Vision and Mission



"More than Communication!”

Language is at the heart of any human endeavour, and is also a unique human characteristic.  To understand language is thus also to understand being human. Likewise, acquiring foreign languages is the basis for achieving awareness of a shared humanity that crosses all cultural boundaries. Most crises in this world can be linked to failures of communication and a lack of mutual understanding. Furthermore, most crises are of a global nature so solving them necessitates multi-cultural cooperation initiatives. The study of foreign languages is therefore the key to opening minds and strengthening awareness of globalisation. As a result, mastering a foreign language is crucial to achieving international success, irrespective of any individual’s chosen profession. This also explains why, historically, the study of language formed the foundation of academia in the classical trivium.




“We do not build bridges; we empower people to cross them.”

The Department of Modern European Languages at the University of Pretoria offers linguistic skills in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese while informing students about the cultures in which these languages are rooted in order to promote intercultural understanding and social transformation as well as to contribute to the alleviation of humanitarian crises.



The Department of Modern European Languages offers the opportunity to learn to communicate effectively in a foreign language. This is the key to better understanding other peoples and their cultures. We do this in the knowledge that acquiring a foreign language exponentially increases career opportunities, both locally and internationally.

Furthermore studies in our department open doors by exploring all of the following focus areas:

  • foreign language teaching and learning methodology for French, German and Spanish;
  • the links between literature, identity and self-representation;
  • African-European intercultural relations and extended global dynamics; and
  • translation and interpreting.

 We strive to expand cutting edge research in the above mentioned focus areas, all of which are linked to South Africa’s Fourth Grand Challenge of understanding “human and social dynamics”.

Cultural diversity within the Department creates an exciting environment in which inspiration, support and a taste for intercultural interaction are defining characteristics. For all these reasons, we contribute to developing the spirit of diversity both on campus and beyond.



Published by Luis Lancho Perea

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