Language Programs

Sha’are Dura, University of Chicago Library

The University offers instruction in a range of ‘Jewish languages.’ Biblical Hebrew at the introductory and advanced levels is taught in both the Divinity School and in NELC. In NELC, the study of biblical Hebrew is complemented by Chicago’s traditional strengths in the Northwest Semitic languages in general and in Aramaic. Modern Hebrew is taught at three different levels of mastery in addition to literature courses on texts taught both in the original and in translation. Judaeo-Arabic is taught in NELC and in the Divinity School. Although Yiddish was originally taught in the Linguistics Department, since 2003 there has been a lectureship in Yiddish in Germanic Studies. The Yiddish program consists of elementary and intermediate language courses, as well as a course on reading Yiddish for research. In addition to formal instruction, both the Hebrew and Yiddish programs sponsor an informal Chug Ivrit and Yiddish Tisch as well as other related activities. Finally, the University of Chicago has always been and continues to be distinguished among American universities for the number of foreign languages studied and taught by its faculty. During the summer interim, the university offers Modern Hebrew for Reading and Research as part of its Summer Language Institute (for information go to For students of Jewish Studies whose interests range over communities throughout the globe, the diversity of language instruction available throughout the University is a particularly precious resource.