Learning Goals

Majors and minors in the various programs within the Department will develop competencies in three primary areas: language, linguistics, and literature.

Language

A student of one of the languages taught in the Department will achieve competency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Specific skills to be acquired for the minor include the following:

  • The ability to manage a variety of simple spoken communicative tasks and social situations;
  • The ability to understand sentence-length utterances on a variety of familiar topics in face-to-face situations
  • The ability to read simple connected texts dealing with a variety of personal and social topics
  • The ability to write short essays on familiar topics grounded in personal experience and immediate surroundings.

Specific skills to be acquired for the major include the following:

  • The ability to manage a variety of spoken communicative tasks, including discussion of topics of common interest; description and narration; expression of personal viewpoints; and presentation and support of an argument;
  • The ability to understand the main idea and important details of connected spoken discourse on a variety of topics, in situations ranging from face-to-face situations to radio and TV broadcasting;
  • The ability to understand the main idea and important details of written texts in a range of styles and registers and covering a variety of general topics;
  • The ability to write routine social correspondence using the appropriate conventions, and to write connected essays of several paragraphs in length in an appropriate linguistic register.

Linguistics

A student with a minor in one of the languages taught in the Department will achieve competency in:

  • Understanding the basic structure of the language, including its grammatical forms, writing system, and phonology;
  • Recognizing the language’s historical relationships with other languages in its geographical region;
  • Understanding the structured and hierarchical nature of linguistic systems.

A student with a major in one of the languages taught in the Department will additionally achieve competency in:

  • Understanding basic linguistic concepts and terminology in such fields as syntax, morphology, and phonology, and applying them to the analysis of the linguistic structures of the language;
  • Understanding the historical development of the language, including its historical linguistic features and dialectal development;
  • Recognizing the relationship between linguistic structures and literary forms and devices.

Literature

A student with a minor in one of the languages taught in the Department will achieve competency in:

  • Identifying major works and forms within the literary tradition;
  • Understanding the place of selected literary texts within the ongoing tradition;
  • Understanding the historical and cultural contexts of major literary forms and works;
  • Understanding the roles of literary works and literary activity within the culture; 
  • Utilizing basic research skills.

A student with a major in one of the languages taught in the Department will additionally achieve competency in:

  • Reading selected literary texts in the original;
  • Employing linguistic and philological analysis as tools for understanding literary texts;
  • Performing formal analysis of literary texts;
  • Analyzing literary texts with reference to relevant literary traditions and intertextual dynamics;
  • Analyzing literary texts with reference to their historical background and broader cultural context;
  • Practicing critical reading of primary and secondary texts;
  • Employing research and writing skills to produce formal written analysis of literary texts.