Section of Semitic Philology
The section specializes in bringing up Arabic translators and interpreters. It is the only department in Slovakia which offers an opportunity to study the Arabic language and culture and provides courses at all levels of university studies. The Bachelor’s programme aims to help students master the basics of Arabic necessary for reading newspaper articles, simple literary texts and oral communication. The Master’s studies focus on more detailed theoretical orientation in linguistic, translation, literary and historical disciplines.
Oriental languages – particularly Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic – began to be taught at the Faculty of Arts in 1929. Prof. J. Bakoš was the first instructor to teach them. He had studied in Göttingen, Germany, and got his associate professorship from Charles University in Prague, under the guidance of Prof. Bedřich Hrozný. In 1945 he opened a special Semitic School for these language disciplines. In the early 1950s the Semitic School was incorporated into the Department of Classical, Romance and Semitic Philology. In 1956 courses in Semitic philology got listed under the Department of Hungarian and Semitic Philology and they focused only on Arabic (its literary language and spoken varieties). From the 1976/1977 academic year onwards, Semitic Philology was taught at the Department of Classical and Semitic Philology again.
In 1953-1995 L. Drozdík worked at the department, from 1992 in the capacity of Professor in Arabic Linguistics and head of the department. After November 1989 the department embarked on building extensive academic relations with European and American universities. A person who has made the department’s activity more visible at international level is J. Pauliny, who was appointed Professor in Non-Slavic Studies (Oriental and Arabic studies) in 1997. Prof. J. Pauliny initiated active collaboration with the Institute of Oriental Studies of the University of Vienna, where he also worked as a lecturer in 1991-1996. The department also established intense contact with research centres in Germany (Universität Heidelberg), France (Collège de France) and Italy (Università degli Studi D’Orientale). Since June 2009 the section has been involved in “Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies”, a five-year international research networking programme funded by the European Science Foundation.