The Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University is at the heart of the University’s growing emphasis on global engagement and citizenship.
In the best liberal arts tradition, we offer courses in language acquisition, culture, literature and linguistics. We also offer language study tailored to future businesspeople and translators. Our small classes provide students with the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with faculty mentors, and our many study abroad options enable students to add fluency in a second language and international experience to their four-year degree.
In the early 1900s, students at WMU had the opportunity to learn classical Latin, German and French. As the world has grown smaller and more interconnected, our language programs have expanded and now include Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Russian. We also offer ancient Greek, medieval Latin and Old French.
World languages and literatures faculty are active researchers and publish in the areas of creative writing; language acquisition; linguistics; literary, theatre and film studies; textual editing; and translation. Department activities include:
- The annual Francophone Film Festival, a four-day competitive event bringing to Kalamazoo recent movies from French-speaking countries around the world, with the movie subtitles in English. The films compete for the Gold Kazoo prize.
- Our refereed journal, Transference, featuring poetry translated into English and commentary on the art and process of translation.
- The Summer Translation Program, focusing on the practice and business of translation.
Whether you are interested in language and related studies for personal enrichment, adding linguistic and international expertise to another field of study or becoming a professional in the field, we welcome you.