Comparative Languages and Linguistics

As a comparative languages and linguistics major, you’ll select two of the languages that we teach and critically examine their structure, functions and corresponding cultures in both language-specific courses as well as linguistics courses that are taught in English. Your required off-campus study experience will ensure that your language study is grounded in a specific community and will help you develop lifelong personal and professional connections.

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of recent graduates reported a career outcome within six months of graduation.
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Recent graduates have gone on to careers in education, journalism and non-profit service organizations.

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

What makes this program great?

Earlham’s CLL major is one of few programs at the undergraduate level in the country that combines linguistic analysis with the study of more than one language. Our comparative language faculty members encourage your passion for linguistic knowledge while guiding your inquiry into the nature of language and its functions. CLL majors excel in careers in law, social service, translation, education, speech therapy, nonprofit organizations, international development and international business.

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The world at Earlham

Given Earlham’s globally diverse community, you may not have to leave campus in order to converse with native speakers in the languages you study.

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Choose your languages

At Earlham you can study French, Japanese, Latin and Spanish.

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Our faculty

CLL faculty members are not only from language programs (i.e., French, Japanese, Latin and Spanish) but also from English, philosophy and TESOL. CLL faculty encourage your passion for linguistic knowledge while guiding your inquiry into the nature of language and its functions.

A foundation for critical thinking

The comparative languages and linguistics program prepares you to enter our global economy as an effective communicator with an understanding of different cultures and languages.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

General education at Earlham:

  • Distribution requirements
  • First-year courses
  • Analytical reasoning requirement
  • Perspectives on diversity requirement
  • Wellness requirement
  • General education policies

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

CLL majors will select two languages from the following list:  French, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish (English is only an option for students whose “mother” tongue is a different language).

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in comparative languages and linguistics, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

  • 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 347 Psycholinguistics
    • 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
    • CLL 481 Field Study Practicum/Internship
    • JAPN 351 Teaching Japanese as a Second Language
    • JAPN 430 Japanese in Social Context
    • PHIL 252 Philosophy and Film Theory
    • PHIL 330 Postcolonial Theory
    • PHIL 365 Philosophy of Language
    • PHIL 460 Contemporary Philosophy
    • SOAN 341 Contemporary Social Thought
    • CLL 344/TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching
    • MUS/CLL 383: Music and Language
  • CLL 480 Colloquium
  • CLL 488 Senior Capstone Experience

In addition:

  • For Spanish and French students must take a minimum of two courses numbered above the 310-level and taught in the target language.
  • For 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 history, film or culture for Japanese. These courses may be listed or cross-listed under 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.
  • For English (only an option for students whose “mother” tongue is a different language), students must complete two courses at the 300 level or above related to the culture, sociology, anthropology, history, politics, etc. of the United States (or English-speaking countries where English is the dominant language, like Canada or New Zealand). These may either be courses with the Diversity – Domestic (D-D) attribute or those approved by the CLL convener.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Recent graduates have found jobs in education, publishing, technical writing and journalism, among other areas.

Recent students in this program have interned at the Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum in Japan, Stepping Stones China and Space Media Japan, among other places.

By studying multiple languages, you will better understand the world and how language interacts with the way we think, learn and live.

If you believe that multilingualism is a necessity and are fascinated by the implications that the systematic nature of language can have on communicating in a diverse world, this program will be a great fit for you.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.