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Foreign Literature and Languages

The Department of Foreign Literature and Languages offers courses in Spanish and French language, literature, and culture, as well as language courses in Arabic, Chinese, German, and Italian. The Department also offers a Spanish major, a Spanish minor, a French major, a French minor, as well as a Spanish concentration or French concentration within the Liberal Arts major. In addition, we offer an Italian Studies interest group that offers several courses in language, culture, and history. 

The study of world languages brings you opportunities to discover new worlds and connect with other cultures. Learning another language will make a difference in how you view the world and how the world views you. It expands the outlook and interests of the educated citizen, and cultivates a spirit of tolerance and understanding. Enlightened citizenship is key to being able to function in today’s ever-shrinking world.

To be competitive on a global scale, the business world of tomorrow needs individuals who can work in a culturally diverse environment and who have strong skills in a foreign language. The knowledge of other languages is a valuable asset in the workplace of tomorrow. Workers will be called upon to cooperate with colleagues in other countries, crossing time zones, languages, and cultures.

Language study:

  1. broadens your experiences and expands your view of the world
  2. encourages critical reflection on the relation of language and culture, language and thought; fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature
  3. develops your intellect; teaches you how to learn
  4. teaches and encourages respect for other peoples
  5. contributes to cultural awareness and literacy, such as knowledge of original texts
  6. builds practical skills (for travel or commerce or as a tool for other disciplines)
  7. improves the knowledge of your own language through comparison and contrast with the foreign language
  8. exposes you to modes of thought outside of your native language
  9. a sense of relevant past, both cultural and linguistic
  10. balances content and skill (rather than content versus skill)
  11. expands opportunities for meaningful leisure activity (travel, reading, viewing foreign language films)
  12. contributes to achievement of national goals, such as economic development or national security
  13. contributes to the creation of your personality
  14. enables the transfer of training (such as learning a second foreign language)
  15. preserves (or fosters) a country’s image as a cultured nation

The above modified from Alan C. Frantz, "Seventeen Values of Foreign Language Study" (ADFL Bulletin, vol. 28, Nr.1, Fall 1996).

To see reasons for studying specific languges, see our "Reasons for Studying Specific Foreign Languages" page.