Modern Languages

The tutors are incredibly helpful. The comments and feedback they have given me have proved extremely useful.

Helena, French and Spanish

Over the last four years, over 35% of Trinity`s students in Modern Languages have graduated with First-Class degrees.

Trinity’s students in Modern Languages can apply for an academic grant of up to £500 for travel relating to their studies. Those studying two languages can also apply for an additional £300 towards the study of their second language during the year abroad.

At Oxford the Modern Languages degree introduces you to a range of different kinds of text and media (novels, poetry, philosophy, film) via literary and cultural studies; you will learn to be a reader with an eye for detail, and a writer who can build those details into a persuasive argument. We pay close attention to your skills in the target language, too: better linguists are better readers of texts, and they are also better equipped to read the world they live in.

At Trinity we welcome applications to read Modern Languages for the following combinations:

  • French and Spanish
  • French Single Honours (`French sole`)
  • Spanish Single Honours (`Spanish sole`)
  • French and Portuguese
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • French with Classics or English or History or Linguistics or Philosophy
  • Spanish with Classics or English or History or Linguistics or Philosophy

All these courses last four years, and include a third year abroad. (For Classics and Modern Languages, there is also an option of a four-year course, with a year abroad, so five years in total.) You’ll be taught both in college and in the Faculty, in a mix of different styles: at Trinity, we teach you in small groups or tutorials, and sometimes in larger seminars. The University’s Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages organises lectures as well as some centralized language classes. You’ll also do a lot of research in libraries, guided by the reading lists we give you. Starting in the second year, you choose from a range of options, and in conversation with your tutors you can build a course which plays to your interests.  We believe that this range of contexts for learning is not only stimulating, but allows you to gain expertise in periods, authors, and literary genres that appeal to you.

At admissions time, we  are looking for people who really like to read, who demonstrate interest and ability in engaging with literature, and who have an accurate linguistic command of the languages for the level at which they’ve been taught so far. Given the demands of the course, you need to be willing to read extensively in foreign languages, especially literary texts from different historical periods. But you don’t need to be an expert in that at this stage: we just want to know you’re prepared to put the work in later.

For college tutorials, you are normally required to write one or more essays on each of the assigned texts; this writing exercise and subsequent discussion lets us explore your comprehension of the texts, read in the original language. We also arrange regular language classes with native speakers in French and Spanish to supplement Faculty teaching and to help students improve their fluency and written accuracy. Small-group translation classes introduce you to linguistic and cultural nuances and make you a skilled user both of your chosen languages and of various registers of English. We often arrange practice exams at the start of most terms, so that you can consolidate the previous term’s learning and practice for your university examinations.

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Modern Languages students graduate from Trinity

The Taylor Institution, which houses the Medieval & Modern Languages library and is the central venue for Faculty lectures, is just a short walk from Trinity College. The Bodleian Library (Oxford University’s main library) is also just a few minutes away. We also encourage you to use the resources available in the Language Centre for improving your language skills.

The 2017 Modern Languages freshers are looking forward to starting lectures and tutorials!

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Trinity and the Languages Faculty

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