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Languages in the KU Slavic Department



Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian (BCMS)

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian—formerly known as Serbo-Croatian—are taught together at KU. Although they have all become official languages of their independent states, they remain understandable among each other.




Czech is the language spoken by about 10 million citizens of the Czech Republic and another 2 million or so worldwide. Czech is a Slavic language from the West-Slavic group, which also includes Polish and Slovak.




Polish language, rich in its history and literature, is spoken by more than 40 million speakers. The University of Kansas has a more than thirty-year tradition of teaching Polish language and literature.



Persian (Farsi/ Tajik)

Persian, an Indo-European language with a rich cultural and literary history, enjoys the status of official language in three countries: Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan where it is locally known as Farsi, Dari and Tajiki respectively.




Russian is spoken by upwards of 170 million people in Russia, a country that covers one eighth of the world’s landmass and that spans eleven time zones across Europe and Asia.




Slovene is spoken by approximately 2 m. people in the Republic of Slovenia and neighboring territories in Italy, Austria, and Hungary. Large Slovene-speaking communities can also be found in Argentina, Australia, Canada, and the US. KU is the only major North American university that teaches Slovene at all levels.




Turkish is spoken by roughly 150 million people all around the world. Like Finnish and Hungarian, Turkish is an agglutinative language, which means that new particles are added to the end of a base form to generate new words.




Ukrainian is an East Slavic language and is part of the larger Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken in Ukraine and in Ukrainian communities in neighboring Belarus, Russia, Poland, and Slovakia.




Yiddish is the erstwhile lingua franca of East-European (Ashkenazi) Jews and now spoken by Hasidic Jews and some traditional communities in Israel and elsewhere. The main stock of the Yiddish lexicon is German, but there are many Hebrew, Aramaic, Romance and Slavic elements.

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KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad