Department of Germanic Studies

Language Requirement FAQ

UT Tower

Can I really fulfill my language requirement in one year with Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, or Yiddish (and even German)?

Yes, you can: students can fulfill their language requirement in one year (2 semesters), not two years (4 semesters) as before, by signing up for Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, or Yiddish (in the Fall) and 612 (in the Spring). This sequence is equivalent to the 506, 507, 312K, and 312L sequence in other languages and fulfills the language requirement.

Why the difference?

For a variety of reasons it makes sense to offer an accelerated way of learning these "smaller" Germanic languages. For one thing, their structure is relatively simple and their vocabulary contains many words you can recognize on the basis of English. The grammar of these languages is therefore relatively easy to learn, and it is not difficult to acquire a passive knowledge (a "reading" knowledge) of these languages relatively early in the course of study.

Experiencing a Foreign Culture

By stressing reading and comprehension, it is possible to take student who learn a foreign language primarily to experience a foreign culture faster and deeper into that culture (its art, its movies, its literature, its history) than in the case of more complicated languages. Moreover, all the countries where these languages are spoken offer study abroad possibilities. The instructors of the respective languages will be happy to inform you of those, in conjunction with the International Office.

Picking Up an Additional Germanic Language

If you know German already, whether you are a Graduate Student or not, learning any of the "smaller" Germanic languages is even easier, and there appears to be no reason to hold you back artificially. You can make your way into the literature and the culture of the language of your choice at your own pace. Picking up a second Germanic language in this way is also sure to increase your chances of finding employment, whether you go into academic teaching, into business, or into translation. New EEC regulations specify that companies need to submit all documentation about their products in the language of the country in which they are marketing it. Since not too many prospective translators are familiar with the "smaller" Germanic languages on that level, demand is likely to outstrip supply for some time.

Acquiring Another Research Tool

If you are a graduate student who needs one of these language for research, or an undergraduate looking to expand your career horizons, you will be glad to know you will be able to acquire a reading knowledge of the language of your choice in one year, with a good speaking knowledge thrown into the bargain.

What if "I'm Bad at Languages"?

The number of staff members teaching the "smaller" Germanic languages is limited. You will therefore work with the same instructor all the way through, which makes interaction easier and more productive, and learning more fun. If you do not learn a foreign language easily you are therefore also assured of individual attention and tuition to a greater extent than if you were to learn other languages.

Additional Advantages

As stated above, study abroad in Denmark, The Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), Norway, Sweden, and Israel is a distinct possibility and credits obtained in those countries can be counted toward your UT degree.

Why you can't lose

If your high school (or other) experience with language learning has been either nonexistent or unsatisfactory, if you want to discover that language learning can be fun, if you want to be exposed to a foreign culture in a meaningful way, if you need to acquire knowledge of another language for professional reasons, consider signing up for one of the languages listed here.

What do I sign up for?

Look for the unique numbers for the following courses in the course schedule to sign up for one of these languages:

Danish: DAN 604/DAN 612

Dutch: DCH 604/DCH 612

Norwegian: NOR 604/NOR 612

Swedish: SWE 604/SWE 612

Yiddish: YID 604/612

What if I like it?

Most of these languages offer courses beyond the language requirement. Check with the Department for information on upper-division courses, culture courses (usually taught in English), or conference courses. And if you really like it, you can even consider a major or minor in one of these languages.

What about Graduate Studies?

For information regarding MA or PhD degrees, contact the department and request a departmental graduate brochure. The Department offers graduate courses in most of these and other "smaller Germanic languages" like Old Norse and others.