Do you have an interest in Africa and a gift for languages? Africa has eight-hundred-plus spoken languages, fifty of which are spoken by a half a million people or more, some of which are spoken only by small tribes. Those interested in linguistics -- the study of the units, structure, nature, and development of languages, as well as the relationships between different languages and language branches -- will find Africa an especially rich area of concentration.

African Languages, Literatures and Linguistics majors learn one or more languages from the following families: Afro-asiatic, Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan, and Khoisan. More important than memorizing languages, is understanding the nature and history of African languages, with special attention to phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Students study philology, the study of language, as it relates to and is used in literature, and take classes in African literature. Because few African languages have written languages, literature studied will often be in the form of transcribed oral tradition.


  • Africa in the 20th Century

  • African Film

  • African Folktales

  • Beginning Swahili

  • Comparative Linguistics

  • Introduction to African Languages and

  • Language in African Society

  • Literature

  • Yoruba Diaspora in the New World


Immerse yourself in the humanities, concentrating on history and English classes. Take four years of French, plus any additional language your school offers to get your brain ready for some headier linguistic challenges.