Learning a language other than one’s own is an opening on the world, on the beliefs and practices expressed in that second language. As our Earth shrinks to a global village, knowledge of foreign languages becomes increasingly valuable. Translation can never adequately substitute for direct communication in another language.
The best reason for language study is that the mental habits it teaches give a heightened awareness of the linguistic bias of one’s own thinking and of the power and limitations of language itself.
A Bachelor of Arts in Spanish requires a minimum of 30 hours (the number of courses varies) in Spanish beyond SPA 101 and 102 (Elementary Spanish); for at least two classes, students are encouraged to study abroad for one summer term or one regular semester in a Spanish speaking country/region.
Spanish ranks third among world languages, with more than 400 million speakers, and it serves as the official language of some 20 countries. Within the United States, Spanish is the second most prevalent language with more than 50 million speakers, making it the fifth largest Spanish-speaking community in the world, highlighting Spanish as an important component for any profession.
French influence—cultural, scientific, technological, economic, and political—is felt in many parts of the world. French is spoken not only in Europe but in North and South America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific and Indian Ocean areas, and Africa. A great wealth of human experience is uniquely portrayed in the literary and artistic works of France. The study of French history is essential to an understanding of Western civilization.
America has numerous ties, social and cultural, with German-speaking nations: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. A knowledge of German is invaluable for the study of European culture in philosophy, literature, and the fine arts. It is also practical for all those engaged in international commerce, scientific research, and technology.
The Japanese language, in addition to its cultural/historical legacy, offers the student direct participation in the scientific, technological, and economic changes of contemporary Japan.