Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Learning Languages

Several African languages can be studied intensively at the Department of African Studies. As of the winter semester 2022/23, these are: Hausa (West Africa), (Ki-)Swahili (East Africa) and Afrikaans (Southern Africa). Bambara and Setswana will be offered again in winter semester 2023/24. The language courses extend over three or four semesters (in the MA or BA programme, respectively), each comprising 4 to 6 semester hours per week.

Students at the IAAW or Humboldt-Universität can register for the individual language courses as well as for other courses via AGNES (see Service/AGNES). Interested guest students should contact the respective language lecturers by e-mail (for contact information, see individual web pages).

Since the number of possible participants is limited to 25 or maximally 30 persons per language course, we recommend that you send a brief letter of motivation to the language lecturers for Hausa I, Swahili I and Afrikaans I by 14.10.2022, in which you explain why you want to learn the language. If more people register for a language course than there are places available, the following criteria will be used for the priority allocation of places: (1) a justifiable importance of the language for study or career goals or a planned study thesis, (2) a specific interest in the corresponding region within Africa (West, East, Southern Africa), (3) in-depth experience in the corresponding region, e.g. through internships, as well as (4) an earlier unsuccessful registration for the same language course.

In addition to intensive language teaching (corresponding to language modules I to III/IV of the study programmes at the IAAW), additional language and structural courses of African languages are occasionally offered. In addition, there are now also supplementary digital language courses organised through a cooperation network of Africa institutes in Germany and Austria. In the academic year 2022/23, the following languages can be learned: Amharic, Hausa (advanced), Kinyarwanda, Nigerian Pidgin, Somali, Tigrinya and Wolof. Details of these courses can be found on the website of the Fachverband Afrikanistik e.V. In the study programmes at the IAAW, these courses can be used for a study profile "Language and Communication" or for the BA module "Supplementary Language Teaching".

Further information on language teaching at the Department of African Studies (winter semester 2022/23, in German) can be found HERE.

Translated with the help of (free version)


Hausa Foto.png Introducing Hausa
(Video 4:12)

Swahili Foto.png Introducing Swahili
(Video 5:39)

Bambara Video-Foto Introducing Bambara
(Video 6:39)


An official language in South Africa