Department of Languages
History of the Department
The oldest document available on the history of the Department of Languages is the 1957/1958 academic Calendar of the Faculty of Arts. The department’s mission was to provide instruction in foreign languages to students from non-language disciplines. Modern foreign languages, also referred to as “living languages”, taught by the department included English, French, German and Spanish. Besides these, the department also offered courses in Latin.
In the 1963/1964 academic year, the range of languages on offer was extended to include Russian. Two years later the selection of modern languages stabilized to include English, French, German, Russian and Spanish and remained unchanged for the next four decades. Besides these, the department continued to offer courses in Latin as the most significant classical language.
From 1973/1974, individual departments started to incorporate Russian and another modern foreign language directly into their curricula. Preferences of particular languages, as well as the recommended length of study, varied greatly. Specific requirements usually applied to Russian, English and German. Starting with this academic year, it was emphasized that students should sign up for a course in the foreign language that they had been studying at secondary school and continue in its study.
The 1990s brought new impulses to the activities at the department. New study and job opportunities after 1989 have led to new needs: transparency, standardization and comparability of specialized language instruction for non-philological students not only at a national, but also international level.
Towards the end of the 1990s, there was a certain shift in foreign language teaching towards the development of courses devoted to language skills used in the academic sphere and in professional careers.
Since the introduction of a three-tier system of university studies in Slovakia, the department has provided only specialized English and German language courses. Even in this situation, the Department of Languages has been helpful in meeting the requirements of other departments regarding the character and extent of curriculum and the number of foreign language lessons. The department provided also courses taught in English on Chinese life and culture for students of Chinese studies.
The recent academic years brought further changes to foreign language instruction at the department. On one hand, the department ceased offering courses in Latin, on the other hand, it provides again courses in Russian for students of history and Spanish for students of Romance languages.
General Characteristics of the Department
The Department of Languages provides specialized foreign language instruction for undergraduate students of non-philological programmes such as andragogy, history, sociology, journalism etc. It offers specialized courses in two modern languages – in English and German. Students sign up for a course in the language that they have mastered at secondary schools at levels B1 or B2 and continue in its study.
The main objective is to develop students’ communicative language competences in accordance with their future academic and professional needs. The applied approach is task- and text-based. The model texts represent various linguo-stylistic text types typical of social sciences and humanities.
Modern language instruction is adapted to the international language and certification programme UNIcert®. The department acquired the accreditation for the levels II and III, which are oriented towards level B2 and C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The certificate enables students of non-philological programmes to work in the medium of the foreign language and provides a highly developed basis from which to undertake a work or study placement abroad.
Apart from the specialized language courses for undergraduate students the department provides general courses in Spanish for students of Romance languages and Russian for students of history. It also offers three specialized courses for graduate students: English for students of history, Russian for students of history and Creative Writing for students of teaching programmes.
The research activities of the department focus predominantly on the linguo-stylistic analysis of specialized texts and linguo-didactic and didactic-methodological aspects of specialized language instruction.