Languages on offer at the Institute of Scandinavian Studies

The Institute of Scandinavian Studies at the Goethe University offers courses in Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish. Students will generally concentrate on one of the three continental Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian or Swedish), with Icelandic as an optional second language. No prior knowledge of the languages is expected in beginners’ courses.

We value thorough, intensive education in language within our Scandinavian studies. We therefore offer language courses in students’ chosen language throughout all six semesters for Bachelor students majoring in Scandinavian Studies, and four semesters for students minoring in Scandinavian Studies. Language competence is then further perfected in the Master’s programme.

Our style of instruction is based in modern foreign language didactics, prioritising active and passive competence in the chosen language. Moreover, intensive engagement with the literature and culture of the Scandinavian countries is central to the course from the beginning.

Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are so grammatically and lexically similar that learning one of the three greatly facilitates understanding of the others. In order to practice this inter-Scandinavian listening and reading comprehension, students majoring in Scandinavian Studies will take a module (two semesters) in inter-Scandinavian language competence.

The obligatory language courses are supplemented with regular readings by authors and guest lectures by Scandinavian authors, scholars, and researchers. Activities such as the Skandinavistikchor (choir), the Tandem Partner (mutual peer mentoring) system, the student-organised ‘Nordfilm’ series (Scandinavian films), seeing plays by Scandinavian playwrights or visiting exhibitions by Scandinavian artists, and trips to Scandinavian countries serve to enrich and enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of Scandinavian language, literature, and culture. Advanced students can also attend a Danish-German translation seminar. This provides you with the valuable practical opportunity to network with professional translators and authors.

As part of the ERASMUS-Programme, our institute partners with universities in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. We recommend that all students complete at least one semester abroad. We can also provide students with information on intensive language courses, summer schools, and work placements/internships in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Some of these may also be eligible for financial support in the form of scholarships and stipends.