The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures presently offers twelve different
languages (Classical and Modern): Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew,
Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. The Department has twenty-nine
faculty members actively engaged in research, instruction, and service.
The University of Memphis is the only university or college in the area of Western
Tennessee and Eastern Arkansas offering a bachelor's degree in foreign languages,
with single-language concentrations in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and
Spanish; more limited programs are offered in Chinese, Hebrew, Greek, Portuguese,
and Russian. The Master of Arts is offered in Romance Languages, with a concentration
in either French or Spanish. Courses are available in literature, linguistics, foreign
literature in English translation, civilization, and business language.
The study of a foreign language is central to the international mission of the University,
since it offers the student a deeper appreciation of a foreign culture. As the United
States continues to increase its involvement in foreign trade, tourism, and international
cooperative ventures, an awareness and an understanding of the culture and civilization
of those countries become indispensable for the enlightened and literate individual.
In addition to the basic language courses at the lower level, the Department also
serves the wider, humanistic goals of the University as a whole by providing courses
in advanced language, literature, linguistics, culture, and civilization. These courses
provide one of the bases for a liberal education by broadening the intellectual and
cultural horizons of the student and by introducing him or her to a more profound
perception of what is meant by the term "humanity": foreign language courses accomplish
this by illustrating the different ways that human beings of different nationalities
look at and react to reality.