South Africa is a multilingual country, where the constitution and many people celebrate the richness and diversity of languages. Yet, language also creates conflict, poses economic challenges, and most of all, people need to master languages well enough to communicate effectively. In the School of Languages, students can study the languages and literature of a range of South Africa languages. You can take courses that will develop your mastery of English to a more advanced level, to meet the demands of a competitive world in which written and spoken language skills give you the edge, or begin your mastery of new languages – South African languages like Setswana, Sesotho, Afrikaans or South African Sign Language, as well as foreign languages like French or German. You can study to become a translator, interpreter and editor, or prepare for a career as language teacher, writer, journalist or language technologist.

In the School of Languages, we offer a range of traditional language courses, where you study the form, function and meaning of each language, together with the literature produced in each of these languages, so if reading has always been your thing, then the School of Languages will be the next step on your journey through the wonderful world of books. Alongside these traditional courses, we offer specialisations that prepare you for a wide range of modern career opportunities, from language technology and translation to spoken language interpreting. A major subject in the languages also combines with a specialisation in Communication, Psychology, History, Sociology and a wide range of other options, to prepare you for a career in a related field where your supplementary specialisation in languages will give you the edge in a world where good language skills enable you to reach out to people more effectively.

Since language is integrated in everything we do and vital to academic success, the School of Languages is also responsible for the compulsory courses in Academic Literacy at the NWU.

Subject Groups


Academic Literacy

Mahikeng, Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark

Afrikaans and Dutch

Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark

Creative Writing



Mahikeng, Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark


Mahikeng, Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark


Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark

Language Practice

Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark




Potchefstroom and Mahikeng




Research and Innovation


Centre for Academic Literacy and Professional Language Practice (CAPLP)

CAPLP is responsible for the Academic Literacy modules, various short courses and workshops in languages and language-related issues, and the Writing Laboratory.

Centre for Text Technology (CTexT)

CTexT does research on human language technology and develops language technology products for the South African languages.

Centre for Translation Studies (CTrans)

Professional language practitioners and an exciting range of future prospects – CTrans has it all. We solve your language-related problems expeditiously and adroitly. Not sure what those terms mean? Don’t worry, we can help.

Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA)

ILMA investigates issues of African languages in the media, the contrast between public and private financing of the media, the media and identity, the media and politics, the internet, media and democracy, media and development as well as African traditional communication/media systems and their applications.

Understanding and Processing Language in Complex Settings (UPSET)

Understanding and Processing Language in Complex Settings, or UPSET in short, is a research focus area that investigates how humans use language in the complex, multilingual setting of South Africa.

Unit for Languages and Literature in the SA Context

The Language diversity of South Africa provides a rich backdrop to the research focus of this unit which comprises three main areas of expertise. The Research Unit is primarily involved in supporting postgraduate studies at MA and PhD levels, but also support staff members within the School of Languages with their research projects.