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Difference between revisions of "School of Languages, Literature and Communication - Makerere University"

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=====Contact Person=====
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Contact:  Medadi Erisa Ssentanda, Room UB36, Tel: +256782 333669
'''Contact''':  Medadi Erisa Ssentanda, Room UB36, Tel: +256782 333669
E-mail: ssentandam@yahoo.com.sg or ssentanda@arts.mak.ac.ug
E-mail: ssentandam@yahoo.com.sg or ssentanda@arts.mak.ac.ug

Revision as of 08:22, 16 August 2010


The Makerere University Institute of Languages is part of Makerere University.

The Institute of Languages


To train for academic excellence through the enhancement of linguistic competence and communication proficiency for authentic, national and international development.


The Institute of Languages dates back to the late 1950s when French was introduced as a degree course under, what was then, the Department of English. In the early 1960s German followed as a voluntary subject until 1967 when it became a degree course.

In 1968, a non-governmental organisation, "Survey of Language Use and Language Teaching in East Africa" sponsored by the Ford Foundation studied the situation of the indigenous languages of Uganda. As a follow-up of the study, the organisation saw the need to establish a Department of Linguistics and African Languages at the University. A proposal was made to the University and was accepted. Dr. Myers Carol Scotton, a Linguist, was recruited as the first lecturer in Linguistics and African Languages in 1968.

In July 1974, the Department of Languages as an administrative unit was created by the University Council. It comprised the subjects/sections of Linguistics and African Languages, French, German, Russian, Arabic and English Language Studies (ELS). The late Pio Zirimu was appointed the substantive Head of Department.

The basic principle behind the creation of the Department of Languages was to provide an official academic venue where European languages, Linguistics and African languages would be taught and promoted.

Today, the Ugandan Languages taught at the Institute are: Luganda, Runyakitara (i.e. Runyoro-Rutooro and Runyakore-Rukiga), Luo and Kiswahili. Lusoga-Lugwere-Lukenyi, Lumasaaba-Lusamia-Lunyole, Lugbarati-Madi and Ateso-Karimojong are planned to be introduced.

The Institute of Languages is a center of research for all other Uganda languages.

In 1994, the University Council approved the proposal to elevate the Department to the status of an Institute with effect from January 1995.

A common way to refer to the Institute is as Makerere University Institute of Languages (MUIL). Although the Institute is still part of the Faculty of Arts, it is working towards full autonomy. The Institute also administers the teaching of Communication Skills as a subject in the Institute but also as a University-wide subject. Secretarial Studies and Social Anthropology are also taught in the Institute. These were started in the academic year 1996/97. In 1998 a fully fledged Bachelors Degree in Secretarial Studies was introduced.

Courses offered at the Institute

Bachelor of Scretarial Studies Programm


This course described in the following meet the needs of managerial, administrative and secretarial personnel in public offices. On completion of the courses, graduates are equipped with concepts, methods, techniques and tools that allow them to begin a career in government ministries, international organisations or the private sector. The course's structure and content are based on the 21st Century's need to produce highly trained graduates as envisioned in the Education Review Report and Government White Paper.

The courses focus on enabling students to enhance their practical skills and widen their intellectual scope to cope with the demands of a Public Office. Students are helped to acquire efficient communication skills needed in all aspects of life. Throughout the courses there is an emphasis on the production of bilingual or multilingual personnel with excellent translation and interpretation skills.


The Luganda as a subject was introduced in 1976. The Institute of Languages offers a Bachelor of Arts (Arts) and Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree in Luganda. Luganda is taught in combination with two other subjects. Graduates have competed favourably both locally and internationally, especially in the area of education, translation services, publishing and the media. However,new social and economical challenges as well as advances in language technology and the effect of globalisation ask for new answers.

Although the Institute has a decade long experience in teaching Luganda we still face great challenges. Luganda is still not satisfactorily studied, digital language resources are very limited and overall Lugandas is not yet well described and documented.

  • To enable students of Luganda to fully acquire the four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening
  • To equip students with language description, analysis, documentation and language planning skills
  • To equip language teachers with adequate knowledge and content to handle the subject of Luganda
  • To promote interdisciplinarity within the department and the entire University
Job opportunities

Opportunities for possible employment include education, interpretation and translation, the media, publishing, social work and administration.

Contact Person

Contact: Medadi Erisa Ssentanda, Room UB36, Tel: +256782 333669

E-mail: ssentandam@yahoo.com.sg or ssentanda@arts.mak.ac.ug


Runyakitara staff: From left to right: Mr. Gilbert Gumoshabe, Mr. John Kintu, Mr.Celestino Oriikiriza, Ms. Allen Asiimwe, and Prof. Oswald Ndoleriire

Runyakitara which was started in 1990, is one of the subjects offered at the Institute of Languages. Runyakitara is a name given to the four major dialects found in Western Uganda namely Runyoro, Rutooro, Runyankore and Rukiga. Runyakitara is a language subject for a Bachelor of Arts Degree. It is offered in a combination with two other subjects. To offer Runyakitara as a subject is based on the following considerations:

  • Runyakitara is linguistically under-described and lacks language resources in from of written and digital material.,
  • There is a high demand on people being educated in Runyakitara,
  • There is a high demand for educational and other resources in Runyakitara, such as: textbooks, dictionaries, information and written material for tourists.
Aims and Objectives

Based on these considerations, the aim of Runyakitara as as subject is to train students and help them develop the following:

  • sound linguistic description
  • teaching of an indigenous language
  • translation studies
Job opportunities

Opportunities for possible employment include education, interpretation and translation, the media, publishing, social work and administration.

Contact: Allen Asiimwe, Room LB 26, Tel +256 776846984

E-mail: akanyima@yahoo.com or a.asiimwe@arts.mak.ac.ug


The Lwo family of languages consists of several dialects like Acholi, Lango, Dhopadhola, Alur and Kumam.

The language family has a large number of speakers not only in Uganda but also in Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan; thus making it an important regional language.

Native speakers of Lwo will increase their linguistic skills and deepen their understanding of Lwo as a vehicle of development and culture. Even beginners or non-native speakers of Lwo will learn an exciting new language and broaden their perspective by interacting with people from a variety of Lwo cultures. Graduates of Lwo are on high demand to work as administrators, researchers, journalists, translators, editors, publishers, writers, teachers, development workers, extension workers, community mobilisers, in political and other people- oriented jobs.

Communication Skills

Communication Skills (CSK) is an interdisciplinary course that draws on insights from a number of disciplines in the Arts and Social Sciences like English, Mass Communication, Sociology, Psychology, History, Literature and others to help develop your knowledge on how people communicate.

Communication skills prepares the students for the information age. The students will learn how to acquire, store, manipulate and use information effectively. The students will be equipped with principles that will inform their understanding of varied audiences and enable them to interact effectively with individuals and technologies. They will also learn how to process information using different media and how to create meaning about the world in a broad range of professional contexts. In addition they will acquire the essential communication skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, as well as critical thinking and analytical skills that are fundamental for all University Courses. A graduate of Communication Skills can be employed in virtually any position in the modern world that depends on information.

With a background in Communication Skills, students can excel in position of marketing, sales, advertising, public relations, development communication, journalism, interactive media, design and production, personnel administration, training, consulting, academics, research and many others.

Graduates of communication skills are therefore trained to work in any organisation that deals with people and requires knowledge of communication and information technology.

Contact: Davies Rwabu, Room UB 15, Tel: +256 712940197

E-mail: rwabu@arts.mak.ac.ug

English Language Studies(ELS)


English Language Studies (ELS) is one of the subjects offered in the Institute of Languages both at undergraduate and graduate level. The general objectives of this course are:

  • To cultivate a linguistic awareness of the English language through the application of linguistic theories and techniques, as well as through comparisons of English and the more familiar Ugandan languages.
  • To provide an opportunity for the study of English as a second language within a typical multilingual and multicultural setting of which Uganda is one example.

English is, without doubt, the number one language of the world. It is spoken, used and understood by billions all over the world. Indeed there are very few things one can do in the world today without knowledge of English. It is the language of academic scholarship, the language of international diplomacy and conferences, and it is also the official language of Uganda. The mastery of English at university level offers one a broad range of employment opportunities - both nationally and internationally - difficult to be surpassed by many other subjects.

Due to the position of English, both globally and nationally, ELS remains one of the most popular subjects in the Institute of Languages. Graduates of the subject have readily been absorbed locally in such diverse fields as the civil service, the teaching profession, publishing and the mass media.

Contact: Jackson Ssekiryango, Room UB 36, Tel +256 782962178

E-mail: jssekir@yahoo.com or ssekirya@arts.mak.ac.ug


-more soon-

Projects Office

Besides academics, the Institute of Languages provides since 1992 a number of services to a wide range of both local and foreign clients through its Projects Unit. This Institute draws on the language expertise of its members of staff and professionals to render different services in its projects unit. The unit is run by a remarkably Dedicated Projects Management Committee that markets and supervises services in the areas of:

  • Teaching Languages: English, Kiswahilli, Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese and local languages, Luganda, Runyakitara, Lwo etc.
  • Translation and Interpretation services

The Institute offers translation and interpretation services from and into both indigenous Ugandan/African and foreign languages. These include: Lwo, Luganda, Lusoga, Lumasaaba, Kiswahili, English, Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, etc.

Tailor-made course modules for
  • Effective public speaking
  • Leadership at work
  • Business communication and interpersonal relationships
  • Business and formal letter writing
  • Report writing
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Information research and documentation
  • Public relations and team work building
  • English Language Profiency Certificates

The Institute of Languages is the only place in Uganda that offers internationally recognised certificates of proficiency in English. This is an important service since most universities abroad require submission of proof of proficiency in English from students or applicants who are not native speakers of English language.