Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Chair: Richard Reitsma, PhD

Introduction

Our primary mission is to instill an awareness of language as an essential element of our thought processes, perceptions, and self-expressions. As recent world events have demonstrated, deep cultural knowledge and linguistic competence are necessary if one wishes to understand other people and their communities. We seek to provide students with the skills and intellectual breadth needed to communicate effectively and to play an active role in today’s world. The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures offers majors and minors in French, German, Spanish, and Arabic (minor only) as well as instruction in Chinese, Italian, Polish, and American Sign Language. Language study combines uniquely with virtually any major; but of particular interest and practicality are dual majors with International Business and Marketing, International Relations, Bilingual Education, and Biology. Skills in a foreign language are often the deciding factor in an employer’s choice between our graduates and equally qualified but monolingual peers. Language majors pursue rewarding careers in social work, international business, government service, teaching, interpreting, and scientific research, to mention but a few of the many exciting possibilities.

Over the course of the semester, each student in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures participates in or attends two cultural events or activities outside regular class time. Please consult the department for a listing of these offerings.

Qualifications

Each language course offered in the department must be completed with a grade of C or better in order to proceed to the next level. Any course with a grade of C- or below must be repeated. A placement exam, in combination with high school language experience, IB or AP exam scores, etc. will determine initial placement in the course sequences.

Advisement

All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Major advisors are normally assigned in the sophomore year, but may be requested in the freshman year to supplement a student's freshman advisor (their GRIF 101 facilitator). Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

 Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures majors are required to study abroad for a minimum of four consecutive weeks in a formal pre-approved program in the target language. Consultation with a department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures academic advisor is required prior to study abroad.

Dual Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a dual major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.

Additional information about dual majors is provided in the Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures curriculum information.

Minors

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

Native Speaker

Students who are native speakers of languages other than English may pursue a major in their native language.  These students usually begin at the 300-level language courses.

Native speakers of languages other than English receive a language requirement waiver for other programs requiring a certain level of language proficiency if they are able to provide documentation of their native speaker status. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to, a school diploma received from a country where the language of instruction is not English or an internationally recognized examination certifying language abilities.

Majors

The Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department offers majors in three languages. Study abroad is required for all language majors.  There are a variety of study abroad options that are detailed in the description of each major.

The curriculum for a language major may be altered if students are double majoring.  All language majors must complete a study abroad experience.  Students majoring in two different languages must complete a study abroad experience in both languages.

Curriculum for Students Majoring in a Single Language

Single language majors are required to complete twelve courses in a primary language and four courses in a second language at any level. The requirements are:

Two Intermediate Level (200-level) Courses 16
Three Intermediate-High Level Conversation and Composition Courses9
Seven Advanced Level Courses21
Total Credits36
1

Students who begin language study at the 300-level may substitute additional electives in lieu of the intermediate (200) level courses.  Thus, students will take the same number of courses as other majors.

Curriculum for Students Pursuing Dual Majors

Curriculum for Students Majoring in Two Languages

Two Intermediate Courses (200-level) in the First Language 16
Three Intermediate-High Level Conversation and Composition Courses in the First Language9
Five Advanced Level Courses in the First Language15
Two Intermediate Level Courses (200-level) in the Second Language 16
Three Intermediate-High Level Conversation and Composition Courses in the Second Language9
Three Advanced Level Courses in the Second Language9
Total Credits54
1

Students who begin language study at the 300-level may substitute additional electives in lieu of the intermediate (200) level courses.  Thus, students will take the same number of courses as other majors.

Curriculum for Students Double Majoring in a Language and in Education

Two Intermediate Level (200-level) Courses 16
Three Intermediate-High Level Conversation and Composition Courses9
Seven Advanced Level Courses21
Total Credits36
1

For students double majoring in a language and Adolescence Education, the 200-level language courses are waived if students start at the 300-level.  Thus, students only need 10 language courses to complete the major.  For students double majoring in a language and Childhood Education, students must complete a total of 10 language courses.  So if students begin at the 300-level credits, they must complete two additional electives in lieu of the 200-level courses. 

Curriculum for Students Double Majoring in a Language and in Any Other Discipline (other than another language or Adolescence Education)

Two Intermediate Level (200-level) Courses 16
Three Intermediate-High Level Conversation and Composition Courses9
Five Advanced Level Courses15
Total Credits30
1

Students who begin language study at the 300-level may substitute additional electives in lieu of the intermediate (200) level courses.  Thus, students will take the same number of courses as other majors.

The language minor is an interdisciplinary program aimed at developing Intermediate language skills and broad cultural understandings. It is designed with flexibility in order to accommodate students’ personal and professional interests. Language and cultural studies minors prove to be important assets when seeking employment or applying to graduate schools. It also provides an incentive for students to study in upper division language and literature courses. Students who reach the intermediate level of French, German or Spanish have the opportunity of studying in Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, and Spain.

Students must complete six courses for Language and Culture Minor programs in French, German,  Spanish and Arabic.

Up to two of these courses can be replaced by two FRC/GER/SPA electives or two approved courses from other departments or two approved courses from study abroad. Pre-approved Internships and Campus Ministry service trips may count toward a minor. All electives from other departments are subject to DMLLC pre-approval, such as courses in PSC, LAS, IR, HIST, or HON.

American Sign Language (ASL)
Arabic (ARBC)
Chinese (CHI)
French (FRC)
German (GER)
Italian (ITA)
Polish (POL)
Portuguese (PORT)
Spanish (SPA)

American Sign Language (ASL)

ASL 103 American Sign Language I 3 Credits

Introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), its structure, major grammatical features and language functions. Vocabulary acquisition. Captioning and telecommunication devices. Deaf cultural information. Deaf co-teacher and deaf consultants.

Offered: every fall.

ASL 104 American Sign Language II 3 Credits

Builds on basic American Sign Language (ASL) grammar and conversational skills. Increases expressive/receptive fluency. Linguistic and cultural ASL concepts are expanded and deaf traditions studied. Deaf co-teacher and deaf consultants.

Prerequisite: ASL 103.

Offered: spring.

Chinese (CHI)

CHI 103 Introductory Chinese I 3 Credits

Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Chinese culture. Course aim is for almost exclusive use of Chinese in class.

Offered: fall.

CHI 104 Introductory Chinese II 3 Credits

Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Chinese culture. Course aim is for almost exclusive use of Chinese in class.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in CHI 103.

Offered: spring.

Italian (ITA)

ITA 103 Introductory Italian I 3 Credits

Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Italian culture. Course aim is for almost exclusive use of Italian in class.

Offered: fall.

ITA 104 Introductory Italian II 3 Credits

Continuation of ITA 103. Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Italian culture. Course aim is for almost exclusive use of Italian in class.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in ITA 103 or permission of chair.

Offered: spring.

ITA 215 Intermediate Italian 3 Credits

Continued development in writing, listening, speaking and especially reading Italian literary and cultural material. Comprehensive grammar review. Continued aim of almost exclusive use of Italian in class.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in ITA 104.

Offered: fall.

Polish (POL)

POL 102 Survival Polish 1 Credit

Designed specifically for participants in the Campus Ministry annual trip to Poland. The goals for the course are directly related to the environment in which students work: summer camp for children.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Offered: spring.

Portuguese (PORT)

PORT 103 Intro Brazilian Portuguese I 3 Credits

The main purpose of this course is to learn basic Brazilian Portuguese language skills through meaningful conversation and writing exercises in the classroom, to practice speaking and to enjoy learning about the Brazilian culture and people.

Offered: fall.

PORT 104 Intro Brazilian Portuguese II 3 Credits

Second in sequence to build on vocabulary and grammar in PORT 103 learning basic Brazilian Portuguese language skills through meaningful conversation and writing exercises in the classroom, to practice speaking and to enjoy learning about the Brazilian culture and people.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in PORT 103 or permission of chair.

Offered: spring.