Studies & Degrees in Oriental Languages and their Literature (in Universities)

Choose where you would like to study Oriental Languages and their Literature (in Universities):

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A decade ago, Asia as a region was not really considered a powerhouse region in the world of economics and political intrigue, except for Japan. However, recent developments, like China, now the center of investors’ attention, coming into the picture and other Asian economies like South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand registering surprising growth spurts in their GNPs and per capita incomes have made Asia a region to be reckoned with. In light of this, the field of study Oriental Languages and Literature is becoming more popular as more non-Asians wants to understand fully the Asian culture and psyche.

Oriental Languages and Literature is a tricky field. As one already knows, Asia is the largest continent in the world and is host to hundreds of different languages, where unlike in the course, European Languages, knowing how to speak German, French and English, one can go about to any nook and cranny in Europe. However, with Asia, languages are very diverse and in China alone, two Chinese citizens may not even understand each other if one happen to speak Mandarin and the other Haklo. Because of this dilemma in the nature of Asian cultures, Oriental Languages have been broken down to different specialization and majors like Middle Eastern, South Asia, Far Eastern, and Southeast Asian languages.

If one decides to major in Middle Eastern, a student would probably learn how to speak Arabic and its variations. Of course, along with learning the language, the course will also equip students with the region’s and individual countries’ history and art influences.

If one wants to learn the Sanskrit as well as Classical Sanskrit, then they should major in South Asian languages. Other languages in the region like Tamil, Kannada and Telugu would also fall on this course major.

Far Eastern languages, is rapidly becoming a popular major as they get to study the Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages, as China, Japan and Korea are currently the economic movers of Asia. Students will have a choice of what Chinese language they want to learn as there are about 13 widely used Chinese languages with Mandarin, Cantonese and Haklo being the three most popular choices. Mandarin is, by the way, the most widely spoken language and is being pushed by the government to be the common language in China. Another commonality of these three cultures is that they all write using symbols or characters instead of letters. So, knowing how to write Japanese and then moving on to study Korean or Chinese script would not be a hard transition.

Southeast Asian languages would cover languages spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and The Philippines. Bahasa is the region’s widely spoken language as both Malaysia and Indonesia speaks Bahasa.

As the course is Oriental Languages and Literature, the language part may vary but the literature part would sure cover major works of influential Asian writers such as Omar Khayyam, Rabindranath Tagore, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and among others.

Basically, Oriental Languages and Literature graduates will find plenty of opportunities as language interpreters, writers, historians, archeologists and diplomats. Now, Asia, as a region, is finally getting out of its shell, asserting itself economically and politically, the West have but no choice but to learn as much as they can about the region, languages and literary works included.