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Comparative Languages & Linguistics

A Foundation for Critical Thinking

Overview   |   Meet an Earlhamite   |   Our Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses  

 

Comparative Languages and Linguistics combines the study of two or more languages with an exploration of linguistics and language-related content areas such as literature or film.

As a CLL major, you will learn multiple languages and understand how language broadly influences people’s sense of reality. Because an off-campus study experience is required, you will experience languages within their cultural context.

Given Earlham’s globally diverse community, most students don’t even have to leave campus in order to converse with native speakers in the languages they are studying.

Highlights

You can study Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

Current alums are teaching English around the world, working in publishing and doing graduate work in international studies.

You can find Earlham CLL alumni in law, social service, translation, education, speech therapy, non-profit organizations and international business.

Meet An Earlhamite
Sierra Newby-Smith
Revealing history

A self-described “history geek,” Sierra Newby-Smith always knew that history would be an important part of her education and career.

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Responding to Military Occupation
Responding to Military Occupation

Informed by the commitment to critical questioning and social justice fostered at Earlham, Lilly Lerner ’13 is headed to Palestine, where she will live and work in a refugee camp in the West Bank.

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Eboni Stevens
Working Toward Making a Change

Eboni Stevens '15 saw the disconnect between social classes here in Richmond. After her third year at Earlham, she saw education as the key and she and four friends set out to make a change.

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Our Faculty

Ferit Güven
Professor of Philosophy

Kari Kalve
Professor of English

Yasumi Kuriya
Associate Professor of Japanese

Yasumasa Shigenaga
Assistant Professor of Japanese Language and Linguistics

Aletha Stahl
Professor of French and Francophone Studies; Co-Director of the Center of Social Justice

Chris Swafford
Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Kelly Tuttle
Assistant Professor of Arabic

Belén Villarreal
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Peng Yu
Assistant Professor of Politics

Mingzhe Zheng
Postdoctoral Fellow in Chinese

Safia Diarra
ELL Instructor & International Student Adviser

Candice Marshall
ELL Instructor & International Student Adviser

Cynthia Grinspan
Administrative Assistant
Plan of Study

The Major

CLL majors must be intrinsically motivated and entrepreneurial given the interdisciplinary structure of the program and unique combination of languages each student pulls together. Students who do not arrive at Earlham with substantial skills in at least one language must plan carefully beginning in their first year. All students choose an academic adviser in CLL to help guide them through the program. In their senior year, they consult with a thesis adviser from among CLL faculty and at least one other faculty member on their Senior Capstone experience.

All CLL majors must complete the following:

  • One course designated as Writing Intensive (WI) and one course designated as Research Intensive (RCH).
  • One semester-length, off-campus study with courses taught in one of the selected languages.
  • One course in linguistics, chosen from:
    • CLL 345 Linguistics
    • CLL 348 Sociolinguistics
    • JAPN 422 Japanese Linguistics
    • SPAN 336 Linguistics, Language, and Pedagogy
    • SPAN 406 Topics in Linguistics
  • At least three other courses that focus on language as the topic. These may be chosen from the linguistics options above, the following courses, or an adviser-approved substitution:
    • CLL 407 Translation: Theory and Practice
    • JAPN 351 Teaching Japanese as a Second Language
    • JAPN 422 Japanese in Social Context
    • JAPN 431 Literacy in Japanese
    • PHIL 252 Philosophy and Film Theory
    • PHIL 330 Postcolonial Theory
    • PHIL 365 Philosophy of Language
    • PHIL 460 Contemporary Philosophy
    • SOAN 341 Contemporary Social Thought
    • TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching
  • CLL 480 Colloquium
  • CLL 488 Senior Capstone Experience

In addition:

  • For Spanish, French and German, students must take a minimum of two courses numbered above the 310-level and taught in the target language.
  • For Arabic, Chinese and Japanese, students must complete two language courses at the 300-level or demonstrate the equivalent proficiency level. They also must take two courses related to literature, film or culture for the chosen language. These courses may be listed or cross-listed under Middle East Studies, Chinese Studies, or Japanese Studies.
  • For Latin, students must complete ANCS 342 Reading Latin and take a minimum of 12 additional non-language credits (four courses) related to the study of Latin.
  • Neither language can be the student's first or "mother" tongue.
Courses

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

CLL 150 SELF-DIRECTED LANGUAGE STUDY (3 credits)
This course combines independent study with the structure of a class to allow students to learn a language not offered at Earlham. Students choose their language, set learning goals, locate materials,and help determine how progress is evaluated. All students complete a presentation, a mapping project, a connections project, and a reflective journal. Learning is measured in part through external means such as online tests. Students must have learned English in high school and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above, placement into 300-level course in a language Earlham offers, Earlham language course at 102 level or higher with grade of A- or A, a semester or year off-campus program with significant language component, or permission of the instructor.

CLL 345 LINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Introduces students to the nature of human language: its use, evolution and diversity. Approaches language as a system of communication and human behavior. Provides students practice in using certain basic skills when thinking about language: analyzing data, making generalizations, proposing hypotheses, providing argumentation and formulating proposals

CLL 348 SOCIOLINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Designed to help students interested in language learn how language functions in a social context. Topics include language and cultural meaning, connections between language variation and geographical/ethnic backgrounds, social class and social networks, age and gender, forms of address and politeness, non-verbal communication, language for social change, and language education and policy. Also listed as TESO 348. (D-I) (AY)

CLL 407 TRANSLATION: THEORY AND PRACTICE (3 credits)
Students consider a range of issues in translation including comparative stylistics, text types, machine translation and gender in translation. In addition to readings, discussion and research on particular aspects of translation, students design and carry out individual and group translation projects. Prerequisites: Three years of a language or equivalent, or permission of the instructor. (AY)

CLL 480 COLLOQUIUM (1 credit)
Through readings, lectures, discussions and research on practical and theoretical aspects of language, students develop a critical understanding of linguistic and cultural differences, connect to other disciplines through languages, and begin to identify a literary, linguistic, and/or cultural topic in preparation for their senior capstone experience.

CLL 481 FIELD STUDY PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP (0-3 credits)
An internship or practicum organized by the student in consultation with the adviser. Credits for the experience must be negotiated between the adviser and the on-site supervisor. The experience involves one of the following: (a) teaching or tutoring a second language, (b) a special research project or (c) interpreting / translation. Depending on the experience, students enhance their communicative skills, develop a critical understanding of linguistic and cultural differences, connect to other disciplines through languages, come to a deeper understanding of the role of translation in cross-cultural communication, and/or reflect on career and life goals.

CLL 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (3 credits)
Students complete a comprehensive thesis that is comparative in nature and present their work publicly. For their thesis, they analyze complex literary, visual, and/or cultural texts in a comparative framework; demonstrate their knowledge of and engagement with sociolinguistic, literary, and cultural theories and methodologies; locate and use quality information correctly; and produce oral and written argumentations on a literary, linguistic, and/or cultural topic.

Courses Counting Toward the CLL Major

English

*ENG 364 POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE (4 credits)
An examination of the widely-debated term "post-colonialism" and its relation to other intersecting terms and critical concepts, such as the "Commonwealth," "Third World," "imperialism," "Orientalism" and "neocolonialism." Uses literatures from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia to explore questions such as: How have writers from the previously colonized world used literature to respond to the economic, political and cultural realities of (de)colonization? What does it mean to "write back" to the Empire? Authors include Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiong'O, Jean Rhys, Mahasweta Devi and critical essays by Frantz Fanon, Edward Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, among others. Includes attention to issues of empire, nation, race, class, gender and sexuality. Prerequisite: 200-level English course or consent of instructor. (D-I)

Japanese Language and Linguistics

JAPN 351 TEACHING JAPANESE AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (3 credits)
Introduction of basic current principles of language learning and teaching, and unique features of Japanese. Students practice teaching in drill sessions in Basic and Intermediate Japanese courses on campus and/or teaching in elementary schools. Taught in Japanese and English. Prerequisite: Advanced language courses or consent of the instructor.

*JAPN 422 JAPANESE LINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Investigates the origin, writing system, sound system, word formation and structure of Japanese language as well as the relationships between language and culture. Taught in Japanese and English. Prerequisite: Advanced language courses or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)

*JAPN 431 LITERACY IN JAPANESE (3 credits)
Examines the writing system of Japanese from psycholinguistic and pedagogical viewpoints. Includes an overview of writing systems around the world and their evolutions. (RCH, D-I) (AY)

Philosophy

*PHIL 252 PHILOSOPHY AND FILM THEORY (4 credits)
Investigates the relationship between philosophical ideas and visual narratives. Examines the philosophical foundations of various theories of film and interprets visual narratives in terms of philosophical ideas. Prerequisite: An Interpretive Practices course. Also listed as FILM 252. (WI)

*PHIL 330 POSTCOLONIAL THEORY (4 credits)
A study of selected topics in Postcolonial Theory. Investigates the philosophical presuppositions of these topics and the relationship between Modern philosophy and European Colonialism. Prerequisite: An Interpretive Practices course and one prior Philosophy course. Also listed as FILM 330 and PAGS 330. (WI, D-I)

*PHIL 365 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE (3 credits)
Examines current topics in the philosophy of language as discussed in both the continental and analytic traditions of philosophy. Topics include the origin of language, question of meaning, relationship of language and the world, relationship between language and human subjectivity, question of ambiguity in dialogue, evolution of language in community and feminist critique of linguistic philosophy. Prerequisite: An Interpretive Practices course or consent of the instructor. (WI)

PHIL 460 CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY (4 credits)
Covers a number of the main figures and movements in 20th- and 21st-century continental philosophy. Figures studied may include Derrida, Foucault, Gadamer, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre and Wittgenstein. Movements studied may include classical phenomenology, hermeneutics, existentialism, feminism, critical theory, philosophy of language and contemporary epistemology. Some analytic philosophers may be read to explore the relationship between analytic and continental philosophy.

Sociology/Anthropology

SOAN 341 CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL THOUGHT (4 credits)
Explores emerging trends in social theory and their relation to classical theory. Each year emphasizes a different problem such as power and culture, structure and agency, or determinism and anti-essentialism. Readings and discussion focus on developing the students' ability to recognize subtle differences that define theoretical perspective. Also listed as PAGS 341.

Spanish and Hispanic Studies

SPAN 336 LINGUISTICS, LANGUAGE, AND PEDAGOGY (3 credits)
A general introduction to the field of linguistics or pedagogy as it relates to Spanish. Topics vary. May be taken more than once if different topics. Topics may include phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax in Spanish, practical applications for understanding and improving students' own language skills as well as issues for teaching Spanish to English speakers or English to Spanish speakers. Prerequisite: SPAN 301 or placement or consent of the instructor.

*SPAN 406 TOPICS IN LINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Designed to study of aspects of Spanish linguistics, including semantics, historical linguistics, regional variations, dialects and creoles, translation, and Spanish in the U.S. Students will perform independent research projects in areas of their choice. Prerequisite: SPAN 336 or consent of the instructor. (D-I, RCH) 

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

TESO 344 STUDIES IN LANGUAGE LEARNING AND TEACHING (4 credits)
Combines theoretical foundations of second-language acquisition with practical classroom techniques and procedures. Examines principles of proficiency-oriented instruction, language functions, sociocultural variables, and comparison of first- and second-language acquisition.