Fakultät für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften

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Here you can find information about the following topics:

Which faculties offer a B.A. (minor) in "Languages, Literatures, Cultures"?

The B.A. (minor) degree "Languages, Literatures, Cultures" replaces the minor subjects of the old Magister degree in Faculty of Language and Literature Studies (Faculty 13).

All subjects taught at the Faculty of Language and Literature Studies contribute to this interdisciplinary course of studies:

General and Comparative Literature Studies, General and Typological Linguistics, North American Studies, Book Studies, German as a Foreign Language, German Philology, English Philology, Finnougric/Uralic Studies, Greek and Latin Philology, Italian Philology, Nordic Philology, Romance Philology, Theoretical Linguistics, Slavic Philology, Comparative and Indogermanic Linguistics incl. Albanian Studies.

This range of subjects is complemented (especially with regard to languages) by the Faculty of Cultural Studies (Faculty 12): Arabic Studies, Byzantine Studies and Modern Greek Language and Literature, Indology and Tibetan Studies, Japanese Studies, Sinology, Turkology.

Additional languages are offered by the LMU's Language Centre (Sprachenzentrum, SpraZ).

What is comprised by a B.A. (minor) in “Languages, Literatures, Cultures”?

The minor subject "Languages, Literatures, Cultures" offers a broad selection of subjects to complement the major subjects in the Humanities. After an introductory phase, students opt for two of the following five areas:

(WP is the abbreviation for German Wahlpflichtmodul, which translates as 'Elective Module'.)

As a whole the minor subject "Languages, Literatures, Cultures" offers the possibility to transcend the boundaries of traditional subjects in the Humanities and acquire knowledge and skills in the scientific treatment of language, literature and culture in their historical and current dimensions within a broad spectrum of linguistic and cultural areas. The particular structure of the subject encourages comparative approaches to the various disciplines as well as their research problems and methods. Independent and self-contained scientific reasoning will be continually developed through discovering the problems of different linguistic and cultural areas, presenting them in speaking and writing and putting even complex questions into a historical perspective.

By opting for certain areas (cf. academic programme), students can focus on particular aspects on offer, according to their preferences and personal potential, thus complementing their major subject.

WP1: Languages

  • This elective module aims at acquiring a foreign language either at a basic level (i.e. without previous knowledge of the language) or at an advanced level (i.e. extending previous knowledge).
  • The modern languages focus on actively mastering a language (listening comprehension, oral skills, writing) as well as comprehending grammatical structures and building a most versatile vocabulary. Some languages also offer a specialisation with respect to particular fields of discourse or situations, e.g. Business English or job interviews.
  • The historical languages mainly focus on analytical and receptive skills, which enables students to comprehend diachronic perspectives of linguistic developments and to study original historical sources independently.

At the moment, the following languages are offered:





  • Akkadian
  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Armenian, Classical
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese
  • Croation
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Greek, Ancient
  • Greek, Modern
  • Hebrew, Modern
  • Hittite
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jiddish
  • Kannada
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Mongolian, Classical
  • Mongolian, Modern
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Swedish
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Slovene
  • Spanish
  • Sumerian
  • Thai
  • Tibetan, Classical
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese

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WP2: Literature Studies

Literature Studies pertain to all questions which result from encounters with literary texts; these questions are made explicit and tried to be resolved in an intersubjectively comprehensible way.

In this sense, Literature Studies comprise the following central areas:

  • providing a safe philological basis for a text (textual criticism)
  • establishing periods and classifications for literary phenomena in the broadest sense (literary history), either with regard to historical and comprehensive accounts of particular national literatures or with respect to single phenomena (history of genres, topics, motives)
  • dissecting texts into their components and examining the relations between said components in order to comprehend the proposition of the text (textual analysis).
  • investigating an author’s linguistic varieties on a lexical, syntactic but also phonological level (stylistics).
  • Based on the above aspects, Literary Studies try to arrive not only at an interpretation of a single text but also establish theories of interpretation for entire literatures (hermeneutics).

These topics will be developed through different methodological approaches, starting with a general introduction to the entire field of Literature Studies and continuing by focusing on the work(s) of one author or a group of authors. The respective courses stem from the extensive offer provided by the contributing disciplines, whose centre of interest is formed by the literatures of Europe and North America.nach oben

WP3: Linguistics

Linguistics is basically concerned with the question: "What is language and how does it work?"

Central areas of linguistics are:

  • human speech production (phonetics) and the sound systems of languages (phonology)
  • how words and sentences are built (morphology, word formation and syntax)
  • the meaning of words and sentences (semantics, pragmatics)
  • changes and developments of language(s) over time (historical linguistics)
  • the development and diversification of dialects and language families as well as language contact in various communicative spaces (comparative philology, dialectology, areal linguistics)
  • language as a social phenomenon, whose manifestation varies with respect to the communicative situation, and as an identity marker (sociolinguistics)
  • how different grammars organise human speech and how the diversity of human language can be described and accounted for (typological linguistics)
  • how language is stored and processed in the speakers’ minds (psycholinguistics)
  • correlations between human cognitive abilities and their linguistic manifestation (cognitive linguistics)

These questions are tackled by the various disciplines either with regard to particular languages, language families, linguistic areas, or in general. Although e.g. English, German, Romance, Slavic, Finnougric or Indo-European Linguistics as well as Phonetics have their own areas of interest, the respective research questions often converge in more comprehensive problems.

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WP4: Culture and Media Studies

This module integrates the traditional philologies and literature studies within a broad interdisciplinary framework in the field of humanities while still being firmly rooted in the respective literary and/or linguistic discipline.

  • At the centre, there is the notion of 'culture' as a comprehensive concept of collective sentiments, a way of thinking, sense constructions and values, which is explored and made comprehensible mainly on the basis of different literatures, their material aspect and medial realisation.
  • In Cultural Studies, the following concepts have proved to be particularly fruitful: the culture of media, interdisciplinary xenology and typical habits and identities of various nations, gender studies and approaches to postcolonial literary criticism.

So in this sense the courses on offer in this module focus on those processes which emerge through the dialogical relationship with other media and through the medial value of literary output as well as interdisciplinary approaches and concepts (e.g. 'mediality', 'alterity', 'cultural memory').nach oben

WP 5: Ancient and Premodern Languages and Cultures

In this module, students  acquire knowledge and skills in a broad spectrum of pre-modern literatures and cultures of the European (focus: cultures of the Mediterranean) and non-European (focus: Asian Cultures) area.

  • The period extends from ancient times, via classical antiquity to the continuation and transformation of these cultures during the medieval age.
  • Students have the possibility to attend introductions to pre-modern language systems to acquire skills which enable them to independently examine literary and non-literary texts of said cultures (cf. list below).
  • On this basis, students focus on certain aspects of the literatures of the contributing disciplines (particularly a selection from the areas Ancient Orient, Indology, Tibetan Studies, Sinology as well as Classical Philology, Medieval Latin and Byzantine Studies and earlier forms of the European languages). What is more, this comprises an account of the events, mentalities, social and medial factors of the respective age.

The differences in these literatures and cultures as well as the historical perspective will illuminate the conditions of modern and postmodern literary production; in this respect the topics and problems in this module perspectivise the topics of the other modules in their historical dimension.

At the moment, the following languages are on offer in WP5:



  • Akkadian
  • Albanian
  • Greek, Ancient
  • Hittite
  • Hindi
  • Kannada
  • Latin
  • Mongolian, Classical
  • Old Norse
  • Sanskrit
  • Sumerian
  • Tibetan, Classical

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Who can do a B.A. (minor) in "Languages, Literatures, Cultures"?

The minor subject "Languages, Literatures, Cultures" can be combined with major subjects from the following faculties:

  • Faculty for History and the History of Art (Faculty 9)
  • Faculty for Philosophy, the Philosophy of Science and Religious Studies (Faculty 10)
  • Faculty for Cultural Studies (Faculty 12)
  • Faculty for Language and Literature Studies (Faculty 13)

This pertains to the following subjects:

  • Ancient Oriental Studies
  • Archaeology (120 ECTS)
  • Art Education (Attention! Suitability test)
  • Book Studies
  • Buddhist and South Asian Studies
  • Computer Linguistics
  • Dramatics (Attention! Local admission restriction)
  • Egyptology and Coptology
  • English Studies (Attention! Suitability test)
  • Ethnology
  • European Ethnology
  • Finno-Ugric Studies
  • General and Comparative Literature Studies (Attention! Suitability test)
  • General and Indo-European Linguistics
  • German as Foreign Language (Attention! Suitability test)
  • German Studies
  • Greek Philology
  • Greek Studies
  • History (Attention! Suitability test)
  • History of Art (Attention! Local admission restriction)
  • Italian Studies
  • Japanese Studies (Attention! Suitability test)
  • Latin Studies
  • Musicology
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies
  • North American Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Phonetics and Speech Processing
  • Religious Studies
  • Romance Studies
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Sinology
  • Slavic Studies

Requirements, pre-tests

  • The subject is open to all applicants. Further information with regard to the admission procedure for foreign students can be found on the pages of the LMU's international office.
  • Language of instruction: German is the main language of instruction. However, the contributing philologies reserve the right to teach in their respective language, particularly in language-centred courses; whether a course is taught in a language other than German can usually be gathered from the course description. The particular needs of the students of the minor subject will be respected; details are regulated by the contributing disciplines.
  • Preferred student profile: Apart from a certificate of secondary education equivalent to a German Abitur, prospective students should have a pronounced interest in linguistic, literary and cultural questions; specific requirements may vary according to the chosen modules.
  • Occupational areas: This course complements B.A. major subjects (cf. above) and conveys a broad context for future employment in language-, culture and media-oriented occupational fields.