Foreign Languages

The International Studies Program requires students to meet the intermediate level in a foreign language connected to their regional track. This translates to the equivalent of four terms of language. There are over 24 languages taught at the University of Florida, and several are non-traditional. The value of language learning goes beyond phonetics and verbal expression – classes integrate intercultural components and language itself precipitates an exposure to cultural values and norms.


Akan is a language group spoken by related peoples in mainly Ghana and eastern Côte d’Ivoire. The descendants of escaped slaves in the interior of Suriname and the Maroons in Jamaica still use a form of this language.


Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in North Central Ethiopia by the Amhara. It is the second most-spoken Semitic language in the world, after Arabic, and the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.


Arabic is the largest member of the Semitic language family, spoken by more than 280 million people as a first language and by 250 million more as a second language. Most native speakers live in the Middle East and North Africa.


Chinese is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by over one billion people as their native tongue. Most common among the five major regional forms of Chinese is “Mandarin” (Putonghua / Guoyu) which is based upon the Beijing dialect and is the official language of both the PRC and Taiwan. The written language is the same for all varieties of Chinese.


Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide.


Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by over 22 million people as a native language and over 5 million people as a second language. Most native speakers live in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, with smaller groups of speakers in parts of France, Germany and several former Dutch colonies. Dutch is the parent language of several creole languages as well as of Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa and the most widely understood in Namibia.

French and Francophone Studies

French is a Romance language spoken around the world by more than 100+ million people as a first language, by 190 million as a second language, and by about another 200 million people as an acquired foreign language, with significant speakers in 54 countries.


German is a West Germanic language, thus related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. It is one of the world’s major languages and the most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union. Around the world, German is spoken by approximately 105 million native speakers and also by about 80 million non-native speakers.

Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole is a language spoken in Haiti by about 7.0 million people which is nearly the entire population, and via emigration, about 400,000 speakers who live in the Bahamas, Cuba, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and United States.


Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Hebrew in its modern form is spoken by more than seven million people in Israel while Classical Hebrew has been used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world for over two millennia. It is one of the official languages of Israel, along with Arabic.


Italian is a Romance language spoken by about 60 million people in Italy, and by a total of around 70 million around the world. In Switzerland, Italian is one of four official languages, and it is also the primary language of San Marino and Vatican City.

Students can earn a Minor, taking courses in Italian language, literature and culture, including cinema, both on the UF campus and in our study abroad program in Rome, Italy.


Japanese is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities.


Polish is a West Slavic language and the official language of Poland. Nearly 97% of Poland’s citizens declare Polish as their mother language. Ethnic Poles constitute significant minorities in Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine. Polish is the most widely used minority language in Lithuania’s Vilnius County (26% of the population, according to the 2001 census results), and it is also present in other counties.


Russian is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, and the largest native language in Europe.

Spanish and Portuguese Studies

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies endeavors to achieve excellence in research, teaching and public service related to the languages, literatures, and cultures of the areas and countries where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken. Associated languages and cultures such as Catalan or any other the faculty may determine, also fall under the departmental purview.



Swahili is spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Indian Ocean coastline from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique, including the Comoros Islands. Although only 5-10 million people speak it as their native language, Swahili is also a lingua franca of much of East Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a national or official language of four nations, and is the only language of African origin among the official working languages of the African Union.


The broad aim of the Turkish Studies program at UF is to develop an ambitious interdisciplinary area-studies and language program that encourages students and the general public to increase their knowledge and understanding of Turkey and Turkish language, culture, history, society and politics.



Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of the Vietnamese people who constitute 86% of Vietnam’s population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese, most of whom live in the United States.


Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and it is the native language of the ethnic group of the Wolof people. Wolof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal.


Yoruba is a language of West Africa with over 25 million speakers. It is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and traces of it are found among communities in Brazil, Sierra Leone, northern Ghana and Cuba.


Xhosa is one of the official languages of South Africa. It is Spoken by approximately 7.9 million people, or about 18% of the South African population. One of the most distinctive features of the language is the prominence of click consonants.