German is one of the oldest subjects at the University of Pretoria; it was taught since its inception in 1908 to 32 students by Prof A.C. Paterson who also taught Latin and Hebrew.
As from 1910, Prof. T.H. le Roux was appointed to lecture Dutch, French and German.
In 1993 the German and French Departments amalgamated to form the Department of Modern European Languages.
As from 2008 Spanish was newly implemented as a module offered on first-year level. Since 2010 Spanish has grown to a fully fledged major with postgraduate programmes offerred.
More recently, an agreement between the University of Pretoria and the Portuguese institute Camões - Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, IP, was signed in 2013, and since 2014 the Department teaches the Portuguese language to undergraduate students. In the same year, a new agreement was made with the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil, appointing a new lecturer. The Portuguese Section has contributed to the multicultural education of our students.
The Department as a whole sees its calling and future increasingly in development and research in the field of comparative studies of language, literature and culture and foreign language teaching, providing a framework in which international cultural and co-operative thinking can flourish and foster a better understanding of what the "other" really is.