It is possible to study more that 65 languages the University of Michigan. The majority are unavailable at most other institutions: thus they have come to be called the "less commonly taught languages." This dazzling array of offerings is one of the intellectual treasures of the University, and the core of Michigan's longstanding reputation as a leader in area studies. The range of offerings available can be explored by viewing the links after each brief description below. Intensive courses for several of these languages are offered by the Summer Language Institute. Study of these languages provides the most intimate access to the many cultures of the world, and is an ideal way to accomplish the most important goal of the language requirement: learning to see the world with new eyes. Why not take advantage of this extraordinary resource by studying one of the following languages?


Akan/Twi

Twi is a dialect of Akan, the principle language of Ghana. About 9 million people speak Twi, most of whom live in the Ashanti Region. Twi is also spoken in Côte d'Ivoire. The Ashanti people take great pride in their language, since it reflects not only their culture but also the history of their great nation.

The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/daas

 


Arabic

The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers an impressive range of Arabic courses at all levels including Arabic for Academic, Communication, Business, and Islamic purposes.

Arabic Language Flagship Program [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/arabicflagship ]

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

 


Armenian

Classical Armenian is taught for research purposes. Classical Armenian must be acquired in order to read Middle or Cilician Armenian texts. In classes in Modern Eastern Armenian (the state language of the Republic of Armenia) and Modern Western Armenian (the language spoken in the Diaspora where, however, Eastern Armenian is also spoken by a very large number of immigrants from Armenia) reading, writing, speaking and listening are emphasized along with exposure to certain aspects of Armenian culture, old and new.

Armenian Studies Program: [ www.ii.umich.edu/asp/ ]

Armenian Studies at U‑M [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/armenianstudies ]

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

 


Bambara/Bamana

Bambara, also known as Bamanankan, is part of the Manding language family. Bambara is one of the most widely spoken languages in West Africa and is used by more than 26 million people, primarily in Mali, but also in Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea-Conakry, Mauritania, Northern Côte d'Ivoire, and Senegal. Bambara is the lingua franca of many parts of West Africa and is used in some Malian schools, radio, and government offices.

The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/daas ]

 


Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian

Students are able to learn the different languages of the former Yugoslavia. In addition to learning both the Latin and Cyrillic writing systems, students are able to actively engage in cultural experiences and make more meaningful connections to the languages of this region.

Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian Language Program: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/undergraduate/languageinstruction ]

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/ ]

Southeast European Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/southeasteuropeanstudies ]

 


Central Asian Languages

Offered jointly by the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, instruction will be delivered via CIC by using distance learning from Indiana University. Students are provided with a basic knowledge of Central Asian languages — such as Uzbek, Kazakh, Uyghur, Pashto, or Tajik — as they are spoken and written today, along with exposure to the associated culture of Central Asia.

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

Central Asian Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/ centralasianstudies ]

 


Czech

Learning this less-commonly taught language has many rewards. If you like humor, wit and irony, you will delight in reading Milan Kundera or Václav Havel; or if you find New Wave films intriguing, you will find those produced in the Czech Republic enlightening. There are many exciting opportunities available for speakers of Czech!

Czech and Slovak Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms /czechslovakstudies ]

Czech Language Program: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/undergraduate/languageinstruction ]

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/  ]

 


Dutch

Close to German, Dutch is much easier and the language closest to English. Over twenty million speak it worldwide, from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname to the Caribbean.

Dutch and Flemish Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/german/languageprograms/dutchstudies ]

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/german/ ]

 


Filipino

Filipino is the language of more than 90% of Filipinos all over the world; the cultural thread that keeps them in touch with their roots and with each other. Filipino is based primarily on Tagalog, one of the major ethnic languages, and is characterized by an openness to borrowings from other Philippine ethnic and foreign languages such as Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and English. The Roman alphabet is used in writing Filipino.

Why Study Filipino? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southeastasianprograms ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

Southeast Asian Language Instruction [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/languageprograms

Southeast Asia Summer FLAS [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/fellowshipsgrants ]

 


Hebrew (Classical and Modern)

Modern Hebrew

The study of Hebrew at the University of Michigan began in 1890. Today, the Hebrew program at the University of Michigan is one of the largest and strongest programs in the country.

People study Hebrew for different reasons. For some, it is the desire to be able to read the Hebrew Bible in the original language; for others, who are interested in Israel and wish to understand its people, culture and politics, Hebrew is necessary. Some people wish to use Hebrew as a means of communication. For others, the goal is the ability to read Hebrew literature, scholarship, newspapers or electronic media. No matter what your goal is, we offer a variety of courses and learning opportunities. The modern Hebrew program (Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies) educates students in modern Hebrew language and literature. Sections exist for heritage learners as well as beginners.

 

Classical Hebrew

In the Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies program, instruction is given in Classical Hebrew as well as the literature, history, and culture of Ancient Israel and its neighbors. Developing competence in Classical Hebrew facilitates access to the ancient texts of Early Israel and ancient Judaism, that is, to the manuscript evidence that constitutes what we identify today as the Hebrew Bible and the so-called Jewish Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and thereby to various aspects of the corresponding social worlds of ancient Israel and Second Temple Judaism. Not only that, but owing to its close linguistic affinities to such contemporary languages as ancient Aramaic and Phoenician, it also enhances the accelerated learning of those languages and access to the corresponding ancient writings and social worlds of the Arameans and Phoenicians.

If you would like to know more about the program or to get advice in choosing a course, please explore www.umich.edu/~hjcs/ or contact Professor Shachar Pinsker. If you would like to know more about the program or to get advice in choosing a course, please contact Professor Brian Schmidt

Why Study Hebrew? [ www.umich.edu/~hjcs/ ] Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies: [ www.umich.edu/~hjcs/ ]

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/

 

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/

Hindi

Hindi is an official language of India. In Hindi courses, focus is on theme based learning and developing skills in speaking, comprehending, reading, and writing the Devanagari (Hindi) script. In grammar and basic vocabulary, Urdu is very close to Hindi, but it is written in the Perso-Arabic script. Together, Hindi and Urdu are spoken by over 400 million people, making Hindi-Urdu the language with the fourth largest number of speakers in the world.

South Asian Language Study at U-M: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southasianprograms ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

 


Indonesian

Indonesian is the national language of Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world and a country that is noted for the depth and diversity of its cultural traditions. With its 210 million speakers, Indonesian is the sixth most prevalently spoken of world languages. The syntactic and grammatical structures that characterize Indonesian make it an attractive and accessible Asian language for native speakers of English.

Why Study Indonesian? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southeastasianprograms ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

Southeast Asian Language Instruction [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/languageprograms

Southeast Asia Summer FLAS [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/fellowshipsgrants ]

 


Kazak

Elementary Kazak is offered at the University of Michigan via video­conferencing with Indiana University, one of the nation’s leading centers for Central Asian studies. This is an opportunity to begin study of this important language of Central Asia, a region with a rich history that is expected to have considerable strategic importance in the coming years.

Why Kazak? [ www.indiana.edu/~ceus/_undergraduates/kazakh.shtml ]

Central Asian Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/ centralasianstudies ]

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

 


Modern Greek

Greek is spoken in a beautiful country blessed with mythical landscapes, vibrant modern cities, and monuments from the classical, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern eras. Greek is useful in Greece, Cyprus, and the European Union, and even the U.S. as the language not just of Greeks, but also of philosophy, architecture, mathematics, biology, physics, and medicine: challenging fields of study that rely on Greek vocabulary and concepts.

Why Study Modern Greek? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/modgreek/students/prospectivestudents ]

Modern Greek Program: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/modgreek/ ]

The Department of Classical Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/classics ]

 


Ojibwe

This course serves as an introduction to the study of Ojibwe language and culture. The primary goal of this class is for each student to increase his or her knowledge about the Anishinaabe language and culture. This includes students who have no previous knowledge of the tribe as well as tribal members interested in learning more about their culture and language. Because Ojibwe is an endangered language, it is of utmost importance that we make sure the language is learned and used.

To find out more, visit:

Native American Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/native/ ]

The Department of  American Culture: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/ac/ ]

 


Persian

The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers Persian language courses on all levels. They are part of a well developed program on Persian and Iranian language, literature, and culture designed to develop linguistic, literary, and methodological skills for scholarly research.

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

 


Polish

Whether you’re in Warsaw, N.Y. or London you’ll find someone who speaks Polish! Become part of the tradition of Copernicus, Chopin and Lech Wałęsa and learn to speak the language of one of the largest countries in Europe.

Polish Language Program: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/undergraduate/languageinstruction ]

Polish Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/polishstudies ]

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/ ]

 


Portuguese

With over 250 million speakers, Portuguese is the seventh most widely spoken language in the world. It’s also one of the half dozen most understood languages on Earth. It is the language of Brazil and Portugal, as well as the official language of Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Macao, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor. 

Why Study Portuguese? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/rll/undergraduate/majorsandminors/portuguese ]

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/rll/ ]

 


Punjabi

Punjabi is spoken by over hundred million people in South Asia and other British Commonwealth countries. It is the language of the sacred scriptures of the Sikhs, the official language of the state of Punjab in India, and a language of mysticism and regional literature among Punjabi speakers in Pakistan and India. The learning of Punjabi is important for an understanding of the religions, cultures and literature of South Asia. Beginning and second year Punjabi is offered every year and the focus is on theme based learning.

South Asian Language Study at U-M: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southasianprograms ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

 


Quechua

Quechua, the language of the Inkas, is spoken today by millions of people in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. It has a written literature that goes back to the sixteenth century. Quechua is offered as a regular course during the academic year at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and as an intensive summer course in Cuzco, Peru.

Quechua Program: [ www.ii.umich.edu/lacs/academics/quechualanguageprogram ]

Undergraduate FLAS Fellowships [ www.ii.umich.edu/lacs/academics/fellowshipsgrants /foreignlanguageareastudies/undergradateflasfellowships_ci ]

The Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies: [ www.ii.umich.edu/lacs/ ]

 


Russian

Russian is a beautiful language spoken by more than 150 million people who produce some of the best literature, music, theater, and athletes. You’ll experience the exhilarating satisfaction of mastering a less commonly learned language, something that truly makes you unique.

Russian Program: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/undergraduate/languageinstruction ]

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/ ]

Russian Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/ russianstudies ]

 


Sanskrit

Sanskrit —Vedic and Classical — dates to about 1500 BCE, and was the language of high culture and learning in India until the coming of the British. Many of the classical texts of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism were composed in Sanskrit. Beginning and Second-Year Sanskrit are offered in alternate years, and need based independent study is also offered.

South Asian Language Study at U-M: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southasianprograms ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

 


Swahili

Over 50 million people in Africa speak Swahili. It is widely used in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. A little over one million people speak it as their first language. Most others speak Swahili fluently as a second, third or fourth language. Prepare yourself for a career in government or work with an international Non Governmental Organization (NGO).

The Center for Afroamerican and African Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/daas ]

 


Swedish

Swedish is easy to learn, with simple grammar and many cognates. Our courses are small and taught by native Swedish, experienced language teachers. You will soon be able to communicate and write in the language. Sweden opens the world of Norse mythology, Ingmar Bergman and Pippi Longstocking. Volvo, IKEA,  H&M and Spotify are just a few examples of companies from this innovative and progressive region. Second year students have the opportunity to go to Sweden for a spring break study trip and the university offers exchanges with Uppsala and Stockholm University. Danish and Norwegian are very similar, so you get three languages for the price of one!

Scandinavian Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/german/languageprograms/scandinavianstudies ]

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/german/ ]

 


Thai

Studying Thai provides the opportunity for students to master a beautiful language and learn about the culture of 70 million people. Students learn the unique and artistic alphabetical systems from the first day of class and are able to read, speak, and write about everyday things in less than one semester.

Why Study Thai? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southeastasianprograms]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

Southeast Asian Language Instruction [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/languageprograms

Southeast Asia Summer FLAS [ http://www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/fellowshipsgrants ]

 


Tibetan

Tibetan is the language of eight million Tibetan people, living at 10,000 feet on the Tibetan plateau, north of the Himalayan range. It is also the language of Tibetan Buddhism, which spreads from the Caspian Sea in the west to Mount Wu Tai in China in the east, from Mongolia in the north to Bhutan in the south. The Tibetan language is a vast repository of Buddhist thought and practice.

Why Study Tibetan? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southasianprograms]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

 


Turkish

Turkish is perhaps one of the easiest languages in the Middle East to learn. This is partly because of its use of the Latin alphabet and partly because of its phonetic nature. It is the language of the culture that inherited the Ottoman Empire which survived over 600 years. Turkish, as an Altaic language, can easily open the path for other similar Altaic languages, some being specified as Turkic, spoken in some of the former Soviet States, today’s republics of Central Asia. The Turkish language can facilitate the outreach not only of the literature and history of the Ottomans but also the discovery of an actual big market of business partly due to its growing industry.

Turkish Studies at U‑M: [ www.umich.edu/~turkish/ ]

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

 


Ukrainian

Learn Ukrainian! One of the most musical languages in the world! The language of the second-largest country in Europe! Discover a 1,000-year-old culture. You will enjoy the beauty of the Ukrainian language as much as you’ll enjoy the sparkling colors on Ukrainian embroidery and Easter eggs.

Ukrainian Language Program: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/undergraduate/languageinstruction ]

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/slavic/ ]

 


Urdu

Urdu is an official language of Pakistan and one of the languages of India. In grammar and basic vocabulary, it is very close to Hindi, but it is written in the Arabic script. Together, Hindi and Urdu are spoken by over 400 million people, making Hindi- Urdu the language with the fifth largest number of speakers in the world. Learning the Arabic script helps one to learn Persian and Arabic and offers access to the wonders of Urdu literature.

South Asian Language Study at U-M: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southasianprograms]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

 


Uzbek

Elementary Uzbek will be offered at the University of Michigan via videoconferencing with Indiana University, one of the nation’s leading centers for Central Asian studies. This innovative distance learning course affords U-M students the opportunity to begin study of this important language of Central Asia, a region with a rich history that is expected to have considerable strategic importance in the coming years.

Why Uzbek? [ www.indiana.edu/~ceus/_undergraduates/uzbek.shtml ]

Central Asian Studies at U‑M: [ www.ii.umich.edu/crees/aboutus/regionalprograms/ centralasianstudies ]

The Department of Near Eastern Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/neareast/ ]

 


Vietnamese

Vietnamese is the language of modern Vietnam, a country of about 80 million speakers. With the lifting of the trade embargo and normalization of U.S.-Vietnamese relations, Vietnam is open to the free world market and offering good job opportunities to those who have a knowledge of its language and culture. Elementary Vietnamese provides a basic introduction to Vietnamese pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, with the emphasis placed on developing conversational skills on practical situations encountered in a Vietnamese environment. At the end of the first year, the students should be able to handle simple conversations in everyday topics and to read and write simple Vietnamese.

Why Study Vietnamese? [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/languageprograms/ southeastasianprograms ]

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/asian/ ]

Southeast Asian Language Instruction [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/languageprograms

Southeast Asia Summer FLAS [ www.ii.umich.edu/cseas/academics/fellowshipsgrants ]

 


Wolof

Wolof is spoken by over 3 million people in Senegal and by millions of people in the Gambia and Mauritania. It is the lingua franca in Senegal and belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Besides the Wolof people, the Wolof language is spoken by the Fulani, Serer, Toucouleur, Diola, and Mandingo people as a second language. There are opportunities for studying abroad.

The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/daas ]

 


Yiddish

Who speaks Yiddish? Who reads it? The language of the Jewish people for over a thousand years, Yiddish possesses a lively literature that flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries. Jews living in Eastern Europe brought Yiddish culture — music, drama, newspapers, film, poetry and prose — wherever they emigrated: to the United States, Argentina, South Africa, and Israel. Yiddish is a key to unlock the world of Jewish immigrants and to understand the dynamic society of East European Jews before the Holocaust. While never a sacred language like Hebrew, Yiddish is now the vernacular of Hasidic Jews in Israel and the United States.

Yiddish Program (German Language and Literatures): [ www.lsa.umich.edu/german/languageprograms/yiddishstudies ]

Yiddish Program (Judaic Studies): [ www.lsa.umich.edu/judaic/yiddish ]

Frankel Center for Judaic Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/judaic/ ]

 


Zulu/IsiZulu

IsiZulu, or Zulu, is spoken by about 10 million people in many parts of Africa. It is a Nguni language, related to IsiXhosa, IsiNdebele, and IsiSwati. A major language of South Africa, it is also the lingua franca of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho.

The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies: [ www.lsa.umich.edu/daas ]

 


 

 


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