Department of Linguistics

Languages

The Linguistics Department offers courses in a variety of languages. Some of these are offered on a regular basis, usually with the odd-numbered levels every fall and the even-numbered levels every spring. Other language courses are offered irregularly in response to interest.

 

Regular language courses:

  • American Sign Language (ASL): six levels of language study, plus courses in Deaf culture and a course in ASL linguistics
  • Arabic (ARA): four levels of language study
  • Chinese (CHI): two levels of language study
  • French (FRE): six levels of language study, plus a conversation course and a French linguistics course
  • German (GER): four levels of language study
  • Italian (ITA): two levels of language study
  • Latin (LAT): two levels of language study
  • Spanish (SPA): six levels of language study, plus a conversation course and a Spanish linguistics course

 

Irregularly offered languages (LAN):

We offer courses in one or two languages each year that are not part of our regular language offerings. The 101 level is offered in the Fall and the 102 level is offered in the Spring. If there is enough interest, we may also continue the language into the following year, with 201 in the Fall and 202 in the Spring. The irregularly offered languages have the prefix LAN. For example, four semesters of Somali would be numbered/titled this way: LAN 101: Beginning Somali I, LAN 102: Beginning Somali II, LAN 201: Intermediate Somali I, LAN 202: Intermediate Somali II. A course in another language would have the same numbering with a different language name in the title (for example, LAN 101: Beginning Farsi I).

If you would like to study a language at USM that is not on the list of regular offerings, please let us know by filling out this form. If we get enough interest in the same language, we will try to offer it.

 

Level:

All the beginning and intermediate language offerings, including LAN, are four-credit courses and share the following level designations:

101: Beginning I – Learning outcome corresponds to ACTFL Novice Mid
102: Beginning II – Learning outcome corresponds to ACTFL Novice High
201: Intermediate I – Learning outcome corresponds to ACTFL Intermediate Low
202: Intermediate II – Learning outcome corresponds to ACTFL Intermediate Mid

 

ASL, French, and Spanish also have 300+ level courses:

ASL 401: Advanced American Sign Language I
ASL 402: Advanced American Sign Language II
ASL 415: ASL Literature in ASL
ASL 417: Deaf Art, Film, and Theater in ASL
FRE 300: Conversational French
FRE 301: Practical French I
FRE 302: Practical French II
SPA 300: Conversational Spanish
SPA 301: Practical Spanish I
SPA 302: Practical Spanish II

 

Starting at a higher level:

If you have studied a language for a few years in high school or if you have already learned some of the language from your family, then we urge you to start at a higher level. A higher-level course will be more beneficial to you than a beginning course. Furthermore, courses run more smoothly when the students are at approximately the same skill level.

If you would like to start a language at a higher level than 101:

  • For ASL, you can take an assessment. Information on it is here.
  • For French or Spanish, you can take an assessment. Information on it is here.
  • For other languages, please contact Dana McDaniel (dana.mcdaniel@maine.edu).

In addition to starting at a higher level, it is possible to get credits for certain language courses by taking an exam. Information on that is here.

 

Core Curriculum (General Education) designations:

All of the 101-202 language courses (including LAN) meet the Cultural Interpretation requirement. FRE 202 also meets the International requirement.

 

Approach:

All of the modern languages are taught using an immersion approach. This means that at least 80% of instruction is conducted in the language. The reason is that the human brain can learn a large amount of language automatically through exposure. Since a four-credit course meets only three hours and 20 minutes per week, it is important to give students as much exposure as possible in this short amount of time. Students are also encouraged to get more exposure outside of class by participating in community events and weekly language tables arranged by our department, as well as through online materials.

 

Degrees in languages:

We offer the following language-related majors:

            B.A. in Linguistics with a Concentration in ASL Linguistics

            B.A in Linguistics with a Concentration in ASL/English Interpreting

            B.A. in Linguistics with a Concentration in French Linguistics

            B.A. in Linguistics with a Concentration in French Linguistics, K-12 Teacher Education

            B.A. in Linguistics with a Concentration in Spanish Linguistics

            B.A. in Linguistics with a Concentration in Spanish Linguistics, K-12 Teacher Education

We offer the following language-related minors:

            Minor in Deaf Studies

            Minor in French Language

            Minor in Spanish Language