Language students learn about linguistics at UCL

On Tuesday 26th June, MFL students from Year 10 and 12 visited the UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Languages. Many of us had never heard of this part of UCL and we were surprised to learn about the number of languages that were offered- from Bulgarian, Hungarian and Polish to Romanian and Finnish. The School was set up after the First World War by Czech politician Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk to help the English learn about the new countries that were formed after the breaking down of the Austria-Hungary empire, and all the languages that were spoken in these places.

Learning these languages today is still relevant. Not only are these countries historically and culturally interesting, but are still politically significant, so communication between them and England is important. Learning such an unusual language also provides many translation opportunities and access to countries that are often overlooked.

We had an introduction from a teacher at the Slavonic and East European Languages and also from the School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS), where they explained the range languages and combinations that are available to study at the University. We were then lucky enough to be taught by Jelena Calic, a Serbian professor who teaches Serbo Croatian and Swedish. We had an introduction to the Serbo-Croatian language and learnt some phrases (‘dober dan’ is hello) and looked at the alphabet which has several letters and sounds that are not part of our own.

The trip helped us to see the range of languages that are open to us, especially at university. It was inspiring to see the possibilities of learning such unusual and fascinating languages, and all the opportunities that learning them can bring.

– Martha and Jamie

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