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African Languages Professor

Teach university students to speak African languages.

What does an African Languages Professor do?

When considering how to fulfill their foreign language requirement, most students think of the basics, like French, Spanish, or German. But when you’re an African Languages Professor, you open them up to the possibility of studying Dinka, Gikuyu, Amharic, or Bamanakan.

If those languages sound like made-up names, then you need to start studying. African Languages Professors work in universities, teaching students the languages and cultures of the peoples of the African continent. In order to teach their students to speak an African language, African Languages Professors themselves need to know its vocabulary and sentence structure.

You teach your students how to carry on conversations and write papers to express their thoughts. As with any language program, the earlier classes are the most basic (think learning how to say your name and asking for directions), while the latter ones will see students defending their opinions and debating politics.

Though a major part of this job is teaching language, you do more than just drill on verb endings and nitpick on tone. African language degrees also cover culture and society, so consider yourself part Language Teacher, part History Teacher, and part Sociology Teacher.

For many schools, this degree is broken down into two different areas of focus: Africa and African descendants. Depending on where you focus your research, you might teach a class on African storytelling, or hip-hop and the civil rights movement. Literature is another major aspect of a culture, and there’s room in this field if you hope to combine your love of the written word with an African language.

The basics of your job are the same as those of any Professor. You deliver lectures, give tests and assignments, and work with students to grow their knowledge. In your downtime, you grade their work and do original research of your own.