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African Languages at Oregon

On campus we offer 3 years of Swahili and 3 years of Arabic, taught in a traditional 5 hours per week, 5 credit format. Swahili and Arabic courses will satisfy the university’s 2-year BA foreign language requirement.

Department: Arabic Studies
Number of Users Worldwide: 420 million
Offerings: Levels 100-300*
Today, Arabic is the native language of over 300 million speakers in North Africa and West Asia. Arabic is also the primary language for Islamic scholarship from the seventh century to the present, and has historically functioned as a lingua franca for the entire Muslim scholarly world. Arabic has long served as the spoken and written language for a number of other confessional communities (Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and others).
*Only 300 level courses will count towards the AFR Minor Electives

For more information on studying Arabic at the UO visit the Arabic Studies website.

Department: Linguistics
Number of Users Worldwide: 100 million
Offerings: Levels 100-300
Spoken in twelve countries, Swahili is the gateway to the rich culture and dynamic economy of East Africa. Learning Swahili will give you a unique perspective of the diverse people, places, and culture of Africa. Move past the boundaries of what you think you know about Africa. Explore the fascinating history, economic dynamism, and rich culture of East Africa while learning to communicate with over 100 million Swahili speakers around the world

For more information on studying Swahili at the UO contact the instructor, Mokaya Bosire at It is also possible to take intensive Swahili in the summer via a GEO Study Abroad program in Zanzibar.


The UO also offers opportunities for self-study, with the assistance of native speakers, in languages such as Akan, Wolof and Bamana/Dyula through the Yamada Language Center.