Language, Literature and Culture

Greek Tablet

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a language requirement at Clark?

No, but every student is expected to take at least one course that deals with the interrelation between language and culture. This is called the Language and Culture Perspective, or "LP" for short.

What is the LP?

The Language and Culture Perspective (LP) is one of six Perspectives courses that all students take to fulfill the requirements for the Program of Liberal Studies. Although all elementary and intermediate language courses, as well as some that are more advanced, offer LP credit, students may also satisfy the LP by taking courses offered periodically in English—for example, certain courses in Communications—that examine how language reflects and complements culture.

In your course selection materials you'll find a list of courses that fulfill the LP. Our Department offers the LP in Chinese, French, German, Classical Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish.

Most courses offer the LP for one semester's work. Please note, however, that for beginning language courses, designated as 101-102, students are required to complete two semesters in order to receive credit.

How do I know which course is the right level for me?

Online course listings have an LP designation and a Comments/Prerequisite space with each course. Language levels are determined by previous years of study as outlined on the Language Placement Guidelines page. The university reviews high school transcripts to make sure students are not over-qualified for a class. Consult the faculty coordinator of the particular language for any additional questions.

Suppose I had four years of French or Spanish in high school, but I don't think I learned much. Could I just start over?

No. Our rule is that regular beginning courses (101-102) are closed to anyone who has had two years of that language. The university reviews high school transcripts to make sure students are not over-qualified for a class. In French and Spanish, however, we do offer an intensive one-semester beginning course that builds on the experience you've had in high school. Students in these intensive courses have studied the material in the past but may have forgotten much of it. Since their purpose is to refresh knowledge, these one-semester courses move at a faster pace than the two-semester beginning courses.

How many students are there in a typical class?

The official capacity for a language class is 20. Actual enrollments may vary from seven to 20.

Our goal is to present language in an active engagement with students, so that they have the maximum opportunity to develop linguistic skills. Small classes are obviously ideal for this purpose. Most language classes also have discussion sessions with teaching assistants; these are either native speakers or language majors who have spent time abroad.

Are study abroad programs limited to language majors?

Study Abroad options are available in Chile, China, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Senegal and Vietnam.

You need not be a language major to participate in any of these programs, but you do need the appropriate level of language background.

Language majors are required to complete at least two units of study abroad, but other students regularly sign on as well: language minors, Asian Studies majors, students in the International Studies Stream, and others who want to have a competitive advantage when entering the job market in their discipline—business, political science, international development, geography, psychology, or any other field in which knowledge of another language is helpful.

What are the requirements for a language major?

The specific courses will vary according to the requirements of each discipline. In general terms, the major requires eight units of credit in a language above a certain level, two of which must be completed in a study abroad program, as well five related courses to be determined in consultation with your major advisor.

Some courses are required, such as the capstone course, usually given in seminar form for seniors. Also required for all Foreign Languages majors is The National Imagination, a multi-disciplinary team-taught course offered every spring that examines concepts of national identity in three different cultures.

The other related courses are chosen with an eye toward future plans. For example, students who contemplate a career in teaching would naturally take related courses in education, while someone who wants to work for the State Department would add courses in political Science. Students with double majors ordinarily take fewer related courses, especially when the disciplines intersect.

Learn more

What are the requirements for a minor?

A minor consists of six classes and offers flexibility in class selection. Learn more

Does Clark have a language lab?

Located on the second floor of the newly renovated Goddard library, the Language Arts Resource Center is a space dedicated to providing patrons with the media resources (such as DVDs ) and equipment in support of language, literature and culture classes. Patrons may check out items for use in Goddard at the Reserve Desk anytime Goddard is open. Some of the previous functions and content of the language lab have moved to Cicada and/or textbook websites and the students’ access to that material is via their own computers and/or digital devices. If you have questions, please email Professor Connie Montross.