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Chair’s Message

UMBC’s Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication (MLLI) offers a program that has received national recognition for its creative and innovative curriculum. Of course, our courses in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Wolof focus on language use and on day-to-day cultural life.

But, in addition, every language major at UMBC takes a core of classes that put language and culture into context.

√  The first of these introduces the nature of language: how it is structured; how we acquire it; how it compares to nonverbal communication and animal signals.

√  The second class examines the ways in which language creates and reflects society and includes discussion of language policy, cultural politics, and language death.


√  The third course explores the language of texts—linguistic, visual, and musical—and provides students with the tools they will need to analyze everything from a telephone conversation to a feature film.

Upper-level students take courses on subjects like Don Quijote, French culture in the Caribbean, and the German media, but there are also classes in linguistics, anthropology, and cultural studies that examine a broad range of issues in human communication.

The excitement of an interdisciplinary language program has translated into an M.A. curriculum in Intercultural Communication, the only such degree program in the U.S. located in a language department. Graduates of this program go on to complete doctoral degrees in media, language, anthropology, education, etc., and take jobs as language teachers, intercultural trainers in the health professions, study abroad coordinators, and business consultants.

Finally, the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics plays a central role in a collaborative Ph.D. program in Language, Literacy, and Culture, which is designed for professionals in education, industry, business, government, and other organizations who want to work on questions of discourse and diversity in the context of the cultural issues that they raise.

For ways to support MLLI, please visit this link.

Dr. Omar Ka, Chair, MLLI