R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências da Linguagem

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos de Linguística Geral e Aplicada - CELGA [LIN-Centro-Coimbra-287] visitada em 14/11/2007

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This Unit’s research former research groups have recently been merged into a single group – “Portuguese language: Synchrony, diachrony and contact”. Although formally under one single heading, this group includes in fact different research activities, many of which are a clear continuation of earlier lines of research. From this perspective, the current reorganization appears to have been dictated by management rather than by scientific criteria, but the practical result is nevertheless good. Indeed, as far as areas of scientific research are concerned, the Unit’s new structure actually preserved the most successful research groups, apparently integrating them apparently for administration purposes. This reorganization is rather recent but it has already proven to be a fruitful strategy for the Unit, as it has lead to a more efficient and committed management of the Unit’s human and material resources, an increase of the critical mass of researchers and has also boosted the Unit’s visibility in terms of publications and communications. As a result, the Unit has now reached a very good level of scientific research in most of the areas that it is committed but the international diffusion of their research is still in its beginning.
The panel’s overall assessment of CELGA indicates that the Unit is engaged in national networking with CLUP,
CLUL and ILTEC and that its research focus is well articulated with and complementary to the research carried
out by these other Units, such as the research group for History of Portuguese Language. In addition, the panel would also like to highlight the Creole group, which is carrying out very relevant and good work. Concerning the group for Linguistics and Teaching, the panel’s assessment indicated that the group is essentially focused on practical questions. These are potentially interesting issues that could be pursued on more solid theoretical grounds.
The Unit’s recent reorganization effort and its dynamic and committed management are therefore likely to promote international visibility and thereby grant a significant improvement in future classifications.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Derivational Grammar of Portuguese [RG-X-LIN-Centro-Coimbra-287-1343]
The group is relatively small. Several items are listed under "Peer-reviewed journals", but they seem a bit questionable. There are two items in English.
The production of Ph.D. and Masters theses is quite good given the small size of the group.
This is a very small group, so the evaluation of the output should take account of that. There is at least one peer-reviewed publication in English, one PhD dissertation and a number of Masters theses.
As a whole, CELGA went through an important growth of their activities, going from 15 people (6 PhDs) in 2005 to present 34 people (16 out of them PhDs as well).
An intensive and extensive training of researchers has been reached if we look at the 16 MAs + 14 PhDs completions during the evaluation period.
Creole linguistics improved their activities in Coimbra U. Besides the natural goals of creole studies, this branch of CELGA offers an interesting way of better understanding the XV century Portuguese taken abroad and kept alive in this kind of linguistic manifestation.
Among other goals, the group intends to prepare a grammar of Portuguese for foreign students.
The Coordinator of this group, Dr Clarinda Maia, managed to put back Historical Linguistics in our agenda, acting in the eighties together with Rosa Virginia Mattos Silva and Mary Kato, both from Brazil. Needless to say that her leadership exceeds by large the CELGA boundaries.
Three PhDs collaborators, one from Galicia, work in this group. One of their research question, the 15th century Portuguese shows a major importance, since this language has been taken abroad by Portuguese navigators.
Holding such outstanding background this group is expected to launch a collective project, adding more people to their staff and recruiting researchers from all over Portugal to promote a comprehensive study on the late Medieval Portuguese.
It is not necessary to stress the importance of this enterprise for better understanding Brazilian and African Portuguese.
Since CELGA publishes one of the oldest specialized journals in Portugal, the REVISTA DE PORTUGUESA DE FILOLOGIA, a certain amount of books and reviews are received in an exchange basis. Support from FCT for the regular publication of this journal would be mostly welcomed.
The research group on "Linguistics and teaching" will not formally continue beyond 2006. As was described at the site visit, it will be merged with other research groups at CELGA, to result in a unit with a single research group. Within this single research group, there will however continue to be 4 "subareas", one of which will be "Linguistics and teaching" which, during the site visit, was described as having aims comparable to those of the original research group with the same name. The rationale behind this surface reorganization of the research groups did not become clear during the site visit. However, since "Linguistics and teaching" will continue as a "subarea", it will be treated here as a continuation of the original research group with the same name.
The research on "Linguistics and teaching" has broad objectives including theoretical and empirical approaches to teaching Portuguese. This covers first and second/foreign language learning also extends to training school teachers, with interest in psycho- and sociolinguistic implications for first and second language learning. The particular research questions being addressed are very interesting and have the potential to be of broad international relevance, if they were studied with an objective approach to the hypotheses/questions being studied. The potential relevance to an international audience would be dependant on this, and the extent to which it is considered in the context of other related research.
To date research from the "Linguistics and teaching" group has had 1 publication in an international journal, and 2 international conferences.
Research has also been published in national journals, many of which are in Coimbra, and presented at national conferences. The group has been very active in arranging national teacher training courses and seminars.
To the group’s tribute, despite being small, it has 2 new PhD researchers and has increased from 3 to 10 MA students.
Although issues of "Attitudes and work environment" were not directly addressed for the individual research group, the increased number of PhD and MA students suggests a positive environment.
Portuguese Texts of the Classical Period [RG-X-LIN-Centro-Coimbra-287-1344]
This group mainly consisted of one person's activities (Evelina Verdelho) since the other person in the group (Maria José de Moura Santos) was and is on sick-leave. Given these limitations it is surprising that Evelina Verdelho managed to edit a number of classical Portuguese texts and also published scientific articles about her work.
Unfortunately the editions are only in PDF format (and not in databases which would allow a much more flexible access).
The group ceases to exist because the main active person (Evelina Verdelho) is going into retirement.
The unit complained about a total lack of Secretarial Support.
My comments here are related only to the new research group "Creole linguistics".
Major research questions: the nature of the creolization process itself; the existence of creole prototype; the relevance of ethnic identity to social identity.
I must say I'm impressed by the work within this group. Dr John A. Holm is the coordinator, a well-known researcher within this research field. He has recruited PhD students and master students to work with creole languages on the Cape Verdean Islands, Angola and Guiné-Bissau, for example.
Strong international visibility, international publications not only by Holm but also by his PhD students Dominika Swolkien and Liliana Inverno. Many international activities: conferences, networking. Good outreach activities.
A culture of creativity is very significant for this group. The students had good opportunities to take their own initiatives. (And they took initiatives indeed.)
Excellent library resources, not at least due to Dr Holm’s private library, available for the research group. (Coimbra has also, in general terms, very good library resources.) Needs for secretarial support in the unit.

Comentários da unidade

CELGA expresses its satisfaction as the Evaluation Panel has highly regarded the following aspects of the Unit’s activity:
- the «relevance» and the «very good level» of CELGA’s scientific work;
-the «profit» brought about by CELGA’s recent internal reorganization effort «as it has lead to a more efficient and committed management of the Unit’s human and material resources»;
- increased productivity and visibility of research, fostered by the significant growth of the unit’s critical mass, in part due to the intense activity in the training of new researchers («An intensive and extensive training of researchers has been reached if we look at the 16 MAs + 14 PhDs completions during the evaluation period»);
- the prominence that was given to different research groups, underlining the «strong international visibility, international publications» of the Creole Studies group, socially relevant outreaching activities during the evaluation period of the Linguistics and Teaching group, and the fact that research done in CELGA has «put back Historical Linguistics in our agenda»;
- CELGA’s national and international networking with other research units, given that «its research focus is well articulated with and complementary to the research carried out by these other Units».

CELGA, while acknowledging the obvious relevance of English in the internationalization process of scientific research, considers that the role of Portuguese as a language of knowledge must not be neglected. As such, CELGA considers that the effective international and national impact of the research carried out in this Unit was not rigorously reflected by the criteria used for assessing its scientific credibility.