Academics

Foreign Languages and Cultures

Program Details

When you learn another language, you step outside the cognitive framework to which you are accustomed in order to understand people, events and processes from a new perspective. Learning languages promotes appreciation and respect for cultural diversity, can increase marketability to employers and graduate schools and opens the door to life-changing opportunities for study and work abroad.

The University offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign languages and cultures with options in French, German and Spanish. The major in foreign languages and cultures requires a minimum of 32 semester hours (sh). Students are required to choose a primary language and a secondary language. Students with prior study of a language or who are heritage speakers should complete a placement exam and are eligible for advanced placement credit after successfully completing one to two courses in the department. Minors are also available in French, German and Spanish. Classes taken in any foreign language may be applied toward the Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign languages and cultures as part of the secondary language requirement.

The department is committed to promoting foreign languages both as a means of communication and as the prerequisite to cultural understanding. Classes with the prefix of FR, GER and SPAN are taught in the target language and promote students’ active use of the language in a culturally and communicatively meaningful context. Classes with the prefix FL are taught in English and allow students the opportunity to reflect critically on cultural practices and products of non-English-speaking countries and people prior to obtaining advanced proficiency in the target language.

Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Program

An integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree program is available for the Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages and Cultures: Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences. An integrated degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years.

View detailed integrated degree requirements for Foreign Languages and Cultures.

Special Opportunities in Foreign Languages and Cultures

In the WIU Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, students will be taught by experienced, dedicated professors and instructors from many different countries. Small class sizes allow for individual attention from teachers and a friendly classroom environment. In addition, the department provides free tutoring in the languages offered. The Foreign Language Computer Lab (Morgan Hall 303) is available for individual student use. The departmental DVD collection includes a variety of feature films in French, German and Spanish that can be checked out by students and viewed in the lab.

Study abroad is strongly encouraged for majors in order to improve linguistic and cultural expertise through an extended immersion experience. A wide variety of options are available, including departmental faculty-led programs in Costa Rica, Germany and Spain, as well as programs through partner universities in various countries. The Office of Study Abroad is an excellent resource for students who wish to identify an appropriate program. Students attending approved study-abroad programs earn academic credit applicable to their degree requirements. Foreign languages and cultures majors can apply for scholarships of up to $7,000 to assist in covering the costs of study abroad.

Since foreign language study adds value to any course of study or career, students frequently combine second-language learning with another major. Curricular sequences are available to assist students in completing a double major with english, history and communication sciences and disorders.

Department Minors

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

Additional Resources

foreign languages class

Western’s foreign language teaching graduates are currently finding growing opportunities as teachers or as graduate teaching assistants.

Possible Foreign Languages and Cultures Career Paths

Financial columnist Sylvia Porter was right on target when she called knowledge of foreign languages “job insurance.” Countless career options are available to people who have advanced foreign language skills in addition to other areas of preparation. The federal government is the largest single employer of persons with foreign language skills. Many local governments also need officials and employees who can speak a second language. Here are just a few other examples:

  • personnel of multinational corporations,
  • banking and financial officers,
  • engineers and technicians with firms manufacturing for export,
  • law enforcement personnel and administrators,
  • security and loss-prevention industries and
  • a wide range of service agencies from social and medical to tourism and travel

Employment opportunities also occur in library systems, publishing, journalism, communications, customs, interpreting or translating, retail sales and other arenas. In academia, Western’s foreign language teaching graduates are currently finding growing opportunities as teachers or as graduate teaching assistants. Graduate schools in a variety of disciplines seek students capable of doing research with primary foreign sources.

Foreign Languages & Cultures Courses

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

101 Introductory Seminar in World Languages and Cultures. (3) (General Education/Humanities) (Global Issues) Introduces the content and methods of foreign language scholarship. Centers on a particular topic or theme within the context of (a) non-Englishspeaking culture(s). Methods may include linguistics, cultural studies, film studies, literary studies, interdisciplinary approaches, and/or pedagogy.

151 Self-Instruction I. (1–3, repeatable to 3) Less commonly taught languages. Emphasis on spoken language. Memorize corpus and practice with native speaker. Oral examination. By permission of department chairperson.

350 Introduction to Contemporary Critical Theory. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) This course, to be taught in English, will introduce students to critical theories that shape literary, artistic, and cultural studies as they apply to foreign languages. Prerequisites: ENG 180, 280; junior standing or consent of instructor.

480 (Cross-listed with WS 480) Sexuality in German and Austrian Culture. (3) Examines the representation of sexuality in film, literature, and nonfiction of German-speaking countries in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Not open to students with credit for WS 480. Prerequisite: QS 100 or junior standing.

490 Senior Capstone. (1) Students practice acting as educated resources in their primary foreign language and culture. Self-reflection and future goals are formulated in individual portfolios that serve as final assessment for the major. Students are required to take an oral proficiency interview. Prerequisites: senior standing or permission of the department chairperson.

499 Selected Topics in Foreign Languages and Literatures. (3) Seminar in topics related to foreign languages, literatures, and cultures. Taught in English. Prerequisites: junior standing or consent of the instructor.

CHINESE (CHIN)

121 Elementary Chinese I. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Development of the four basic skills (in Mandarin Chinese): listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Not open to students who have had two years of high school Chinese without permission of the department chairperson.

122 Elementary Chinese II. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Continuation of Elementary Chinese I. Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Mandarin Chinese, along with crosscultural insights and appreciation. Prerequisite: CHIN 121 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

223 Intermediate Chinese I. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continued development of the four basic language skills with increased emphasis on reading and culture. Class conducted in Chinese. Prerequisite: CHIN 122 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

224 Intermediate Chinese II. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continuation of Intermediate Chinese I. Prerequisite: CHIN 223 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

FRENCH (FR)
(Language Skills Courses)

121 Elementary French I. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Development of the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Not open to students who have had two years of high school French without permission of the department chairperson.

122 Elementary French II. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Continuation of Elementary French I. Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with cross-cultural insights and appreciation. Prerequisite: FR 121 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

223 Intermediate French I. (3) (General Education/ Humanities) Continued development of the four basic language skills with increased emphasis on reading and culture. Class conducted in French. Prerequisite: FR 122 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

224 Intermediate French II. (3) (General Education/ Humanities) Continuation of Intermediate French I. Prerequisite: FR 223 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

302 Commercial French. (3) An introduction to business practices in France, with emphasis on business vocabulary, written and oral communication, and the role of culture and cultural differences in business transactions. Reading and translation of commercial documents. Prerequisite: completion of FR 224 or equivalent.

325 French Conversation. (3) Intensive practice in oral expression and conversation. Prerequisite: FR 224 or equivalent.

326 French Composition. (3) Intensive practice in written expression and composition. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: FR 224 or equivalent; ENG 280.

401 Advanced French Grammar. (3) An intensive study of advanced French grammar with practice in its application. Prerequisite: FR 326 or equivalent.

(Literature and Civilization Courses)

327 Introduction to French Literature. (3) An introduction to critical reading and appreciation of French literature, surveying representative texts from major periods and genres. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: FR 224 or equivalent. IAI: H3 916.

328 Masterpieces of French Literature. (3) A study of selected masterworks representing major periods and genres of French literature. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: FR 224 or equivalent. IAI: H3 917.

404 French Civilization and Culture I. (3) An overview of cultural, social, political, and religious history of France from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution, with special readings and reports on individuals, events, and socio-cultural phenomena of the times. Conducted in French.

438 20th Century French Literature. (3) Selected works of Gide, Proust, Sartre, Camus, St. Exupéry, Anouilh, Colette, Sarraute, Duras, de Beauvoir, and others. Prerequisite: FR 327 or equivalent.

492 Individual Studies in French. (1–5, repeatable to 5) Prerequisites: advanced standing and consent of department chairperson.

499 Selected Topics in French Language and Literature. (3, repeatable for different topics to no maximum) Prerequisite: FR 327 and consent of the instructor.

GERMAN (GER)
(Language Skills Courses)

121 Elementary German I. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Development of the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Not open to students who have had two years of high school German without permission of the department chairperson.

122 Elementary German II. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Continuation of Elementary German I. Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with cross-cultural insights and appreciation. Prerequisite: GER 121 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

223 Intermediate German I. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continued development of the four basic language skills with increased emphasis on reading and culture. Class conducted in German. Prerequisite: GER 122 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

224 Intermediate German II. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continuation of Intermediate German I. Prerequisite: GER 223 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. IAI: H1 900.

325 German Conversation. (3) Intensive practice in oral expression and conversation. Prerequisite: GER 224 or equivalent.

326 German Composition. (3) Intensive practice in written expression and composition. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280, and GER 224 or equivalent.

(Literature and Civilization Courses)

327 Introduction to German Literature. (3) An introduction to critical reading and appreciation of German literature, surveying representative texts from major periods and genres. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: GER 224 or equivalent. IAI: H3 916.

337 (Cross-listed with HIST 337) The Holocaust. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) Examines the pre-history, history, and posthistory of the Holocaust and its representations from a German Studies perspective and within the broader context of European culture. Not open to students with credit for HIST 337. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or GER 224 or consent of instructor.

361 Field Study Travel. (1–3, repeatable in one language to a maximum of 9) Field study project. The student submits a written report and fulfills other requirements set up by the instructor. Prerequisite: 6 s.h. of intermediate college German or equivalent.

406 German Civilization and Culture. (3) A survey of the civilization of the German-speaking people with particular emphasis on modern developments. Conducted in German. Prerequisite: GER 224 or equivalent.

492 Individual Studies in German. (1–5, repeatable to 5) Prerequisites: advanced standing and consent of department chairperson.

499 Selected Topics in German Language and Literature. (3, repeatable for different topics to no maximum) Prerequisite: GER 327 and consent of the instructor.

JAPANESE (JPN)

121 Elementary Japanese I. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Development of the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Not open to students who have had two years of high school Japanese without permission of the department chairperson.

122 Elementary Japanese II. (4) (General Education/Humanities) Continuation of Elementary Japanese I. Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with cross-cultural insights and appreciation. Prerequisite: JPN 121 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

223 Intermediate Japanese I. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continued development of the four basic language skills with increased emphasis on reading and culture. Class conducted in Japanese. Prerequisite: JPN 122 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

224 Intermediate Japanese II. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continued focus on idiomatic usage and grammatical and communicative competency to permit functional communication within a controlled range of situational contexts; increased focus on vocabulary building, reading proficiency, and writing skills. Prerequisite: JPN 223 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

PORTUGUESE (PORT)
(Language Skills Courses)

121 Elementary Portuguese I. (4) (General Education/Humanities) Development of the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Not open to students who have had two years of high school Portuguese without permission of the department chairperson.

122 Elementary Portuguese II. (4) (General Education/Humanities) Continuation of Elementary Portuguese I. Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with cross-cultural insights and appreciation. Prerequisite: PORT 121 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

SPANISH (SPAN)
(Language Skills Courses)

121 Elementary Spanish I. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Development of the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Not open to students who have had two years of high school Spanish without permission of the department chairperson.

122 Elementary Spanish II. (4) (General Education/ Humanities) Continuation of Elementary Spanish I. Development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills along with cross-cultural insights and appreciation. Prerequisite: SPAN 121 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

223 Intermediate Spanish I. (3) (General Education/ Humanities) Continued development of the four basic language skills with increased emphasis on reading and culture. Class conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 122 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

224 Intermediate Spanish II. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Continuation of Intermediate Spanish I. Prerequisite: SPAN 223 or appropriate score on placement examination administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

302 Spanish for Business. (3) An introduction to business practices in Spain and Latin America, with emphasis on business vocabulary, written and oral communication, and the role of culture and cultural differences in business transactions. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

320 Spanish for Heritage Speakers. (3) Designed to make heritage speakers of Hispanic background aware of their cultural origins and the diversity that exists across Hispanic cultures through intensive practice in writing, reading, and grammar for heritage speakers. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280, SPAN 224 or equivalent, and consent of the instructor.

325 Spanish Conversation. (3) Intensive practice in oral expression and conversation. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or equivalent.

326 Spanish Composition. (3) Intensive practice in written expression and composition. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: SPAN 224 or equivalent; ENG 280.

340 Spanish for Law Enforcement. (3) Attention is focused on oral proficiency in the contexts likely to be useful to law enforcement personnel. Vocabulary specific to the profession is taught, as well as practical cultural information. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or permission of instructor.

344 Spanish for Social Work. (3) Intensive Spanish practice through simulations involving real-life situations in intercultural settings. Provides vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and cultural information for the specific needs of professional social workers. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

392 Spanish and Latin American Cinema. (3) Historical survey of the film industry in Spain and Latin America, with particular attention to the works of major filmmakers and genres. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

401 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics. (3) Introduction to the main concepts and methods of linguistic analysis, focusing on the Spanish sound system, social dynamics, and dialectal variation. Prerequisite: SPAN 326 or equivalent.

402 Introduction to Spanish Morphology and Syntax. (3) Introduction to the systematic study of the morphological and syntactical elements of Spanish with practice in application. Prerequisite: SPAN 326 or equivalent.

449 Spanish for Content-Based Instruction. (3) The study of Spanish vocabulary and phrases for the teaching of different subjects of the school curriculum including mathematics, science, social studies, and grammar. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or permission of instructor.

457 Contemporary Spanish American Prose. (3) Selected prose works of major contemporary Spanish American writers. Prerequisite: SPAN 327 or equivalent.

(Literature and Civilization Courses)

327 Introduction to Hispanic Literature. (3) An introduction to critical reading and appreciation of Hispanic literature, surveying representative texts from major periods and genres. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or equivalent. b

328 Masterpieces of Spanish Literature. (3) A study of selected masterworks representing major periods and genres of Spanish literature. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 224 or equivalent. IAI: H3 917.

361 Field Study Travel. (1–3, repeatable in one language to a maximum of 9) Field study project. The student submits a written report and fulfills other requirements set up by the instructor. Prerequisite: 6 s.h. of intermediate college Spanish or equivalent.

408 Spanish Civilization and Culture. (3) A survey of Peninsular civilization from the prehistoric past to the post-Franco present, emphasizing cultural achievements of universal significance. Conducted in Spanish.

409 Spanish American Civilization. (3) The study of fundamental historical and cultural facts concerning Spanish America; the role of contrasting value systems of Spanish America and the United States in intercultural communication. Conducted in Spanish.

452 Spanish Literature of the 19th Century. (3) Study of major works with emphasis on Romanticism and Realism. Prerequisite: SPAN 327 or equivalent.

453 The Generation of 1898. (3) Representative works of the major figures of early twentieth-century Spanish literature. Prerequisite: SPAN 327 or equivalent.

454 Spanish Literature of the 20th Century. (3) Study of major works of prose, poetry, and drama from the Generation of 1898 to the present. Prerequisite: SPAN 327 or equivalent.

456 Masterpieces of Spanish American Literature. (3) Selected works of prose, poetry, and drama from the Colonial period to the present. Prerequisite: SPAN 327 or equivalent.

492 Individual Studies in Spanish. (1–5, repeatable to 5) Prerequisites: advanced standing and consent of department chairperson.

499 Selected Topics in Spanish Language and Literature. (3, repeatable for different topics to no maximum) Prerequisite: SPAN 327 and consent of the instructor.

Contact Information

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Dr. Luciano C. Picanco, Chairperson
Email: languages@wiu.edu
Location: Morgan Hall 332
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1558

Foreign Languages and Literatures Website

Foreign Languages and Literatures Directory

College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Dr. Susan Martinelli-Fernandez, Dean
Email: Martinelli-Fernandez@wiu.edu
CAS Email: cas@wiu.edu
Location: Morgan Hall 114
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1828

CAS Website

Foreign Languages and Literatures Advising

Sharon Hunter
Morgan Hall 028
Phone: (309) 298-1846
Email: SL-Hunter2@wiu.edu

Morgan Hall