About the Department

Instruction in eleven modern languages is offered through the Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Yiddish

In addition to language courses for second language learners, we offer several types of specialized courses such as:

  • Courses for heritage speakers of Spanish (SPHS).
  • Accelerated Portuguese for Speakers of Spanish (or other Romance Languages)
  • Accelerated courses in German, Italian, and Spanish for especially motivated students or those with some prior knowledge of the language
  • Applied Linguistics (APLX) courses that cover a variety of topics including second language teaching, inter-cultural communication, language and gender, discourse analysis, and more.

For most languages, the sequence of courses begins in the fall. Some languages offer entry-level courses in other quarters as well; please check the schedule of classes for details.

Our language courses give priority to the development of students' ability to function in the language in actual communicative settings and to create meaningful written and oral discourse in the target language. In addition to the development of productive and receptive language skills, we also emphasize the study of cultural values pertaining to the communities of speakers where the language is spoken. In the process, we aim to foster the development of other skills essential to language learning, such as learning strategies, and analytical, synthetic and critical thinking skills that are fundamental in the overall academic learning process.

Language learning provides students with the means to access information in a wide range of areas of intellectual inquiry and interpersonal communication. This experience not only adds enormously to a student's cognitive development but it is also instrumental for future professions.