Modern Languages

Language Courses at Brunel University London

Brunel offers a range of language classes to students, staff, members of the public and alumni. Our classes help participants to develop competence in the four key skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Classes are taught by qualified and experienced language teachers who create a fun and stimulating learning environment.

Our modern languages courses consist of 20 two-hour weekly sessions in 10-week blocks over two terms.


Applications for language courses in 2017-18 will open at 10am on 20 September. A link to the online application form will be posted on this site from that time. Please note that all other information on the Modern Languages website is currently being updated and will be available by the end of August. 



Why learn a new language?

  • To develop and expand your communication skills

  • To gain an insight into other cultures

  • To develop an international network

  • To prepare for an international exchange programme

  • To prepare for an international work placement

  • To gain a competitive advantage in the global job market

Which languages are offered?

Modern Standard Arabic

Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with approximately 250 million native speakers and over 200 million non-native speakers worldwide. It is the official language of the 22 member states of the Arab League. The "formal" Arabic language, known as Classical Arabic, is the language found in the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an. Nowadays, this form of Arabic is considered more of a written language than a spoken one.

Modern Standard Arabic is similar but easier than Classical Arabic. It is understood and used across the Arab world and is the main language of the media, television presenters and politicians, and it is also generally the version which is taught in Arabic as a foreign language contexts. In the western world at present, the demand for Arabic speakers and translators far outstrips the current supply, meaning Arabic is a very useful language to know. The Middle East is also one of the world's fastest growing economic areas. 

You can study Arabic at Level 1 Standard and Fast Track.


French is spoken as a native language by around 80 million people worldwide, and by approximately 190 million people as a foreign language. It is an official language in 29 countries and is the third most widely spoken language in the European Union. French is the language of origin for many English words, so it is likely that English speakers are already au fait with many items of French vocabulary.

You can study French at Levels 1-4.


If you would like to check your current level of French, you can take a short online test here.


German is spoken by around 100 million native speakers and 80 million non-native speakers. It is the official language of Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein, and it is one of the official languages of Switzerland. It has the most native speakers within the Europe Union, and is the most widely known second language after English. German and English are both West Germanic languages, so there are many similarities between English and German.

German is important for those interested in business, finance and economics, with Germany’s economy now the largest in the European Union. It is also a useful language for scientists and engineers, as the German-speaking countries produce a large amount of scientific research.

You can study German at Levels 1-4.

If you would like to check your current level of German, you can take a short online test here.



Italian is spoken as a native language by around 60-70 million people worldwide, with another 40-50 million speaking it as an additional language. Italian is the official language of Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City, and it is also one of the official languages of Switzerland. Italian has historically been dominant in areas such as food, architecture, music and literature, so there are many items of vocabulary in these domains which have their roots in Italian.

You can study Italian at Levels 1 and 2.


Japanese is spoken by around 130 million people. As well as in Japan itself, Japanese-speaking communities are to be found throughout South East Asia and as far afield as Brazil and Hawaii. Japan is one of the largest economies in the world, particularly noted for its strengths in areas such as business, engineering, manufacturing, research and economics. 

Japanese culture is popular throughout the world. Japanese is the third most spoken native language amongst Internet users. Many Japanese words are now widely used in English, such as honcho, futon, manga, tycoon, and karaoke (lit: empty orchestra).

You can study Japanese at Levels 1-3.


Around one in five of the world’s population speaks a form of Chinese. Mandarin is by far the most widely spoken version, with an estimated 885 million speakers worldwide. It is the official language of the People's Republic of China, the world's most populated country. With China fast emerging as a new economic superpower, there has never been a better or more profitable time to learn this language. 

You can study Mandarin at Levels 1 and 2.


Brazilian Portuguese

Portuguese is the seventh most spoken language in the world, with around 215 million native speakers worldwide. Around half of the total population of South America speaks Portuguese as a first language. It is spoken in the eight member states of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP): Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, The Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and East Timor. It is also an official language of Macau, along with Cantonese.

You can study Brazilian Portuguese at Levels 1 and 2.



Russian is the most widely spoken native language in Europe, with more than 275 million people speaking it as either a primary or secondary language. Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and is a lingua franca throughout Eastern Europe, a legacy of Russia's superpower status. It has been estimated that 60–70% of all information is published in both English and Russian. Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is also published in Russian. Around 10% of Russian words are internationalisms, and are therefore similar to English words. There are also many loan words from Italian, German and French, so you will be at an advantage if you already know any of these languages.

You can study Russian at Levels 1 and 2.


Spanish is one of the world's most widely spoken languages, with an estimated 500 million people either native speakers or fluent non-native speakers. Spanish is the official language of Spain and it also enjoys official language status in many Central and South American countries, which were former Spanish colonies. The USA is also seeing a growing number of Spanish speakers among its population, mainly due to immigration from its southern neighbours. In Africa, Spanish is spoken in Equatorial Guinea and in the Western Sahara.

You can study Spanish at Levels 1-4.

If you would like to check your current level of Spanish, you can take a short online test here.


The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

A: Basic user

A1 – Breakthrough

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

A2 – Waystage

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

B: Independent user

B1 – Threshold

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

B2 – Vantage

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

C: Proficient user

C1 – Effective Operational Proficiency

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

C2 – Mastery

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

Modern Languages timetable

Language Course and Level Day Time Room Allocation
Arabic 1   Monday  4pm - 6pm LECT106 (Except Week 7* = LECT216)
  Monday  6pm - 8pm LECT106  
Arabic Fast Track   Tuesday  6pm - 8pm LECT211
French 1   Monday  4pm - 6pm LECT214 
  Monday  6pm - 8pm
French 2   Wednesday  4pm - 6pm LECT108
  Wednesday  6pm - 8pm
French 3   Thursday  4pm - 6pm LECT215
French 4   Thursday  6pm - 8pm LECT215
German 1   Monday  4pm - 6pm Weeks 2-7* = LECT113,  Weeks 8-11* = LECT217 
  Monday  6pm - 8pm LECT113   
German 2   Thursday  4pm - 6pm LECT112
German 3   Thursday  6pm - 8pm LECT112
German 4   Monday  2pm - 4pm RUSL121
  Tuesday  4pm - 6pm LECT015
Italian 1   Tuesday  6pm - 8pm LECT209
  Wednesday  4pm - 6pm LECT215
Italian 2   Wednesday  6pm - 8pm LECT215
Japanese 1   Monday  4pm - 6pm Weeks 2-6* = LECT217, Weeks 7-11* = LECT116 
  Wednesday  2pm - 4pm LECT207
 Thursday  4pm - 6pm LECT114
Japanese 2   Monday  6pm - 8pm LECT217  
Japanese 3   Thursday  6pm - 8pm LECT114
Mandarin 1   Monday  6pm - 8pm RUSL119 
 Tuesday  3pm - 5pm LECT109 (Except Week 10* = LECT215)
Mandarin 2   Monday  4pm - 6pm RUSL119 (Except Week 10* = LECT113)
Portuguese 1   Monday  6pm - 8pm LECT116  
Portuguese 2   Monday  4pm - 6pm Weeks 2-6* = LECT116, Weeks 7 & 9-11* = LECT115,                     Week 8* = LECT216  
Russian 1   Monday  4pm - 6pm LECT212 (Except Weeks 5 & 8* = LECT209)
Russian 2   Monday  6pm - 8pm LECT212  
Spanish 1   Monday  6pm - 8pm LECT213
  Tuesday  6pm - 8pm LECT213
  Wednesday  4pm - 6pm LECT211
Spanish 2   Wednesday  6pm - 8pm LECT211
Spanish 3   Thursday  4pm - 6pm LECT117
Spanish 4   Thursday  6pm - 8pm LECT117




How to apply

All applications are submitted online via our website. Applications for September 2016 have now closed. Please note there will not be any new courses starting in January. The next intake will be Autumn 2017.


If you have a query please email and we will reply to you as soon as possible.



Academic year 2016-17

Course Length

Brunel Students

Brunel Staff/Alumni

External Applicants

40 hours

FREE (a cancellation fee of £100 will be charged for course withdrawals after 1pm on 14 October and if attendance is below 80% without satisfactory evidence to excuse absence)

£150   £295


We regret that fees are non-refundable if you have to withdraw from the course.






SLTA nomination for Modern Languages tutor

 Mayumi Oyagi 


Congratulations to Mayumi Oyagi who was nominated as Tutor of the year in the Student Led Teaching awards!

The awards, which are now in their fifth year, recognise and celebrate some of the amazing achievements and inspirational work of our lecturers and staff.

Mayumi was nominated for her fantastic work as a Japanese tutor here in the modern languages department. Here is why she was nominated:

"She is the most enthusiastic and energetic teacher I have ever had. Oyagi Sensei makes our class positive and entertained whilst learning the beautiful language Japanese. Every lesson is an actual joy to attend as she is very organised which inspires me to be the same.

She respects us and we respect her which is very important to me. She does not treat us like children and is always within easy reach via email. She is by far my most favourite teacher at Brunel and I think she deserves this award the most. Oyagi sensei arigtou gozaimashita!"

Page last updated: Friday 18 August 2017