The Linguist

The Linguist 53,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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because she doubts her ability as a linguist despite speaking Lithuanian and English fluently, a little Russian and now a decent level of Italian. "I find learning vocabulary challenging, although I catch the systems of language quite well." The course involves three hour-long language lessons a week, supported by around 15 hours of independent study, which will count for 25% of Dudaite's overall degree. "My course is quite intense," she admits. For Byrne, it's all about choice. "You want a degree in a language? You can do it. You want to do it 50/50? You can. And, at some universities, if you want to do a subject 'with' a language, or for a little bit of credit, or as a not-for-credit holiday programme, you can do that too." In fact, the number of students taking a language in addition to their non- language major rose to 49,637 in 2012/13, and again to 53,971 in 2013/14. "The future for language education is modularised," he adds. LSE is now looking to open more courses 'with' a language. Over the past 20 years, the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Manchester, Leeds, Sussex, Bradford, Sheffield and Bath have also welcomed this evolution. Sunderland University has a free University Language Scheme that allows undergraduates to do Daniel Flynn, 22, is studying Biology with Spanish at the University of Manchester. "I learnt Spanish from Year 7 and kept it going at A-level, alongside Biology, Maths and Chemistry. When I saw that I could study Biology with Spanish at university, I saw no reason to compromise. I wanted to do both and get the balance right. The Spanish element of my course covers grammar and language, with exams every year in translation, writing, speaking and grammar. I don't learn any less Spanish than people on the joint honours programme, but I don't study culture, history and politics alongside the language. There is a need for this type of course. People want it, and mixing languages with another subject can bring interesting perspectives. I've done a lot of work on bio-ethics, for example, so in my oral exams this year, I talked about Ramón Sampedro, who fought for euthanasia. We have good discussions in class because everyone's studying Spanish with a different degree. I spent my third year working in a university lab in Madrid, where I learnt biology-related Spanish. Science is a very international sector. I've started looking into careers, and a lot of the graduate training schemes ask for language skills. I chose Spanish for the love of it, but that's a nice bonus." An uncompromising solution 26 The Linguist AUGUST/SEPTEMBER FEATURES The number of students taking a language degree may have plummeted but enthusiasm for university language- learning is alive and well, finds Jessica Moore L anguage education in UK universities is undergoing significant change. The number of students on foreign language degree programmes has plummeted, and institutions are assessing new means of supply that better meet the demands of students today. "If your customer base is going, you've got to reassess what they want," says Nick Byrne, Director of the Language Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE). "It's like running a restaurant: there's no point pushing brown Windsor soup and meat-and- two-veg if people want a lighter touch." Thankfully, universities have noticed students' changing tastes and many are offering a wider menu in response. There are still traditional language degrees and joint honours programmes – a format that established itself in the 1990s, enabling students to split their time equally between two subjects, such as International Business and Arabic. But undergraduates can now study languages more flexibly. Options range from paid-for, not-for-credit courses run by university language centres to degrees with intrinsic credit-bearing language modules. Ieva Dudaite, 21, is taking a degree in History of Art with Italian at the University of Warwick. "I went to art school before and when I became interested in History of Art, I thought having a language too might open more doors," she says. "Italian is very closely related to art because, for hundreds of years, Italy was the centre of art and culture." A joint honours course didn't appeal, however. "Some students divide the subjects up differently. Some do 50% in a language, but I would lose a couple of modules in History of Art by doing that. My course is nicely balanced for me," she says, partly A modularised future The only issue is a timetabling one – and we patch and mend and make it work

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