We provide Western students the skills to learn firsthand about major world societies. The department believes that the best way to understand a culture directly is through its language. The modern languages offered in the department – Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish – are spoken natively by nearly two billion people. Latin and Classical Greek provide students the tools to study directly written works that form the foundation of Western civilization. In keeping with the aim of providing the skills needed to learn about a culture, the department trains in the areas of language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically.
Holistic language learning is facilitated by modern methods and multimedia technology, as well as foreign study opportunities. The department supports the analytical instruction of language structures through a full range of language skills courses, as well as a significant number of courses in linguistics. Literary analysis is essential to a student’s understanding of the highest achievements in aesthetic expression of a culture’s values. The department provides instruction in history and culture, as well as literary theory, with an end to enabling the student to gain access to the intellectual life in the culture.
Furthermore, the department imparts skills to future language teachers so that they may similarly enable high school students to begin the acquisition of other languages. To this end the department includes specialists in language methods.
The department provides Western students the opportunity to acquire intermediate skills in three Pacific rim languages other than English and Spanish: Chinese, Japanese and Russian. The department also supports the studies of Latin and Greek, and houses the Classical Studies program. Hence, the multifaceted programs of the department provide an opening to the world through language, literature, culture and civilization. It is, therefore, a meeting place for true diversity.
The full list of language majors and minors is available on the Majors & Minors page.