This combined honours degree enables you to study three languages, one of them from beginners’ level if you wish. Each language represents a third of your yearly credits.
Alongside your compulsory language modules, you will take core and optional modules related to your chosen languages. These often focus on topics such as history, literature or culture relating to the country or region you are interested in.
Depending on your beginners’ language choice, you may take fewer optional modules in the first two years, so that you can concentrate on intensive language acquisition.
You can choose three languages from post-A level: French, German, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish.
OR two post-A level (from the list above) and one beginners’ language: French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovene or Spanish.
N.B You cannot take more than one language from beginners’ level in the same year.
You will take language modules at the appropriate level throughout the course. Post-A level language instruction builds on your existing skills and develops your competence in reading, writing, speaking and listening. If you are a beginner, you will take an intensive course that is structured to take you from beginners’ or GCSE level to degree level in four years. You will take the same language modules as post-A level students in the final year of the course, and you thus graduate with the same language level. For more information about core language modules, see the pages for our single honours languages degrees.
Modules taken alongside your language work
Students on this degree course will typically take core modules in the first year of study and select from a range of optional modules in the second and final year of the course. Beginners normally follow a set programme in their beginners’ language in the first two years of the course. For more details of optional modules in your particular language combination, please see the pages for our single honours languages degrees.
Typical year one modules
Introduction to French and Francophone Studies
You will receive a firm grounding in the structures of French through the core language module. You will also follow a core module 'Introduction to French and Francophone Studies' which will prepare you for studying the range of topics and skills you will develop in your degree course. You will also choose optional modules in French literature and the history and politics of contemporary France.
Introduction to German Studies
This is the core module for first year students of German. We look at the history of German and introduce you to the linguistic study of the language, and at a range of themes and styles in German literature linked to key areas of German and Austrian culture, such as gender relations, migration, and race. Further topics address the study of German film, and German history with a focus on recent history since German reunification in 1990. The module gives students insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.
Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies
This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.
Introduction to Literature in Spanish
You’ll read a series of key texts from Spain and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Introduction to Lusophone Societies and Cultures (core)
The Portuguese speaking-world is made up of people on four different continents: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and there are eight countries in which Portuguese remains the official language. The spread of the language is a representation of the reach of the Portuguese Empire at its height as well as a reflection of the legacy of Lusophone cultures. This module provides you with the opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultural practices and social relations in the different parts of the world where Portuguese is spoken. The module covers the major social and cultural practices from modern Lusophone societies, including aspects of popular culture such as football and soap operas, but also cultural and artistic currents in literature and film. Questions of social relations and identity are also examined through a consideration of religious practice and religious expression, as well as themes of conflict, crisis and revolution through formations of political identity and political mobilisation. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Typical year two modules
Francophone Africa: Exploring Contemporary Issues through Culture
This module explores a range of political and social issues relevant to contemporary sub-Saharan Francophone Africa through literature, film and popular culture. It also offers an overview of the history of the French language in Africa and introduces students to the range of varieties of French spoken there today.
Post-War French Theatre
Examining the experimental theatre which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s, you'll consider authors such as Genet, Beckett and Ionesco. Focusing on dramatic technique, theory, and performance, you'll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.
Introduction to Modern French Poetry
You will be introduced to three major figures in modern French poetry (Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Apollinaire) and to the major formal developments in poetry in the period 1850-1914. Learning how to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, you will spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.
Language and Politics in 21st Century French
The module will focus on the interplay between language and politics in 21st-century French. It will address issues of ideology, identity, and power in French-speaking countries from a linguistic perspective. Students will examine the driving forces behind the invention and the preservation of standard French, the role of norms and variation in identity politics, and the role of language choices in current political debates in France. Students will apply the principles and methods of sociolinguistics and cognitive linguistics to a variety of recent textual and audiovisual documents, and digital data, such as TV programmes, news broadcasts, interviews, radio podcasts, corpora based on social media and online newspapers.
Runes to ROFL: History of the Germanic Languages
This module will introduce students to the history of the Germanic languages, from the earliest linguistic evidence up to the present day. We will investigate the major sound changes that distinguish Dutch, German and other Germanic languages like English from the rest of the Indo-European language family, (which includes French, Greek, and many other European languages, as well as Sanskrit. You'll look at the process by which Dutch and German went their separate ways , ultimately emerging as two standardised languages in the 17th century. You'll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World
In this module you will be introduced to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. You will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through cultures of the Lusophone world. You will study the ways in which cultural production is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity and therefore culture are examined through its political and historical context. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin
In this module you will acquire an in-depth understanding of developments in Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from the period 1900 to 2010. You’ll examine how films are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars
Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture
This module provides you with an introduction to the themes of dissidence and exile, central notions in Russian literature, culture and thinking, using the examples of the life and work of four major Russian writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Bulgakov). You will learn the theory of different literary forms such as verse narrative, novel, short story and drama.
Serbian and Croatian Literature
You’ll examine major literary movements in Serbia and Croatia during the 20th century, from Modernism to the socially engaged literature of the 1930s, Socialist Realism, literary politics under the Communists in Yugoslavia and the emergence of critical literature in the 1980s and 1990s. You’ll also undertake a textual analysis of representative works from 20th century literature; for example, works by Milos Crnjanski, Ivo Andrić, Miroslav Krleža, Danilo Kiš and Slobodan Selenić. You’ll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.
Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film
This module explores a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (e.g. Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early nineteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth, movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism-Decadence/Modernismo, the Avant-garde, and Modernism. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes.
Metropolis and Empire: Spain, Portugal and the Americas 1492 to 1898
This module examines the evolution of Spain, Portugal and their American colonies in the four centuries of Iberian colonialism between 1492 and the movements for independence in Latin America in the 19th century. The module is in two parts. One part explores the development and nature of medieval and Renaissance Iberia, the process of state construction and 'national' identity formation, the European context of Iberian developments, the concept of 'rise' and 'decline' of Spanish and Portuguese fortunes, and the profound implications of the European Enlightenment and 'liberalism' to Iberian politics from the late 18th century. The other part briefly examines the nature of society in pre-Columbian America, after which students are introduced to the processes of discovery, conquest and early colonisation, the evolving process whereby the two empires were constructed and managed and then the development of embryonic autonomy and identity in the different colonies, culminating in the whole experience and impact of the Enlightenment as it affected the spirit and mechanism of both Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in the 18th century, and, ultimately, the movement for the colonies' independence. The module will finish with a brief examination of the ways in which Spain struggled with varying degrees of success to come to terms with the loss of its colonies in the following 50 years.
You will divide your time between countries where your chosen language(s) are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company.
For more information see our Year Abroad page.
Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision
Typical year four modules
You will explore the ways in which French social theory and fiction have thought through the changing nature of the individual and the self in society. You will spend two hours in lectures and workshops each week studying this module.
This module will consider a series of avant-garde movements in France, from the late 19th century through to the middle of the 20th century. Students will look at each of these movements through a range of texts, including manifestos, theoretical tracts, art criticism, poetry, plays and novels, as well as through film and the visual arts. The module will thus encourage a comparative and interdisciplinary approach. The first part of the module will consider the Symbolist movement that emerged in the 1880s, touching on the Nabi painters, free verse poetry and Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu roi. We will then consider Cubism and Futurism in the years running up to the First World War, focusing on the poetry and art criticism of Guillaume Apollinaire. In the second semester, we will look at Dada and Surrealism, including André Breton’s Nadja and various short films. In the final part of the module we will consider the impact of the Second World War on avant-garde cultural production, focusing on a novel by Georges Perec and a film by Chris Marker. Throughout the module, students will be asked to reflect critically on theories of modernism and avant-gardism, and to grasp a range of critical concepts used in the analysis of avant-garde works. We will also be relating avant-garde movements to their broader historical and cultural contexts, and querying in particular whether the avant-garde is always political – and if so, whether it is always associated with a progressive politics.
Subtitling and Dubbing from French into English
This module focuses on the theory and practice of two modes of audio-visual translation: subtitling and dubbing. The linguistic, technical, and cultural theoretical underpinnings of subtitling and dubbing from French into English will be examined in detail, and students will be able to put the theory into practice using professional dedicated software.
Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was one of the most fascinating and culturally productive periods of German history, but it was equally riven by crises and violent conflicts. Weimar culture reflected and responded to these developments, experimenting with new media and exploring topical issues. A wide range of materials such as literary texts, poetry, reportage, films, photographs, aesthetic and political programmes will be studied to analyse the period. Topics will include the impact of the Great War, changing gender roles, the rise of unemployment and political violence, mass culture and everyday life.
The Language of Social Media
Language is constantly changing and nowhere more so than on social media, where users constantly adapt their language to achieve their communicative goals and to overcome the lack of face-to-face contact with their communication partners. In this module we explore the ways in which the German language is used on various kinds of social media, and how this often differs from standard German. We study the state-of-the-art linguistic research into online communication and non-standard language use. At the same time, students carry out their own research, collecting and analysing data from various social media sources: because of the ever-evolving nature of online language use, this often involves investigating phenomena that are so new, they haven't been properly studied yet! On this module you have three hours of teaching per week alongside extensive private study which doesn't just involve reading, but also data collecting and analysis: we spend one hour in a computer room collecting data to test a particular hypothesis followed by an hour in which we analyse the data; a third hour, later in the week, is spent learning about and discussing theories of online language use. There is a strong focus on small group work in the module: the in-class research and analysis are done in groups of three to five students, and then presented to the whole class.
Translation and Linguistic Exchange
This module offers in-depth discussion of grammatical, lexical and idiomatic aspects of German and English as well as issues of translation, register and cultural difference. It will be taught primarily through the medium of translation, both from and into German, using a variety of texts and passages on a range of topics and in a range of registers. Groupwork between home students and Erasmus students will foster dialogue about linguistic and translation issues as well as general cultural exchange.
Lusophone Identities, Culture, and Modernity in Portugal and Africa
In this module you will focus on identities and identity formation, as represented or articulated in literary, cinematic and visual texts, as the basis of a chronological survey of the development of Lusophone societies and culture in the 20th century. You will focus on two particular areas: the political ramifications of contending conceptions of race, gender, and sexuality in the last century and the role of cultural identity and ‘identity’ politics’ in nation-building and in the negotiation of, and recovery from, collective crises such as regime change and civil conflict. For this module you will have a one 2-hour seminar each week.
Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries
The module offers an in-depth study of the development of popular music in Russia in the 20th and 21st centuries. You will gain knowledge of the popular musical culture of the late tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras, and learn to analyse songs and performances using such concepts as authorship, performance, technology and ideology. You will have one lecture and one two-hour seminar per week on this module.
Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War
This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Serbian and Croatian Cinema
This module focuses on the representation of Balkan Roma in Serbian and Croatian cinema. It examines the ways in which the themes, motifs and narrative structures of films combine to produce semantically complex interfaces through which they also reflect the cultural circumstances of their production. The films examined include feature films and documentaries. Students learn to apply theories from film studies (montage, framing and acting) and cultural theory (including postcolonialism and trauma studies) and also learn about Romani life and culture.
The Radicalisation of Nationalism in Modern Latin America: The Cuban Revolution in Continental Perspective
This module aims first to develop and deepen students' understanding of the motivations, nature and impact of nationalist and radical projects in Latin America from the 1890s onwards. This understanding is the foundation for tracing the trajectory of political, social and cultural change in Cuba since 1959, and for identifying the factors determining both change and continuity within the five decades of 'revolution' in Cuba. Students will be guided towards an understanding of contemporary Cuban society and politics, and the continuities from, and ruptures with, the past. In understanding the complexities and contradictions of ‘revolutionary’ Cuba, students may comprehend the roots and complexity of modern and contemporary political movements all across Latin America.
Business and Society in Spain
This module explores Spanish business from both a historical and contemporary perspective. It begins by looking at changes in the social, economic, political and technological environment for business since the transition to democracy and assesses their impact on the composition of the private sector in Spain. The main themes include the economic legacy of dictatorship, changes in the global and European regulatory environment, the influence of neoliberal thinking, the role of entrepreneurship, the relationship between state and business and Spanish business’ response to the spread of the knowledge economy and rapid technological change. The module also looks at recent challenges to business in Spain. In particular, it explores the impact of the economic crisis on the private sector, the criticism of business’ involvement in a number of high-profile corruption scandals and proposals emanating from new political formations such as Podemos aimed at increasing state regulation of the private sector. Finally, the module analyses new social innovations and practices that are challenging business’ pre-eminence in the production and distribution of goods and services in Spain. In doing so, it reveals a diverse and vibrant landscape that integrates a range of practices including co-operativism, social markets and community currencies.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.