The Centro de Estudos em Letras / Center for Studies in Letters (CEL) is an R&D unit established in 2003, headquartered in Vila Real at UTAD (main management institution), with a second management institution at UÉvora, since 2007. CEL is focused on Language Sciences and, in an interdisciplinary and collaborative way, on similar scientific areas. Amongst R&D units in Portugal, CEL is unique due to its focus on the History of the Language Sciences (HoLS) and Missionary Linguistics (MissLing).

CEL researchers offer a comparative historiographical analysis, typology and synthesis of the grammaticographical, orthographical, lexicographical and literary production, especially focusing on the following four key topics:

  1. the Portuguese both as a Native (PNL) and as a Foreign Language (PFL);
  2. the beginnings of foreign language (FL) teaching in Portugal;
  3. the linguistic expressions of missionary activity in the colonized territories in the ‘new world’;
  4. the literary representation of the ‘Landscapes of the Self’.

CEL MissLing researchers study the vernacular dictionaries and grammars, mainly from Africa, America and Asia, by missionaries belonging to the Portuguese Patronage. From a linguistic point of view, the resulting corpus of source-texts is a plethora for the description of ill-documented languages.

CEL is a member of the Permanent International Committee of Linguists (CIPL), an international Association, registered in Leiden, the Netherlands, and an affiliated member of UNESCO’s International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (CIPSH), founded to assist in the development of linguistics throughout the world.

A Host of Tongues…: Multilingualism, Lingua Franca and Translation in the Early Modern Period, Nova-FCSH, Lisbon, 13-15 December 2018



“More information here



13th International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences (ICHoLS XIII), UTAD, Vila Real, 25–29 August 2014


ICHoLS official logo




R&D Unit (FCT no. UIDB/00707/2020 & UIDP/00707/2020) funded by

Captura de ecrã 2020 04 16 às 16.05.18