Baltic Languages and Literatures

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Baltic studies at Masaryk University are within the field of philology: the study programme encompasses Lithuanian, Finnish, Estonian, and Latvian in their linguistic, geographical, and historical relations. The main goal of Baltic studies is to master one (or more) of these languages. The communicative competence of the students is the main, though not the only, goal of Baltic studies: the ability to communicate in Lithuanian or Finnish must lead to higher scientific qualities for graduates, i.e. to the profound knowledge of the grammatical system of the chosen language, as well as its typology, diachronic development, and dialectical and stylistic diversity. Students of Baltic studies are taught specific methods of the philological approach to the language, both linguistic and literary, with the objective of having a professional theoretical comprehension of languages and texts. Students of Baltic studies must also possess a good comprehension of the history of Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, as they are led to detailed studies of the written culture of these countries from their very beginnings to the 20th century.

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • talk and write fluently on any topic in the first chosen language (Lithuanian or Finnish), i.e. to use it in any functional style (scientific texts, newsletter, belles lettres, etc.)
  • read scientific and popular texts in the second chosen language, i.e. Lithuanian, Finnish, Estonian, or Latvian
  • analyse any grammatical issue of modern Lithuanian, Finnish, Estonian, or Latvian
  • analyse texts written in Baltic languages from a linguistic and literary perspective
  • demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the cultural history of the Baltic region from the very beginnings of the written culture to the 20th century
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A graduate of the Baltic Studies study programme is able to speak one of the languages of the Baltic region (Lithuanian or Finnish) and has solid knowledge in the theory of general linguistics. The cultural history part of the study programme guarantees that graduates have very good knowledge of the history and contemporary culture of the entire Baltic region starting with Lithuania and Poland and reaching as far as the Scandinavian countries. Thanks to that knowledge, graduates are able to find at least two possible fields of occupation: in the academic field, Baltic studies scholars work in general linguistics – both synchronic and diachronic (especially Indo-European linguistics, Uralistics, and etymology); in non-academic fields, a graduate of Baltic studies can work as a translator and interpreter, either in Czech and EU institutions or in the fields of culture and literature.

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The Baltic study programme takes three years (180 ECTS credits) to complete, and ends with a final state examination. Part of the examination is the defence of the Bachelor’s thesis.

There are two versions of the Baltic study programme to choose between: BALTISTIKA (L), with Lithuanian being the main subject of the study programme, and BALTISTIKA (F), with the main subject being Finnish. Students must also choose Estonian or Latvian as their second language, which is taught at a lower degree than Lithuanian or Finnish.

BALTIC STUDIES AS A DOUBLE-SUBJECT STUDY PROGRAMME. In the first year, students must attend several methodological seminars on general linguistics, literary theory, history, and ethnography. Studies of the main language consist of the following groups of courses: A - grammatical system (four semesters, starting in the 3rd sem.), B - exercises in grammar and communication (six semesters, starting in the 1st sem.), C - reading (four semesters, starting in the 3rd sem.), and D - drill (six semesters, starting in the 1st sem.). The culture and history of the Baltics is taught in specific ‘geographic’ blocks: Lithuania and Poland, Estonia and Latvia, Finland and Scandinavia, each block consisting of three separate courses (history, cultural history, and home reading).

BALTIC STUDIES AS A SINGLE-SUBJECT STUDY PROGRAMME. The main difference is the requirement to study TWO languages, combinations being Lithuanian-Finnish, Lithuanian-Estonian, or Finnish-Estonian (Latvian is a free-choice subject). The main language is taught in the same way as mentioned above; the second starts in the 3rd semester and has only compulsory courses B and D. Students of the single-subject Baltic study programme must also attend additional theoretical courses on the diachronic development of the Baltic, Slavonic, Germanic, and Finnic languages. Methodology seminars and courses on the culture and history of the Baltics are identical to the double-subject study programme.

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An internship is not compulsory to complete the study programme. However, our institute does encourage students to apply their skills on the market by adding credit to the curriculum with a considerable amount of free-choice credits for an internship in private business or in the academic strata (e. g. translating for guest lecturers, organizing international conferences, translating belle lettres, etc.)

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For admittance to the final state examination, students must earn a total of 180 ECTS credits for type A/required, type B/selective, and type C/elective courses according to the schedule of the Baltic study programme. The examination itself has two parts: 1) the defence of the Bachelor’s thesis and 2) an overall examination of the Baltic study programme.

At the defence of the Bachelor’s thesis, students present the subject of the thesis, the methods chosen, and the results obtained, and they attend the subsequent discussion with members of the examination board.

The overall examination has three parts: 1) morphology of Lithuanian (or Finnish); interpretation of a Lithuanian (or Finnish) text; and conversation in Lithuanian (or Finnish); 2) history of the Baltics from prehistory to the 19th century (12 questions); and 3) written culture of the Baltics from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century (12 questions).

For detailed information, please visit: http://www.phil.muni.cz/wbal/home/pro-studenty/pro-studenty

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After completing the Bachelor’s degree study programme, students can continue in the Baltic Master’s degree study programme. Students with excellent results from the Bachelor’s final state examination will be exempted from entrance exams. For students from other universities or Masaryk University students with lower marks from the Bachelor’s final state examination, the entrance exam is compulsory.

After completing the Master’s degree study programme, students can continue in the doctoral degree study programme in General Linguistics or Indo-European Studies.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Baltic Languages and Literatures
Abbreviation: BA
Code: 7310R023
Type: lifelong learning
Degree: Bc.
Accreditation: to 10/10/2014
Programme: B7310 B-FI Philology
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
doc. Mag. Vaidas Šeferis, Dr. phil.

Additional Information