Chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures: Viviana Rangil
Professors: John Anzalone; Mao Chen, The Courtney and Steven Ross Chair in Interdisciplinary Studies; Giuseppe Faustini; Hédi A. Jaouad; Mary-Elizabeth O’Brien; Viviana Rangil; Shirley Smith
Associate Professors: Grace Burton, Masako Inamoto, María Fernanda Lander, Adrienne Zuerner
Assistant Professor: Mary Kate Donovan, Oscar Perez
Visiting Assistant Professor: Lena Retamoso, Cate Tally, Petra Watzke
Senior Teaching Professors: Diana Barnes, Beatriz Loyola, Masami Tamagawa
Teaching Professor: Cathy Silber
Senior Lecturer: Charlene Grant, Timothy Freiermuth
Study-Abroad Lecturers: Susan Sánchez Casal, Director, Skidmore in Spain
Self-Instructional Language Instructors: Anna Dugan, *Regina Hartmann, *Katya Kats, *Jinyoung Mason, Shiri Zorn
* part time
The study of languages has become essential to the education of global citizens as the world grows more and more internationally connected, and as nations become increasingly diverse. The ability to communicate effectively with people from different parts of the world not only enhances our capacity to think outside the boundaries of our native culture, but is also a practical skill that can be applied to any career or line of work.
The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a comprehensive selection of courses in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, as well as courses in the Self-instructional Language Program in Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian. The department seeks to develop students’ ability to understand, speak, and write the languages of their choice, and to read with appreciation literary and cultural texts in those languages. By discussing written and visual texts, students both enhance their linguistic ability and refine their understanding of cultural traditions and perspectives. Global citizenship goes beyond language proficiency, and for that reason the department’s upper-level courses are designed to deepen the student’s familiarity with the cultures associated with the languages they study.
The department supports academic and extracurricular programs on campus, in the local community, and abroad to enhance understanding of world languages and cultures. Department faculty participate in the college’s interdisciplinary programs such as Asian Studies, International Affairs, Latin American and Latinx Studies, Gender Studies, and Intergroup Relations.
The department is the primary resource for the college’s language requirement. Any three- or four-credit course taken at the appropriate level in a world language (i.e., not in translation) fulfills the language requirement. Additionally, the requirement can be met by taking two two-credit self-instructional courses in the same language.
The mission of the Department of World Languages and Literatures is to develop in our students a cultural competency and language ability that enable them to confidently engage with other cultures and participate fully as global citizens, with knowledge that is transferable to any field they pursue.
Students should refer to the guidelines below for placement into language courses according to the Web-based placement exam and the SAT II language exams. Students with a minimum of one year of prior language study are excluded from taking a 101 course. Students with a score of 3 or higher on an AP test should enroll in courses above the 203 level, usually a composition or conversation course. Students with scores on an AP test of 4 or 5 may receive general elective credit toward graduation.
Students can take the Web-based placement exam at any time. Entering students will receive information on accessing the exam in a summer mailing and can also contact the department for information. For placement into languages other than French, German, Italian, and Spanish, contact the appropriate faculty in the Departments of World Languages and Literatures or Classics.
WebCAPE Placement Exams for French, German, Italian and Spanish
SAT II Foreign Language Exams
||French 102, German 102 or 103, Italian 102, Spanish 103
||French 102, German and Italian 102 or 103, Spanish 103
||French, German, Italian, and Spanish 203
||Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish 203
|391 and above
||French, German, Italian, and Spanish courses above the 203 level
||570 and above
||Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish courses above the 203 level
World Languages and Literature Writing in the Major Requirement: Students majoring in French, German, and Spanish will demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency in writing (“Advanced Plus” on the ACTFL scale). World Languages and Literatures majors will develop the ability to write in the target language in a range of genres including writing for academic, social, and professional contexts in such forms as letters, reports, and research papers for purposes of description, narration, and analysis. WLL majors will demonstrate in writing the ability to perform a close reading of a literary or cultural text including explication of relevant rhetorical features, structural elements, and historical and cultural references. Through writing assignments students learn how to develop a thesis, provide textual evidence, present logical arguments, and employ appropriate theoretical lenses.
Interdepartmental Major: In conjunction with the relevant departments, the Department of World Languages and Literatures offers majors in Business-French, Business-German, Business-Spanish; Government-French, Government-German, and Government-Spanish. See Interdepartmental Majors .
Classical Languages: Instruction in classical Greek and Latin is offered through the advanced level. For the course listings and requirements for the classics major and minor, see Classics .
Self-Instructional Languages: Instruction in Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian is offered on an independent study basis. The student works with textbooks and tapes and meets with a native tutor for two hours a week of oral practice. A final examination is given by an outside examiner approved by the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs from a neighboring university. Students interested in pursuing these courses should consult with Professor Lander in the Department of World Languages and Literatures before spring registration for the following academic year.
Language Resource Center: The LRC provides linguistic and cultural resources for the languages offered in the Department of World Languages and Literatures. The center offers welcoming spaces for formal and informal learning with resources that include a technology classroom, a versatile seminar/meeting room, a viewing lounge with informal meeting space, and spaces to accommodate individual or small-group study. LRC language assistants offer tutoring on a drop-in basis for language students. All spaces in the center are well equipped to promote the integration of technology in the learning and teaching of foreign languages and cultures and to encourage interaction among faculty, students, and staff.
French Area Studies Program: Students may elect a program designed to incorporate several aspects of French culture in order to develop in-depth knowledge of the country and civilization. Each student will work out an individual nine-course program totaling not less than 30 credit hours, as approved by the department, that includes three courses from among WLF 213 , WLF 214 , WLF 216 , WLF 219 , WLF 221 , WLF 223 , WLF 224 ; three courses on French topics from other departments; and three 300-level courses including WLF 374 or WLF 376 . Students in this program may elect a concentration in a particular period or a particular topic, for example: France in the nineteenth century, the status of women, the role of money, or the tradition of revolution in France.
Paris Chamber of Commerce Examinations: The department encourages qualified students of economics and business to take the Certificat Pratique de Français Commercial et Economique or the Diplôme Supérieur de Français des Affaires offered by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris. Both the Certificat and the Diplôme attest to students’ knowledge of business French and to their ability to express themselves orally and in writing. The department gives these Paris Chamber of Commerce examinations annually.
German for Business Certification: The department encourages qualified students of economics and business to take the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf (ZDfB). This examination, jointly developed by the Goethe Institute and the Deutscher Volkshochschulverband, attests to students’ knowledge of business German and their ability to express themselves orally and in writing. The department administers the ZDfB examination annually.
Programs Abroad: The department encourages qualified students to participate in Skidmore’s programs in Paris, or Madrid, and to take advantage of approved programs in China, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Latin America.
Courses offered in English are designated WL.
FRENCH LITERATURE AND CIVILIZATION
GERMAN LITERATURE AND CIVILIZATION
WLI 263 - Special Topics in Italian
WLI 340 - Advanced Languages Across the Curriculum
ITALIAN LITERATURE AND CIVILIZATION
WLI 263 - Special Topics in Italian
WLS 351 - Studies in Spanish for Specific Purposes
SELF-INSTRUCTIONAL LANGUAGE COURSES
WLX 220A - Language across the Curriculum-Arabic
WLX 220H - Language across the Curriculum-Hebrew
WLX 220I - Language across the Curriculum-Hindi
WLX 220K - Language across the Curriculum-Korean
WLX 220P - Language across the Curriculum-Portuguese
WLX 220R - Language across the Curriculum-Russian
LITERATURE AND CIVILIZATION COURSES TAUGHT IN ENGLISH
These courses are open to all students. Knowledge of a foreign language is not a prerequisite, with the exception of WLL 399 .
WLL 305 - East Asian Cinema: History, Genres, and Waves