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So You Think You Can Learn a Language?

by creed on March 21st, 2014

Everyone at some point ask themselves…I want to learn [insert desired language]!  The problem is…where do you begin?

If you’re not busy this summer, it would be a great time to start. This year, Arabic (ARB 101, ARB 211), Turkish (TRK 101), Persian (PER 101), as well as Russian (RUS 213) are being offered. These are pretty cool languages to start learning! You can find more information here: I find the Turkish poster particularly interesting: 

I am more of a European language person, and if that is the case for you, then look into these languages this summer: German (GER 101, 112), Italian (ITL 101, 201), French (FRN 101, 201), and  Spanish (SPN 111 – 321; both EU and LA Spanish!).

If you are more into learning an Asian language (by the way…Japanese is awesome!), then you can take: Chinese (CHI 101, 201).

You can even take beginner or intermediate Sign Language courses! (SLN 111 – 212) – that is pretty cool!

If you are busy or planning to relax this summer – never fear! You can always add on a language class to your course load for the Fall or Spring semester (especially if you have not completed your language requirement yet). Some languages to think about:

Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek (Modern), Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin*, Persian, Russian, Sanskrit*, Spanish, Swahili, and Turkish!

*Of course, Latin and Sanskrit will not be spoken, but they are really important languages. I took a couple years of Latin and it changed my life!

One language that has not been offered for a while is Portuguese (Brazilian or “Brasilian”), but it may be offered in the future!

Also keep in mind that there are also “Uncommonly Taught Languages” offered through Linguistics, so if you’re interested, there may be a language being taught that is not on the above list!  And for our non-native English speakers, there are always ESL and English classes available as well.

So that is my language-spiel…if you have any questions about a language, just ask me, but if you need actual guidance on what language to pick or what level, please see the appropriate department! [Note: obviously the European languages would be part of the European Language, Literature, & Culture Department, and the Asian languages would be part of the Asian & Asian-American Studies Department]


About My Language Experience(s):

My mother is fluent in English, Tagalog, and Italian, but her native language is Tagalog (or what others incorrectly call “Filipino”), which means I hear it all the time (but I only know how to speak a few words). I grew up taking Latin and Italian in Montessori school, and I took Spanish when I went to Catholic school. For public high school, I continued on with Spanish. While in high school, I tried teaching myself Japanese and Russian, but I can only speak and understand a few words.  Next, I met my (current) boyfriend and his family speaks Portuguese (EU, not Brazilian) – it is similar to Spanish, but so much harder! I finally got to college (with intentions of taking Italian or Spanish) and I ended up taking Latin once again!  Since I loved the classics, I couldn’t wait to learn some Greek, so I spoke to a professor and I did a year-long independent study in Ancient Greek! Last summer and I took an intensive German course, then I went off to Berlin, Germany to use my language skills and I took intermediate German while I was there. Now that I am graduating in May, I am sad to leave Stony Brook, but I know that languages will still be out there for me to learn…what’s next: Norwegian!?

Yes my story sounds crazy and ridiculous, but who cares…I love languages (and you should too)!

From → Caterina

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