Languages

Welcome to Surrey and to the School of Literature and Languages! We are delighted to have you on board and look forward to meeting you in person in September. This page has great information and resources to help get you prepared for your language course.

Programmes with French

As you know, studying French at Surrey is all about improving your language competencies in order to use the language in a professional way, and increasing your knowledge and understanding of French and francophone culture around the world. Here are a few suggestions about how best to prepare for your studies in French with us.

In your first year you will take a French language module in both semesters, and a French culture and society module in the second semester. You may also take a French translation module in semester 1.

For the French language modules, we use a course book, which will be referenced regularly throughout the first year, so is the one book you probably will want to purchase. However, we do have copies in the University library.

  • Boularès, Michèle, Frérot, Jean-Louis. (1997). Grammaire Progressive Du Français: Grammaire Progressive - Niveau Avancé. Paris : Clé International.

For the module Introduction to France and the French-speaking World, there is no course book, but you might find the following books useful:

  • Labrune, G., Toutain, Ph., Zwang, A. 2015. L'Histoire de France, Nathan. (There are older versions in the library)
  • Labrune, G., Juguet, I. 2014. La Géographie de la France, Nathan.

We also recommend that you make use of online resources to read, watch and listen to French regularly. Just watching or listening to the news every day would be a good start. See the following 'Resources' tab for some of the options we recommend.

Journaux

Television

Radio

Allez sur France Info (pour des infos assez brutes et factuelles); France Inter (pour des émissions culturelles, politiques, économiques) ou France Culture (très haut de gamme). Les autres radios, musicales notamment, sont aussi de bonne qualité.

Ressources en ligne

If you want to find out more about French history, or other aspects of French culture and society, there are plenty of online resources. Here are some useful and reliable sources:

In your first year you will have intensive language classes which aim to bring you up to a similar level to students who already have an A level. You will have four contact hours per week, in order to give you plenty of opportunities to practise the language and gain confidence. We will be using an online course book, Entre Nous. You can find out more about it on the espace virtuel website. We will also use a grammar book, which you may wish to purchase in advance:

  • Crocker, Mary (2018). Schaum's Outline of French Grammar, Seventh Edition, McGraw-Hill Education.

In the second semester the ab initio language classes will ensure that you have covered the same professional language as the post A-level class and will also give language support for the Introduction to France module.

If you would like to prepare for this module before you have learnt much French, there are many resources, both books and online, that cover French history, culture and society in English. You could start with Encyclopaedia Britannica, or Geoff Hare’s French Links.

Programmes with German

Studying German at Surrey is all about improving your language skills so you can use the language competently and confidently in a variety of settings, and increasing your knowledge and understanding of the cultures of the German-speaking countries. Here are a few suggestions about how best to prepare for your studies in German with us.

In your first year you will take a German language module in both semesters, and a module on the history, culture and society of the German-speaking world in the second semester.

There is no set course book for the German language modules, but we use a grammar book, which will be referred to regularly throughout the first year, and indeed the second year, so this is the one book you probably will want to purchase. However, we do have copies in the University library.

  • Durrell, Martin et al. (2015) Essential German Grammar (2nd edition). Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN: 9781138785816

For the module Understanding Germany: History, Culture and Society, we use a book written in English for background reading. Again, we do have copies in the library but you may prefer to purchase your own copy. Please note that you can also work with the second edition of this book.

  • Fulbrook, Mary (2019) A Concise History of Germany (3rd edition). Cambridge: CUP. ISBN: 9781108407083

We also recommend that you make use of online resources to read, watch and listen to German regularly. See the following 'Resources' tab for some of the options we recommend.

  • Goethe Institute London. The Digital Library of the Goethe Institute in London offers a wide range of materials, including music and films. They also provide materials for learners of German.
  • Deutsche Welle Learn German. A wealth of materials for learners of German, ranging from news reports with audio files to crime stories.

German TV channels and programmes online:

  • ARD (Das Erste)
  • ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)
  • WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk)
  • BBC.

For links to the most read German newspapers, including a short introduction to each paper, as well as general information about life and culture in Germany, you may like to explore the resources provided by www.deutschland.de:

If you want to find out more about German history, or other aspects of German culture and society, there are plenty of online resources. Here are some useful and reliable sources:

  • Lemo (Lebendiges Museum Online). Website of the German History Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum), with a wealth of materials on German history from the early 19th century to present day. Parts of the website are also available in English.
  • Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung (bpb). Website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education with articles on politics, history, current affairs and issues in today’s society. Parts of the website are also available in English.

In your first year you will have intensive language classes with six contact hours per week in order to give you plenty of opportunities to practise the language and gain confidence. We will be using a course book and exercise book, which you may wish to purchase in advance:

  • Coursebook: Motive A1–B1 Kursbuch, Lektion 1–30, Kompaktkurs DaF Deutsch als Fremdsprache by Dr. Wilfried Krenn, Dr. Herbert Puchta, Hueber Verlag. ISBN: 9783190018789
  • Exercise book: Motive A1–B1 Arbeitsbuch, Lektion 1–30 mit MP3-Audio-CD Kompaktkurs DaF Deutsch als Fremdsprache by Dr. Wilfried Krenn, Dr. Herbert Puchta, Hueber Verlag. ISBN: 9783190318780

If you have not done any German before and would like to learn some starter words and basis phrases before you begin your programme with us, there are many resources available online that will help you get started. Here are some recommendations for online language learning platforms:

If you want to find out more about German history, or other aspects of German culture and society, you may want to start with an overview in English. Here are some useful and reliable sources:

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Lemo. Website of the German History Museum, parts of which are also available in English.
  • Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung (bpb). Website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education with articles on politics, history, current affairs and issues in today’s society. Parts of the website are also available in English.

Programmes with Spanish

Studying Spanish at Surrey is all about improving your language competencies in order to use the language in the professional world, and increasing your knowledge and understanding of Spain and the Spanish-Speaking world to enable you to live there, work there, and – importantly – make the most of your time there. Here are a few suggestions about how best to prepare for your studies in Spanish with us.

In your first year, you will take a Spanish language module in both semesters, and a Spanish culture and society module in the second semester. You may also take a Spanish translation module in semester 1.

For the first Spanish language module, the following grammar book is a good reference point: Mike Thacker & Pilar Muñoz, 2012. A Spanish Learning Grammar.

For the module Spain: An Introduction to Its History, Culture & Society, there is no course book, but you might find the following resources useful to familiarize yourself with some of the topics of discussion:

The most important thing, though, is to keep up your Spanish! Just watching or listening to the news every day would be a good start. See the following 'Resources' tab for some of the options we recommend.

Newspapers

  • El Pais – a global Spanish newspaper
  • El Mundo – Spain’s second-largest newspaper
  • La Jornada – one of Mexico’s leading newspapers
  • Página 12 – an important Argentine newspaper.

Television

Spain:

  • RTVE – Spanish national television online, full of great Spanish series, documentaries and news programmes.

Mexico:

Argentina:

Radio

Podcasts

Apps

Videos

Films and series

Netflix. There are some great series in Spanish here:

  • Money Heist (La casa de papel)
  • White Lines
  • Cocaine Coast (Fariña)
  • Narcos
  • Elite
  • Velvet
  • Cable Girls (Las chicas del cable)
  • Lo más sencillo es complicarlo todo
  • Perdida
  • Roma
  • Spanish Affair 2 (Ocho apellidos catalanes)
  • ¡Ay, mi madre!
  • Valeria
  • The Mess You Leave Behind (El desorden que dejas).

Use the browser add-on Language Learning with Netflix for translation and subtitle resources to help you learn as you watch!

  • La historia oficial – a fantastic Oscar-winning film to introduce you to Argentinian history!

Literature

In your first year you will have intensive language classes which aim to bring you up to a similar level to students who already have an A level. You will have four contact hours per week rather than three, in order to give you plenty of opportunities to practise the language and gain confidence. The following grammar book is a good reference point for this module:

We will also be using texts from other books and many online materials in Spanish. In the second semester the ab initio language classes will ensure that you have covered the same professional language as the post A level class and will also give language support for the Introduction to Spain module.

If you would like to prepare for this module before you have learnt much Spanish, there are many resources, both books and online, that cover Spanish and Latin American history, culture and society in English.

You could start with Encyclopaedia Britannica.