European and Middle Eastern Languages

Image of the Mosque in Cordoba

The ceiling of the sanctuary of the Cathedral within the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, Spain.

This course in European and Middle Eastern Languages (EMEL) enables students to combine papers in one of the languages taught in the Faculty of Modern Languages with papers in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian or Turkish, thus providing opportunities to take advantage of the cultural linkages which exist between a number of European and Middle Eastern languages. For example, appropriate combinations might well be French and Arabic, German and Turkish, or Hebrew and Russian, but even some of the less obvious pairings would provide similar cultural and historical linkage. Thus Spanish and Turkish would be an interesting combination for the history of Sephardi Judaism, while Persian and Portuguese are important for the study of early imperialism.

EMEL is a Joint Honour School combining the study of a European language and its literature with that of a Middle Eastern language and its literature. The two faculties involved are the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

The European languages available for this course are: French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Czech (with Slovak), and Celtic. One of these should be combined with one of the following Middle Eastern languages: Hebrew, Persian, Arabic, Turkish.

Since you will be studying the languages and literature of two markedly different cultures, you will probably be struck by the differences rather than the similarities between them. These differences will enable you to reflect on each of the cultures from the viewpoint of the other, placing each of them in a perspective that will help you define its specific characteristics. But you will also be encouraged to discover connections between the two cultures.

You will normally spend the second academic year at an approved course of study in the Middle East. You are strongly advised to spend the adjacent summers where the European language of your choice is spoken. There are arrangements in place with partner universities to help you make the most of your time abroad.

For further information please see the Course Handbook, available here as a pdf. The Course Handbook is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of the BA in European and Middle Eastern Languages: