SEMINAR COURSE 5 | Pluricentric Languages and the Pluricentricity of Portuguese: Lexical, constructional, attitudinal and political dimensions

Augusto Soares da Silva, Universidade Católica Portuguesa  

This course will address theoretical, methodological and descriptive issues raised by linguistic pluricentricity, as a special and widespread case of intralinguistic variation marked by questions of national identity and power. Particular attention is paid to sociocognitive theoretical models, specially from Cognitive Linguistics, that may adequately describe both the interplay between conceptual and social factors in pluricentric scenarios, and the representation of pluricentric variation in the language users’ minds. The course also focuses on advanced empirical methods capable of accounting for the multivariate dimensions intervening in pluricentric variation. With a specific focus on the pluricentricity of Portuguese, the course provides an overview of ongoing sociocognitive and lectometric research on the evolutionary relation between four national varieties, confirming on the one hand the hypothesis of diachronic divergence between European and Brazilian Portuguese at the lexical, constructional and attitudinal levels, as well as the standardization and increasing distance of African varieties with respect to the European standard on the other, thus pointing to the increasing pluricentricity of Portuguese. Ideologies and practical problems of standardization will also be addressed, in particular the dilemma between the need for a truly pluricentric codification of several national standards and the rationalist desire for a pan-linguistic codification of a supranational educated norm.