Faculty of Modern LanguagesFrench/Transcultural Studies. Literature and language contact within the francophone area

Degree programmes in Romance studies consider Romance languages, literature and cultures. The study of French focusses more particularly, on languages, literature and cultures in the French-speaking world.

Romance studies covers research and teaching across Romance languages, literature and cultures. The most significant Romance languages, which all derive from Latin, include French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Occitan, Catalan, Gaelic, Sardinian and Rhaeto-Romanic. Variants of these Romance languages, literatures and cultures are also found outside Europe, in parts of Latin America, Canada, North and South Africa. 

Degree courses in French encompass areas of French language, literature and cultural studies. In addition to content in these three areas, students attend language sessions which are taught exclusively by native speakers.

Symbolic Image French/Transcultural Studies. Literature and language contact within the francophone area

Special Features and Characteristics

  • Heidelberg University has ERASMUS agreements with seven universities in France, a cooperation agreement with the Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3; and also runs a student and teacher exchange programme with the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. 
  • internal and external links with different research centres, for example the European Linguistics Centre (Europäischen Zentrum für Sprachwissenschaften, EZS) 
  • numerous international research contacts, for example in the field of linguistics, with PRAXILING-UMR 5267 CNRS 
  • specific formats for teaching sessions  


Research in Heidelberg is conducted in the fields of linguistics or literary studies. 

The main research interests in linguistics are: 

  • language history, language change and language contact with relevance to French 
  • synchronised and diachronic analyses of syntax, semantics and morphology 
  • variational linguistics  
  • historical sociolinguistics and pragmatics, discourse linguistics 
  • language standardisation and language criticism 
  • Dictionary projects conducted by the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities for the dictionary of old French (Dictionnaire Étymologique de l'Ancien Français, DEAF) and old Gascon (Dictionnaire Onomasiologique de l'Ancien Gascon, DAG). 

Literary studies are anthropological, poetical and comparative in their approach. Primary research interests include: 

  • theatre in the Classical period and the Enlightenment 
  • Realism and Naturalism in narrative prose 
  • Modern poetry 
  • Rousseau and the French Enlightenment 
  • poetry in the nineteenth century. 
  • Gustave Flaubert 
  • Georges Bataille 
  • Maurice Blanchot 
  • literary theory 
  • hermeneutics and deconstruction 
  • transgressions between literature and philosophy 
  • psychoanalysis and literature 
  • figurative insight

Occupational Areas

Graduates of a degree programme in French may pursue a career in the following fields:  

  • teaching (German secondary school - Gymnasium) 
  • training and consulting institutions 
  • universities and research institutes 
  • media 
  • communications and translation 
  • publishing 
  • tourism 
  • and other fields in which knowledge of French language, literature and culture is of benefit.


Studierende Französische Philologie Uni Heidelberg

I have always been interested in Romance languages and in particular in the linguistic and cultural diversity of the areas in which Romance languages are spoken. I was attracted to the new Master’s degree programme at Heidelberg University due to its interdisciplinary orientation, the high academic quality and the opportunity to learn a second Romance language, such as Catalan. The academic programme focuses on contact phenomena in the fields of linguistics, cultural and literary studies as well as transcultural processes.

Tuba Bozkurt, 23, French/Transcultural Studies, 2nd semester Master