evaluation activity 50% 1.5 0.06 1, 3, 6, 5, 10, 12, 4, 8, 2
Theoretical and practical test 20% 1.5 0.06 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 2
Theoretical test 30% 1.5 0.06 3, 6, 5, 11, 10, 12, 4, 2


The students will have to acquire the following book:

  • CLAVERIA, Gloria; Marta PRAT and Carlos SÁNCHEZ (1999), Curso de lengua española: diacronía. Bellaterra: UAB (Materials, 76). 2nd edition 2017. Avaiable in e-book.

The teacher will indicate recommended and mandatory readings for each content.


Reference works and manuals:

ARIZA, Manuel (1989), Manual de fonología histórica del español. Madrid: Síntesis.

ARIZA, Manuel (2012), Fonología y fonética histórica del español. Madrid: Arco/Libros. Disponible en e-book.

AZOFRA SIERRA, Mª Elena (2022), El español en su historia. Textos y contextos. Madrid: UNED.

CANO AGUILAR, Rafael (1988), El español a través de los tiempos. Madrid: Arco/Libros. 8ª edición de 2015. Disponible en e-book.

CANO AGUILAR, Rafael (coord.) (2004), Historia de la lengua española. Barcelona: Ariel.

ECHENIQUE, Mª Teresa y Mª José MARTÍNEZ (2011), Diacronía y gramática histórica de la lengua española. Valencia: Tirant Humanidades. Disponible en e-book.

ECHENIQUE, Mª Teresa y Juan SÁNCHEZ (2005), Las lenguas de un reino. Historia lingüística hispánica. Madrid: Gredos.

FERNÁNDEZ ALCAIDE, Marta (2023), Historia de la lengua española II. Español clásico. Madrid: Arco/Libros.

FRADEJAS RUEDA, José Manuel (1997), Fonología histórica del español. Madrid: Visor Libros.

LAPESA, Rafael (1981), Historia de la lengua española. Madrid: Gredos.

LLEAL, Coloma (1990), La formación de las lenguas romances peninsulares. Barcelona: Barcanova.

LLOYD, Paul M. (1987/1993), Del latín al español: I. Fonología y morfología históricas de la lengua española. Madrid: Gredos.

MEDINA LÓPEZ, Javier (1999), Historia de la lengua española I. Español medieval. Madrid: Arco/Libros.

MENÉNDEZ PIDAL, Ramón (1940), Manual de gramática histórica española. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe.

PENNY, Ralph (1991), Gramática histórica del español. Barcelona: Ariel. 2ª edición de 2006.

PENNY, Ralph (2015), “Historia del español: los sonidos”, en Gutiérrez Rexach, J. (ed.): Enciclopedia de Lingüística Hispánica. New York: Routledge, vol. II, pp. 547-563. Disponible en e-book en el catálogo de la UAB.

ROJO, Guillermo (2021), Introducción a la lingüística de corpus en español. New York: Routledge. Disponible en e-book en el catálogo de la UAB.

TORRENS ÁLVAREZ, M.ª Jesús (2018), “Evolución diacrónica de los sonidos del español”, en Ridruejo, E. (ed.): Manual de Lingüística Española. Berlin-Boston: De Gruyter, pp. 67-95. Disponible en e-book.

TORRENS ÁLVAREZ, M.ª Jesús (2018), Evolución e historia de la lengua española. 2ª ed. actualizada. Madrid: Arco/Libros.

TORRUELLA, Joan (2017), Lingüística de corpus. Génesis y bases metodológicas de los corpus (históricos) para la investigación científica. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Disponible en e-book.

YLLERA, Alicia (1983), “Lingüística histórica”, a ABAD, Francisco y Antonio GARCÍA BERRIO (coord.), Introducción a la lingüística. Madrid: Alhambra, pp. 345-388.



DAVIES, Mark: Banco de datos [on line]. Corpus del español. <http://www.corpusdelespanol.org>.

GAGO JOVER, Francisco y F. Javier PUEYO MENA (2020): Old Spanish Textual Archive (OSTA). <http://osta.oldspanishtextualarchive.org>.

REAL ACADEMIAESPAÑOLA: Banco de datos (CORDE) [on line]. Corpus diacrónicodel español. <http://corpus.rae.es/cordenet.html>.

REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA:Banco de datos (CREA) [on line]. Corpus de referencia del español actual. <http://corpus.rae.es/creanet.html>.

REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA: Banco de datos (CNDH) [on line]. Corpus del Nuevo Diccionario Histórico del Español. <http://web.frl.es/CNDHE>.

REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA: Banco de datos (CORPES XXI) [on line]. Corpus del Español del Siglo XXI. <http://web.frl.es/CORPES>.

TORRUELLA, Joan i KABATEK, Johannes (dirs.). Portal de Corpus Históricos Iberorrománicos (CORHIBER). <http://www.corhiber.org>.


In this course it is not necessary to use specific computer programs.