European and Middle Eastern Languages (EML)

Why Pembroke?

In this course, you’ll study one European Modern Language and one Middle Eastern Language: ideal for linguists who want an opportunity to study new languages and literatures. At Pembroke we have a very strong focus on joint honours degrees, and our tutors of different linguistic backgrounds work closely together to ensure you receive the academic guidance and support you need throughout your degree.

Pembroke is one of the larger language colleges in terms of tutors and students, offering an unusually wide variety of languages. We have fellows in Arabic, plus Fellows in French and Italian, and lecturers in German, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Modern Greek. We also have Fellows in Japanese and Chinese. Our key tutors in European Languages are Dr Tim Farrant, Tutorial Fellow in French and Professor Guido Bonsaver, Tutorial Fellow in Italian. In Middle Eastern Languages, our Tutorial Fellows are Professor Christopher Melchert and Professor Nicolai Sinai, who are both tutors in Arabic and are also responsible also for Persian, Turkish and Hebrew.

A language degree from Pembroke teaches far more than ‘just’ communication.  It brings with it the skills taught by other humanities degrees, along with the extra value-added of in-depth knowledge of two or more languages and their literatures, peoples and cultures. Languages graduates are amongst the most employable, along with those in other sought-after subjects like Medicine and Law.

The year abroad

Students on this course will usually spend their second year in the Middle East. For most students it will be strongly advisable to spend the bulk of this year following an approved formal course of language instruction in a Middle Eastern country appropriate to their language of study. Vacations can be spent improving your European language, within Europe or further afield.

The Pembroke tutors can give advice on planning this year away, and there are some particular exchange programmes available here. Our students spend this time in a wide variety of settings and clearly benefit great from these experiences, returning to their final year in College more confident in their area of study.

What extra activities do we offer?

Modern Languages has a number of dedicated subject reps who organise events throughout the year, giving you plenty of opportunity to meet and socialise with students across multiple linguistic disciplines. These subject reps also act as an academic and pastoral interface for students, within both European and Middle Eastern Languages.

Could you become a European and Middle Eastern Languages student at Pembroke?

Students must have a keen interest in and motivation for discovering other languages, literatures and cultures. Prior knowledge of your chosen European language is essential, but we anticipate that students will not have prior knowledge of their chosen Middle Eastern languages. A natural flair for languages is also essential.

If you are considering this course, please attend an open day [link] where you can meet our tutors and students and find out more.  This is the best way to get a feel for whether you should make an application.  We look forward to meeting you!

Looking for single honours courses?

If you're looking to take this course as a single honours degree, this course can be taken as Modern Languages or Arabic and Middle Eastern Languages

Interested in other joint honours courses?

We also offer these disciplines as part of other joint honours courses, such as English and Modern Languages, History and Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics and Religion and Oriental Studies.

“When I first came to Pembroke, I had no idea of the opportunities and challenges that I would encounter during my time here. One of the most exciting things about studying European and Middle Eastern languages at Oxford is the freedom to explore a range of disciplines. The paper I enjoyed writing most was my bridge essay, in which I chose to discuss migrant narratives in German and Arabic, because it allowed me to bring together ideas from all areas of my course in new and exciting ways.

Study abroad has been a very important part of my university experience. I was fortunate enough to spend an academic year developing my Arabic skills in Amman, attend a German summer school at Bamberg university, and take part in the Arabic Language Scheme hosted by the Anglo-Omani society in Manah. With a scholarship from Pembroke I was even able to travel to Tsinghua University to learn about urban development in China.”

Amelia Powell (2015, European and Middle Eastern Languages)

Achieved First Class Honours, with special prizes for German and Modern Arabic Literature

I applied to Oxford with deferred entry, so it took me a while to get back into the routine of studying after a year without structure. However, the teaching style and the atmosphere of being surrounded by world-class academics and others who care deeply about their research is one of the most motivating factors possible, and one of the best things about Oxford in general.

The terms are so short and there is so much to do that time really does fly, and you are often left with a feeling of wanting to do more – to find out more about your subject, to explore the city more, to meet more people. Each term makes me realise how much more I want to do, and keeps me motivated to come back for the next one.

Iona Neill (2020, German & Arabic)

European and Middle Eastern Languages (EML)

Why Pembroke?

In this course, you’ll study one European Modern Language and one Middle Eastern Language: ideal for linguists who want an opportunity to study new languages and literatures. At Pembroke we have a very strong focus on joint honours degrees, and our tutors of different linguistic backgrounds work closely together to ensure you receive the academic guidance and support you need throughout your degree.

Pembroke is one of the larger language colleges in terms of tutors and students, offering an unusually wide variety of languages. We have fellows in Arabic, plus Fellows in French and Italian, and lecturers in German, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Modern Greek. We also have Fellows in Japanese and Chinese. Our key tutors in European Languages are Dr Tim Farrant, Tutorial Fellow in French and Professor Guido Bonsaver, Tutorial Fellow in Italian. In Middle Eastern Languages, our Tutorial Fellows are Professor Christopher Melchert and Professor Nicolai Sinai, who are both tutors in Arabic and are also responsible also for Persian, Turkish and Hebrew.

A language degree from Pembroke teaches far more than ‘just’ communication.  It brings with it the skills taught by other humanities degrees, along with the extra value-added of in-depth knowledge of two or more languages and their literatures, peoples and cultures. Languages graduates are amongst the most employable, along with those in other sought-after subjects like Medicine and Law.

The year abroad

Students on this course will usually spend their second year in the Middle East. For most students it will be strongly advisable to spend the bulk of this year following an approved formal course of language instruction in a Middle Eastern country appropriate to their language of study. Vacations can be spent improving your European language, within Europe or further afield.

The Pembroke tutors can give advice on planning this year away, and there are some particular exchange programmes available here. Our students spend this time in a wide variety of settings and clearly benefit great from these experiences, returning to their final year in College more confident in their area of study.

What extra activities do we offer?

Modern Languages has a number of dedicated subject reps who organise events throughout the year, giving you plenty of opportunity to meet and socialise with students across multiple linguistic disciplines. These subject reps also act as an academic and pastoral interface for students, within both European and Middle Eastern Languages.

Could you become a European and Middle Eastern Languages student at Pembroke?

Students must have a keen interest in and motivation for discovering other languages, literatures and cultures. Prior knowledge of your chosen European language is essential, but we anticipate that students will not have prior knowledge of their chosen Middle Eastern languages. A natural flair for languages is also essential.

If you are considering this course, please attend an open day [link] where you can meet our tutors and students and find out more.  This is the best way to get a feel for whether you should make an application.  We look forward to meeting you!

Looking for single honours courses?

If you're looking to take this course as a single honours degree, this course can be taken as Modern Languages or Arabic and Middle Eastern Languages

Interested in other joint honours courses?

We also offer these disciplines as part of other joint honours courses, such as English and Modern Languages, History and Modern Languages, Modern Languages and Linguistics and Religion and Oriental Studies.

“When I first came to Pembroke, I had no idea of the opportunities and challenges that I would encounter during my time here. One of the most exciting things about studying European and Middle Eastern languages at Oxford is the freedom to explore a range of disciplines. The paper I enjoyed writing most was my bridge essay, in which I chose to discuss migrant narratives in German and Arabic, because it allowed me to bring together ideas from all areas of my course in new and exciting ways.

Study abroad has been a very important part of my university experience. I was fortunate enough to spend an academic year developing my Arabic skills in Amman, attend a German summer school at Bamberg university, and take part in the Arabic Language Scheme hosted by the Anglo-Omani society in Manah. With a scholarship from Pembroke I was even able to travel to Tsinghua University to learn about urban development in China.”

Amelia Powell (2015, European and Middle Eastern Languages)

Achieved First Class Honours, with special prizes for German and Modern Arabic Literature

I applied to Oxford with deferred entry, so it took me a while to get back into the routine of studying after a year without structure. However, the teaching style and the atmosphere of being surrounded by world-class academics and others who care deeply about their research is one of the most motivating factors possible, and one of the best things about Oxford in general.

The terms are so short and there is so much to do that time really does fly, and you are often left with a feeling of wanting to do more – to find out more about your subject, to explore the city more, to meet more people. Each term makes me realise how much more I want to do, and keeps me motivated to come back for the next one.

Iona Neill (2020, German & Arabic)