Preliminary Examination in Modern Languages

A

The languages, subjects, and papers in the examination shall be as prescribed by regulation from time to time by the Board of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages.

B

Not more than two languages may be offered.

  • 1. The languages which may be offered shall be Latin and Greek and those languages which may be offered in the Final Honour School of Modern Languages.1 Candidates who offer both Latin and Ancient Greek shall be deemed to be offering one ancient language. Candidates for whom it is appropriate shall pass at the end of their first year of study the examination in Greek or Latin prescribed for first-year candidates in Course II of Honour Moderations in Classics and English, before proceeding to offer papers in the Preliminary Examination for Modern Languages in accordance with the following regulations in their second year of study.

  • 2. The subjects of the examination shall be:

    • (a) Language papers (including certification of attendance and participation in oral classes2);

    • (b) Literature papers;

    • (c) Classics and Modern Languages

    • (d) Linguistics (available exclusively for candidates admitted to read for the Final Honour School of Modern Languages and Linguistics);

    • (e) Further Topics (for candidates taking French, German, Spanish or Russian sole only);

    • (f) Russian Course B (ab initio);

    • (g) German Course B (ab initio).

  • 3. A candidate shall be deemed to have passed the examination if they shall have satisfied the Examiners

    either (i) in all papers in both subjects (a) Language and (b) Literature in each of two languages, at least one of the languages being modern;

    or (ii) in all papers in both subjects (a) Language and (b) Literature in one modern language (other than Czech (with Slovak) or Celtic) and in all papers in subject (d) Linguistics (available exclusively for candidates admitted to read for the Final Honour School in Modern Languages and Linguistics);

    or (iii) in all papers in both subjects (a) Language and (b) Literature in French, German, Spanish or Russian and in all three papers in subject (e) Further Topics in the same language (French, German, Spanish or Russian/Slavonic);    

    or (iv) in all papers in both subjects (a) Language and (b) Literature in French, German, Spanish or Russian and in two papers (XI and XII) in subject (e) Further Topics in the same language (French, German, Spanish or Russian/Slavonic) and in one paper (XIII) in subject (e) Further Topics in Polish;

    or (v) in all papers in both subjects (a) Language and (b) Literature in one modern language and in all papers in subject (f) Russian Course B (ab initio) or German Course B (ab initio).

Candidates must offer all the papers at one examination, provided that a candidate who has previously failed to satisfy the examiners in any paper or papers shall not be required to resit any paper or papers in which he or  she has already satisfied the examiners. The pair of papers IIA and IIB (and BIIA and BIIB) counts as a single paper.

  • 4. To a candidate who has done work of special merit in the papers concerned, the Moderators may award a mark of distinction in a language, and in Further Topics, and in Linguistics. A candidate may be awarded either one or two distinctions. A candidate receiving distinction in both parts of their examination may receive an overall distinction.

  • 5. Candidates must offer:

    Either: I, IIA, IIB, III, IV in two modern languages:

    Or: I, IIA, IIB, III, IV in a modern language together with V, VI, and VII in Latin and/or Ancient Greek;

    Or: I, IIA, IIB, III, IV in a modern language together with VIII, IX, and X in Linguistics.

    Or: I, IIA, IIB, III, IV in French, German, Spanish or Russian together with XI, XII, and XIII in the same language  (French, German, Spanish, Russian/Slavonic). (For candidates offering French, German, Spanish or Russian sole.)

    Or: I, IIA, IIB, III, IV in French, German, Spanish or Russian together with XI and XII in the same language and Polish XIII. (For candidates offering French, German, Spanish or Russian sole with Polish.)

  • Or: I, IIA, IIB, III, IV in a modern language together with BI, BIIA, BIIB, BIII; and BIV Oral Test (for candidates admitted to Russian Course B) or BI, BIIA, BIIB, BIII Oral Test and BIV (for candidates admitted to German Course B).

  • 6.a. Language papers

  • I. Language I. 3 hours.

[See Table 18]

  • II. Language II. The paper will be in two parts of 1½ hours each.

[See Table 19

  • b. Literature papers

  • III. Literature I. 3 hours.

Texts for study will be specified in the relevant modern language’s Prelim course handbook.

  • IV. Literature II: Prescribed texts. 3 hours.

Texts for study will be specified in the relevant modern language's Prelim course handbook.

  • c. Classics and Modern Languages paper

  • Latin and Ancient Greek

    Any candidate whose native language is not English may bring a bilingual (native language to English) dictionary for use in any examination paper where candidates are required to translate Ancient Greek and/or Latin texts into English.

    1. Course I.

  • Papers V, VI and VII: Candidates will be required to take papers identical with papers 3, 4, and 5 for the Preliminary Examination in Classics and English, Course I.

  • For prescribed editions of texts, see the Classics and Modern Languages Handbook.

  • 2. Course II.

    Candidates for Course II shall be required:

  • (a) to pass at the end of their first year of study the examination in Greek and Latin prescribed for first-year candidates in Course II of the Preliminary Examination in Classics and English.

  • (b) during their second year of study, to offer papers as for Course I.

  • d.Linguistics

  • VIII.General Linguistics. 3 hours.

    Candidates will be expected to be familiar with the development of contemporary linguistic theory, both synchronic and historical, and be able to discuss problems and issues in areas including semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition and language change.

  • IX.Phonetics and Phonology. 3 hours.

    Candidates will be expected to be familiar with principles and practice in the analysis, classification, and transcription of speech, as applied to languages in general, but with an emphasis on European languages.

  • X.Grammatical Analysis. 3 hours.

    Candidates will be expected to be familiar with modern grammatical theory, in particular as applied to the analysis of European languages.

  • e.Further Topics

  • XI. Further Topics I: 3 hours

  • Films for study will be specified in the relevant modern language's Prelims course handbook.

  • French: Introduction to French Film Studies:

  • German: Introduction to German Film Studies:

  • Spanish: Introduction to Hispanic Film Studies

  • Russian/Slavonic: Introduction to Russian Film Studies

  • XII. Further Topics II: 3 hours

  • Texts for study will be specified in the relevant modern language's Prelim course handbook.

  • French: Introduction to French Literary Theory

  • German: Introduction to German Medieval Studies

  • Spanish: Introduction to Spanish Medieval Studies

  • Russian/Slavonic: Russian Church Slavonic Texts and Elements of Comparative Slavonic Philology

  • XIII. Further Topics III: 3 hours

  • Texts for study will be specified in the relevant modern language’s Prelim course handbook.

  • French: Key Texts in French Thought:

  • German: Key Texts in German Thought:

  • Spanish: Introduction to Short Fiction in Spanish 

  • Russian/Slavonic: Elementary Polish

  • f. Russian Course B: for students who enter Oxford without A level or equivalent level knowledge of Russian

  • BI Translation from English into Russian and Russian grammar exercises.

    BIIA Translation from Russian into English.

    BIIB Comprehension of a passage of written Russian.

    BIII Dictation and Aural Comprehension.

    BIV Oral Test.

  • g. German Course B: for students who enter Oxford without A level or equivalent level knowledge of German

  • BI Reading Comprehension and Essay in German.

  • BIIA Translation into German.

  • BIIB Translation from German.

  • BIII Oral Test.

  • BIV German Prose. Texts for study will be specified in the German Prelim course handbook.

Table 18

French:

The paper will consist of: (a) French grammar (20 short sentences for translation into French); (b) A summary in French of a passage of analytical or critical writing in French.

German:

‘Deutsche Gesellschaft und Kultur seit 1890.’ Reading comprehension (in German) on a passage which relates to the theme of the paper. One essay in German on a topic relating to the theme of the paper.

Italian:

The paper will consist of: (a) audio or video listening comprehension exercises; (b) reading comprehension exercises; (c) one guided essay in Italian.

Spanish:

The paper will consist of: (a) translation into Spanish: a set of grammatical sentences. 1½ hours will be allowed for each part.

Portuguese:

The paper will consist of: (a) audio or visual listening comprehension exercises; (b) translation into Portuguese; (c) a guided composition; (d) linguistic tests.

Russian:

Translation into Russian and/or exercises in Russian.

Modern Greek:

Translation into Modern Greek and exercises in Modern Greek.

Czech (with Slovak):

(a) a modern English prose passage; and (b) English sentences testing basic grammar, both to be translated into either Czech or Slovak.

Celtic:

(a) a modern English prose passage; and (b) English sentences testing basic grammar, both to be translated into Welsh.

Table 19

French:

Unprepared translation: Translation into English of a prose passage in French.

 

Prepared translation: Translation into English of a passage from one of the texts prescribed for French paper IV, excluding La Chastelaine de Vergi.

German:

IIA. Translation into German of a prose passage.

 

IIB. Translation from German of a prose passage in a modern literary register.

Italian:

IIA. Translation into Italian of a prose passage or sentences.

 

IIB. Translation from Italian. A passage of modern prose will be set.

Spanish:

IIA. Translation from Spanish of a prose passage in a modern literary register.

 

IIB. Translation from Spanish of a prose passage in an informal register such as journalism.

Portuguese:

IIA. Translation from Portuguese of a prose passage in a modern literary register.

 

IIB. Translation from Portuguese of a prose passage in an informal register such as journalism, and an exercise or exercises in reading comprehension.

Russian:

IIA. Translation from Russian. A passage of modern prose will be set.

 

IIB. Comprehension exercise. A modern passage in the language will be set to test comprehension. All answers in this paper will be in English.

Modern Greek:

IIA. Translation from Modern Greek. A passage of modern prose will be set.

 

IIB. Comprehension exercises. A modern passage or passages in the language will be set to test comprehension. All answers in this paper will be in English.

Czech (with Slovak):

IIA and IIB. One passage of modern prose in each paper for translation from Czech into English.

 

Celtic:

IIA. A passage of Middle Welsh prose to be translated into English.

 

IIB. A passage of Old Irish prose or a passage of Modern Welsh prose to be translated into English.

1 Czech (with Slovak) and Celtic may not be available in every year.

2 Colleges will submit to the Undergraduate Studies Officer, Faculty of Modern Languages, 41 Wellington Square, by noon on Friday of Week 5 of Trinity Term a certificate stating that their candidates have attended and participated in at least eight oral classes, consisting of reading aloud and discussion in their languages(s) of passages dealing with issues in contemporary culture.