2015-2016 Catalog 
    May 23, 2024  
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Languages and Cultures

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  • Professor: Robert von Dassanowsky
  • Professors Emeriti: Douglas McKay and John Miller
  • Professor Emerita: Inez Dolz-Blackburn
  • Associate Professors: Edgar Cota-Torres, Fernando Feliu-Moggi, Teresa Meadows (Chair), and Maria Sergia Steen
  • Assistant Professor, Attendant Rank: Donna A. Moraco
  • Senior Instructors: Andrea Brehm, Suzanne Cook, John Covell, Carmen Frank, Blanca Glisson, Maria Goni, Rieko McAdams, and Maura Rainey 
  • Senior Instructor Emerita: Ilse Stratton

The University of Colorado considers the study of languages an essential part of a sound liberal education. Competence in a language other than English not only promotes international understanding and communication, but also increases students’ career opportunities in commerce and finance, diplomacy, library science, education, social work, publishing, communication, scientific and technical research, and the arts. It also prepares them for graduate school, which normally requires proficiency in at least one foreign language. Students might consider taking language classes, minoring in a language, or completing the certificate in European Studies as excellent complements to their major. 

Courses of Study

Basic courses are also offered in Arabic, Chinese, Greek (Classic or Koiné), Italian, Latin and Russian. Courses in Greek and Latin satisfy requirements in the Classics minor. Students desiring to major in American Sign Language, French, German and Japanese may do so through a Distributed Studies major  or by completing requirements for the major in French or German at the Boulder campus, by approval of the appropriate Boulder department.

Language courses at the 1000 and 2000 levels introduce students to essentials of grammar, reading, oral fluency, and aural comprehension, as well as to a general understanding of the cultural context. Courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels are taught almost exclusively in the language and help students develop higher levels of competency and application of all language skills assessed through and practiced in a broad cultural and historic context.

Foreign culture studies courses are designed to give students the opportunity to explore different facets of foreign culture, film, and literature in courses, including on-site experiences.

Study Abroad

The department strongly recommends that all majors and minors include study in a setting where the language of concentration is spoken. Credit earned will normally count toward satisfaction of the major/minor requirements, but the student must see the department chair before enrolling in an external study program to assure full transfer of credit. The Department offers opportunities for study abroad in Spanish, French and German. The Education Abroad office can help explore additional options. Additional options for study abroad are available through the National Student Exchange Program.

Additional Language Courses

A language of intense historical, cultural and strategic importance in the contemporary world and the official language of twenty-two countries, Arabic is a strong corollary to studies in the arts, business, diplomacy, literature, history and philosophy.

Chinese (Mandarin)
Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world and is the language of one of the world’s oldest and richest cultures. The study of the Chinese language opens the way to important fields such as Chinese politics, economy, history or archaeology and complements future careers in business and diplomacy as well as studies in the arts, literature, history, philosophy and others.

The language of the great literature of the Renaissance, grand opera, and the influential neo-realist cinema, Italian is not only a language of artistic achievement, but one of strong American ethnic heritage and international business.

Greek has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language. Classical Greek is the language of Homer and the great works of literature and philosophy which are the foundations of modern mathematics, science, and western cultures. Classical Greek is a strong corollary to studies in the arts, sciences, and literature.

With 50 percent of English vocabulary derived from Latin, it is not surprising to discover that students who have studied Latin score about 150 points more on such standardized verbal tests as the SAT than do students who have not had Latin (Washington Post). Latin is also the basis of the five romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Rumanian) and as such helps students with further language study.

Russia, expanding in social and economic importance, has a history of great literature and great art. Turgenev, Dostoyevski and Solzhenitsyn as well as the artistic treasures of the Kremlin are revealed through a study of this language.

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