Does academic English employ a concise/idiomatic term corresponding to the Russian term словесные дисциплины (literally, "verbal subjects")?

The Russian term is from 19th century academic circles (well, it is still used) and included the teaching of reading/writing/rhetoric + foreign languages.

Is there a good, overarching academic field or recognized English term that covers them all together, as far as education is concerned?

  • 1
    Словестность is sometimes translated as philology (study of languages and literature) which is kind of sort of that.
    – theUg
    Feb 24 '13 at 17:43
  • @Quassnoi, I don’t think it’s a mere translation question, but how to semantically better convey certain word or phrase if the dictionary translation is unclear or lacking.
    – theUg
    Feb 24 '13 at 17:45
  • @Andrew: In the USA they are reading, 'riting, & 'rithmetic too.
    – user21497
    Feb 25 '13 at 13:40
  • @Quassnoi I don't see how when "verbal subjects" helps (it's too broad), and the incorrect definition of the 3 Rs doesn't help either. "Language skills" might possibly fit, but it depends on understanding what the Russian phrase actually means. This came up briefly in ELU Chat yesterday.
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 25 '13 at 13:48
  • 2
    A term which appears to be used fairly widely in US primary and secondary schools (K-12) is Language Arts. Feb 25 '13 at 14:01

There's no 'official' term on this side of the Atlantic, perhaps because education is less centralized in the US than in Europe.

In the upper reaches of the educational ladder there's a long tradition of awarding honorary doctorates in "Humane Letters" (Litterarum humanarum doctor: DHL or LHD), but I don't find anywhere a Faculty or Department of Humane Letters.

In primary and secondary schools the term Language Arts is gaining currency, though it appears to be used more of instruction at levels below high school. Language Arts, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English, describes itself as "a professional journal for elementary and middle school teachers and teacher educators."

  • The original Q&A on History.SE that necessitated my needing to find the term concerned education of pupils of school ages, therefore Language Arts is quite appropriate based on the details you provided. Thanks!
    – DVK
    Feb 25 '13 at 15:28

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