University of Exeter students study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, all of which can be started with no prior knowledge of the language.
Statement of support from the University of Exeter on the importance of languages
The University of Exeter is delighted to endorse and support the international call to action recently released by the British Academy and partners under the title The Importance of Languages in Global Context.
The document, jointly published by the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Royal Society of Canada, pinpoints the crucial significance of language proficiency and language learning in today’s global world.
In the UK there is a tendency to neglect these skills as a result of the widespread currency of the English language. But at Exeter we understand the benefits—interpersonal, intellectual, economic, financial, diplomatic—of learning and achieving proficiency in languages other than English. As the call to action puts it: ‘Language skills foster literacy, educational attainment, and a confident mindset that views cultural difference with curiosity rather than prejudice.’
Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, said: “At Exeter we cherish our international partnerships and appreciate that learning the languages of those with whom we collaborate in education, research, innovation and knowledge exchange strengthens those relationships, opens doors and establishes common ground.”
University of Exeter students study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, all of which can be started with no prior knowledge of the language. The University of Exeter’s Foreign Language Centre evening programmes offers tuition in these languages, as well as Korean, Japanese and British Sign Language. Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Kurdish are also taught at the University of Exeter.
Professor Adam Watt, Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, said: “The Importance of Languages in Global Context’ statement is a timely reminder of what we have known for a long time in the University. Learning languages is about more than verbs and vocab. It is about culture and society, history and international relations; it’s about appreciating and understanding difference, embracing otherness and expanding horizons. Learning languages lets you learn about yourself and engage more fully in the life of the global world we all inhabit”.
Professor Gareth Stansfield, Director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, said: “We are proud in Exeter to teach the languages of the Middle East, taking beginners in these languages through to being capable linguists. Learning the languages of the region is also about learning about the peoples and cultures of Middle Eastern countries. It is critically vital to have students graduating from UK universities with these skills and knowledge.”
Date: 11 January 2021