Jul 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalogue 
2023-2024 Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Modern Languages and Literatures

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Chairperson: Jaime A. Orrego

Professors: Susanne M. Rossbach; Associate Professors: Elizabeth S. Fouts, Lourdes N. Jimenez, Jaime A. Orrego; Assistant Professors: Rebecca Crisafulli, Christine M. Kenison, Inés Vaño-García; Instructors: Marigen Learnard, Carmen M. Sullivan; Lecturers: Morgan Lynch, Susan Mazzeo, Jessie Tsai.

Native Speakers: Nadiya Babina, Claire-Hélène Gaudissart, Silvana Gomez, Ling Lu, Mikaela Noreng, Maria Teresa Peguri, Robert Perreault, Maidenar Ponce, Sonia Urbina



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 synthetic 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 three-semester 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 are required to attend Native Speaker sessions once a week. 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 the summer, a student may take advantage of approved study abroad programs in Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Vienna, Madrid, Valencia, Granada, Geneva, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Chile, Berlin, 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 Study Abroad Office.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has three majors and six affiliated minors:  Majors in French, German Studies and Spanish; minors in Asian Studies (Chinese), French, German, Russian Area Studies, Spanish, and Spanish for Nursing Majors. A major in Modern Languages and Literatures will look different for each individual student, depending on the incoming level of language proficiency and the major language chosen.  Upon entry into the College, each student will take a placement exam that indicates the appropriate level of language at which a student should commence their language studies.  Modern Language and Literatures majors are encouraged to explore minors and/or double majors in the first few semesters of their college studies and should utilize their elective courses strategically to this end.  

All three majors in Modern Languages and Literatures (French, German Studies and Spanish) have a minimum of eight advanced courses required to complete the major.  Most students will achieve the level of advanced language proficiency by their Sophomore Year.  Once students begin their language studies at the advanced level, careful planning will provide the student with ample time to complete either a double major or a minor in other fields. During the Junior Year, most language majors will choose to study abroad.  Study abroad also requires thorough preparation, as students are encouraged to spend a semester or even a full academic year in a country where their chosen language is spoken.  In the Senior Year students will take their most advanced language courses, concentrating on Special Topics and Senior Seminars and they will take their Comprehensive Exams for the major.  Those students who are seeking teacher certification will complete their student teaching during the second semester of their senior year.  

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