Introduction to Legal Portuguese

The main objectives of the Introduction to Legal Portuguese course are to promote its approximation to the specificities of technical language in the areas of law, public administration and Portuguese institutions, as well as to problematise issues associated with juslinguistic textual production.


The course Introduction to Legal Portuguese will have as essential objectives to promote an approximation to the specificities of technical language in the areas of Law, Public Administration and Portuguese Institutions, as well as to problematise issues associated with the textual production of juslinguistics.

To achieve these goals, we propose a structural-functionalist methodology that can only be focused on a lexical and lexico-semantic intervention, having as a paradigm the Portuguese institutional environment. However, the teacher may, where possible and given the differences in terminology in the various legal systems, use English and French to present equivalents of terms, practices and legal institutions in order to facilitate the process of discovering lexical equivalents in the trainees’ source languages.

Organization and Methodology

The course Introduction to Legal Portuguese is understood as laboratory training, in a distance training regime (online), according to a structural-functionalist methodological perspective that cannot but be focused on a lexical and lexico-semantic intervention, having as a paradigm of the Portuguese institutional environment.

The course is based on weekly modules (one block per week), each block with a small theoretical part to which exercises are added.

Most of the time, it will therefore become essential to confront the trainees with matrix/inducing questions and texts, complemented with examples and exercises.

The Modules that will frame the course Introduction to Legal Portuguese are as follows:

Session 1

  • Introduction
  • Problematic areas of legal language
  • The state of the art and work in progress

Session 2

  • The Brocardo, the Law and the History
  • Semantic, pragmatic and specific vocabulary issues
  • Unambiguous, analogous and misunderstanding terms
  • Exploitation of practical cases

Session 3

  • Syntax-semantic issues
  • Exploitation of practical cases
  • Other critical issues (e.g.: concordances, numerals, metric and articulated expressions)
  • Analysis of practical cases

Session 4

  • Morphological and stylistic notes
  • The behaviour of the determinant/article
  • The behavior of the name
  • Analysis of practical cases
  • The punctuation in the legal discourse
  • Implementation exercises

Session 5

  • Textual production workshop/Submission of questions by trainees
  • Interactive work (on trainees’ proposals)
  • Documentary simulations

Session 6

  • Interpretation of the legal text
  • Elements and results of legal interpretation
  • Translinguistic view of legal interpretation
  • Legal texts: a typology (according to Wróblewski)
  • Legal language
    • Scientific legal language
    • Case-law
    • Common legal language

Session 7

  • Continuation of the theme of the previous session
  • Presentation and analysis of practical cases/authentic documents

Session 8

  • Critical, editorial and commentary texts
  • Subordination and coordination: two expressive worlds
  • Exercises that aim at the separation between the main and the accessory (dramatisations, replacement of situations of the lived, representations and rescripts)

Session 9

  • Legal forms
  • Fixed structures, multiword lexemas, formal resources
  • Recapitulative interaction

Session 10

  • Final issues and formative evaluation
  • Methodology:
    • Portfolio (80%)
    • Summative assessment test (20%)
  • Exercises of application of the various materials internalised throughout the course


The course has a duration of 10 weeks.

Tuition fee

EUR 250.


Assessment will have a continuous character, counting the papers delivered throughout the 10 sessions that make up the course to measure the final classification of the student. The work of session 10 will consist of an overall final test.


Participants who successfully attend this course will receive a certificate.