Institute of Language Studies


Rev Prof. Manuel Muranga John Kamugisha
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Due to the regional cooperation under the East African Community, there is a need for teaching and learning of the languages spoken in the member countries; languages such as Kiswahili, French and English, in order to ease trade, movement of people and human resource for the labour market. The need also exists in neighbouring countries such as DRC. There is a necessity for international languages in order to work in the tourist industry and international bodies.

The UN languages such as Arabic, Spanish and French are almost a must for language students at higher levels of learning. Chinese has recently gained prominence due to the fact that China has gained capacity as a world leader in trade. Runyakitara also has its place because it comprises of Bantu languages spoken in Western Uganda, Northwest Tanzania and Eastern DRC. Altogether the population that speaks these languages is estimated at 15 million. This is a big area population important for social economic development.

The location of Kabale university, with such proximity with Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) provides a unique feature for business as well as cross-cultural exchange. The Knowledge of these languages is and will always be important to this region and the world at large.

To be the nucleus of language teaching and learning in Africa.

To teach, train, carry out research, provide conducive environment for teaching and learning of national and international languages; and to offer unique language related services such as translation and interpretation.

Rev Prof. Manuel Muranga John KamugishaDirector
Institute of Language Studies
Dr. Phil. “German Literature (Goethe-Institute) German Teacher Training Seminary course, (Goethe Institute University of Munich.)
B.A. (Hons.) with Diploma in Educ (Mak).
Tumusiime AgnesAdministrative OfficerMAPAM (Kab), BOIM (Muk), Dip. Secondary Education (ITEK)CV

Welcome to the Institute of Language Studies! Human life is not possible without language. Our languages are the best vehicles of our heritage from the past and of our communication in the present and the future. At Kabale University we believe in the importance of preserving and developing our own native languages, even as we believe in the importance of learning other people’s languages.

Thus, located as we are in south-western Uganda, we teach Runyakitara (or Rukiga, Runyankore, Rutooro, Runyoro and the other Ugandan, north-western Tanzanian and eastern Congolese languages that are highly mutually intelligible with these four), plus Swahili, English and French. But we are also considering opportunities to teach German and Chinese.

In each language discipline we teach the language itself, plus the literature of the speakers of that language, as well as other aspects of the life and culture of those people. Within each discipline we teach translation theory and practice since this skill is basic for communication in our multilingual and multicultural world. For those students who are committed to their studies and do well, there are many jobs in the multidimensional language industry both locally and globally.

For those who love their mother tongues and take them seriously, there are, besides teaching in secondary schools and tertiary institutions, opportunities in drama, journalism (newspaper, radio and television), translation, editing, writing, research in areas like lexicography (dictionary making) and teaching mother tongue to foreigners. We want to “grow” our own Shakespeares, Charles Dickenses, etc. to complement what the Benedikto Mubangizi’s and Festo Karwemera’s have achieved.

We even want to be able to develop pure science, medical, engineering etc. textbooks and other works in our mother tongues. Language studies are some of the most exciting academic disciplines and they are a key to almost everything. The fact that the cross-cutting English communication proficiency course must be taken by each student in the University and even in all other universities in our country, no matter what they are studying, tells you why mastery in language is such an essential thing in determining success. Welcome to the world of languages!

Director: Prof. Manuel J.K. Muranga

The Institute of Language Studies has three departments, namely:

From 2021 -2025: Introduction of New Languages & Other Departments
The Institute of Language Studies will seek to expand even more, from three departments to four and will see the introduction of more languages. And because of this growth, it will change and become a faculty and so the new name to be: FACULTY OF LANGUAGE, MEDIA AND PERFORMING ARTS. Below is the lineup of the departments and new languages introduced:

  • Department of Foreign Languages:
    Chinese, Spanish, German Arabic and English.(These languages would attract foreign students because they are recognised by United Nations).
  • Department of Performing Arts
    Teaching drama and having a theatre space where students will perform for tourists and other guests)
  • Department of African Languages:
    a) Runyakitara which comprises of Bantu languages spoken in Western Uganda, Northwest Tanzania and Eastern DRC by about 15 million people.
    b) Kiswahili which is one of the official languages in the East African Community.
  • Department of Media and Translation Studies:
    Translation and Interpretation is one of the priorities of the government of Uganda.

Activities initiated under the Institute of Languages

  • The Kab Mirror: A quarterly newsletter that highlights important events that take place at the University and offers students a chance to write and be published.
  • Kabale University Drama and Debating club: This Club offers students a chance to express themselves in debating and also to write drama and present it.

Collaborations with other Universities.
Kabale University has a memorandum of understanding with Ngozi University of Burundi for a one-month student exchange programme in linguistic perfection course. Students from Ngozi University come to Kabale University to perfect their English language and students from Kabale University go to Ngozi University to perfect their French language.

Introduction of new programmes. In the period 2022-2025 The Faculty will now be academically strong to introduce the following:

  • PhD in Linguistics
  • PhD in Literature

Bachelors Level

  • Bachelor of Literature & Media Studies (BLMS)
  • Bachelor of Creative Writing & the Media

The following ideas will guide the growth of the Faculty of Language, Media and Performing Arts

  1. Continue with the development of International languages (Chinese, Spanish, and German, Arabic and English).
  2. The Faculty plans to increase efforts to secure partnerships/collaborations with foreign governments since these are normally interested in supporting programmes that promote their languages.
  3. The Faculty will focus on developing literature in the local languages. Faculty will encourage collaboration with the traditional promoters of local literature (for instance Mr. Karwemera Festo, Father Kanyonza, those from Ankole, Bunyoro and Toro) who are getting too old to carry on with the work and their intellectual works are not properly preserved and are in danger of disappearing.
  4. The Faculty will encourage innovation of written teaching materials in the tradition of such classics like Ninshoma, Ishe Katabazi The old language experts would work with the staff of the Faculty to enhance writing competences.
  5. The Faculty will also introduce radio &TV programmes in Kiswahili and Runyakitara, and would seek collaboration with TV West for the teaching of these languages.
  6. The Faculty will seek to develop e-learning programmes in Runyakitara which would be helpful for the youth who have grown up, for example in the diaspora and would like to learn their language as well as other people who live far from Kabale.
  7. The Faculty will also work with District Language Boards for the development of programmes in African languages
  8. The Faculty plans to encourage innovations such as language laboratories, theatre (mobile /travelling) under the new Department of Performing Arts
  9. The Faculty will also continue to strengthen collaboration with other universities following the current model with Ngozi University of Burundi. The collaboration with Ngozi University should also extend to other areas.

Infrastructure, Staffing and Research Prospects
The following are the Faculty’s main infrastructure and staff requirements as well as research prospects:

New premises to house offices and lecture rooms for the Faculty and will include the following:

  • Language Laboratory
  • Conference Hall and Library
  • A Publishing Unit
  • A radio station
  • A theatre for performing arts department

Equipment like Computers, Office furniture, and recording equipment will be provided

Transport facilities: A car for the Dean of the Faculty and a 14-seator van for general Faculty duties.

Staff development will continue as well as recruitment especially to teach new programmes in Performing Arts, Media and Translation studies.

Research agenda for the Faculty will be promoted and encouraged

Services that will be provided

  1. Engaging in consultancy services
  2. Conducting Language Proficiency Courses on a short time basis
  3. Providing translation and interpretation services
  4. Conducting Refresher Language Workshops/Seminars for secondary school teachers of Kiswahili, Runyakitara, French and English.

The Institute of Language Studies is located at Kabale University Main Campus at Kikungiri hill.
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