Language is an inherent part of the human condition. It is a fact of consciousness, a mode of being, an intentional and intellectual structuring of reality. Foreign language study engages the entire person. It improves understanding of one's own language through comparison and identification of linguistic structures. It increases intellectual capacity by exercising analytical and synthetical faculties: memory, attention, willpower, and self-discipline. It helps to exercise discrimination in the choice of words and to develop the ownership of a most valuable possession, a language sense, the feeling for correct form, for the exact word, for an elegant style; a skill that transfers into the student's daily use of English.
Through a two-year sequence of courses in Chinese, French, German, Russian or Spanish, emphasizing understanding, speaking, reading, and writing, the department seeks to develop linguistic skill and provide cultural enrichment.
In addition to regular classes, students attend native speaker sessions once a week to improve their spoken command of the language they are studying. The native speaker program complements classroom study of a foreign language by giving students the opportunity to use the target language in a setting that models real-life situations.
In small groups that are relaxed and conducive to interaction, students develop their speaking and listening skills as they converse with one another and with a native speaker whose voice, vocabulary and cultural background help to provide a mini-immersion experience that can foster fluency and confidence in speaking the target language.
During the junior year or during the summer, a student may take advantage of approved study abroad programs in Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Vienna, Madrid, Valencia, Granada, Geneva, Montreal, Mexico, Heidelberg, Saint Petersburg, Salzburg, and other cities.
The Modern Languages and Literatures Department has access to several study abroad programs for both majors and non-majors. For details, contact your language professor and the Office of Academic Advisement.