World Languages and Culture

The emphasis of the World Languages and Cultures Department concentrates on language proficiency based on language choice, focused practice, and mastery of written, reading, and listening comprehension combined with speaking skills. Also emphasized are the cultures which the languages represent, so that students learn how people who speak another language think and act. Latin, as our Classical Language, emphasizes reading and cultural comprehension in lieu of written and oral production. The Department offers Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish. Preparation for the Advanced Placement examination is offered in French and Spanish. To qualify for graduation, students must successfully complete Level 3 of a language. After completing graduation requirements, students are strongly encouraged to continue language-learning at the advanced levels. The department uses the standards of the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages as the basis for its curriculum planning and classroom activities.

World Languages and Cultures Faculty

Chinese 1
Year - 6 credits

Students in Chinese 1 will master elementary Chinese language skills in a cultural context enabling them to navigate basic conversational situations in a Chinese-speaking country. In addition to learning Chinese characters, students will also learn Pinyin – a phonetic pronunciation tool for reading characters. By incorporating traditional Chinese art forms, crafts, and games with project-based learning, this class helps students progress towards fluency by using simple Chinese language structures, writing and understanding dialogues, and conversing on familiar topics from everyday situations. Learning to read, write, listen, and speak in the target language is the focus of all classes and activities. Besides teacher-developed handouts and materials, we are using Discovery Chinese volumes 1 & 2.

Chinese 2
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Chinese 1. Students will progress in their mastery of Chinese language skills in a cultural context enabling them to navigate more advanced conversational situations in a Chinese-speaking country. In addition to learning additional Chinese characters, students will continue to use Pinyin – a phonetic pronunciation tool for reading characters. By incorporating traditional Chinese art forms, crafts, and games with project-based learning, this class will help students progress towards fluency by using increasingly complex Chinese language structure, writing and understanding dialogues, and conversing on familiar topics from everyday situations. Learning to read, write, listen, and speak in the target language is the focus of all classes and activities. Besides teacher-developed handouts and materials, we are using Discovery Chinese volumes 3 & 4.

Chinese 3
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Chinese 2. Students will progress further in their mastery of Chinese language skills in a cultural context enabling them to navigate still more advanced conversational situations in a Chinese speaking country. In addition to learning additional Chinese characters, students will also continue to use Pinyin – a phonetic pronunciation tool for reading characters. By incorporating traditional Chinese art forms, crafts and games with project-based learning, this class will help students progress towards fluency by using increasingly complex Chinese language structures, writing and understanding dialogues, and conversing on familiar topics from everyday situations. Learning to read, write, listen and speaking in the target language is the focus of all classes and activities. Besides teacher developed handouts and materials, we are using Magic Tour of China, volume 1.

Chinese 4
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Chinese 3. Students will continue to progress in their mastery of Chinese language skills in a cultural context enabling them to navigate complex conversational situations in a Chinese-speaking country. Students are required to do in-depth research and group projects on various aspects of Chinese language and culture. By incorporating traditional Chinese art forms, crafts, and games with project-based learning, this class will help students progress towards fluency by using increasingly complex Chinese language structure, writing and understanding dialogues, and conversing on familiar topics from everyday situations. Learning to read, write, listen, and speak in the target language is the focus of all classes and activities. Besides teacher-developed handouts and materials, we are using Magic Tour of China, volume 2.

Chinese 5
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Chinese 4. Students will progress in their mastery of Chinese language skills in a cultural context enabling them to navigate complex conversational situations in a Chinese-speaking country. Students are required to do in-depth research and group projects about various aspects of Chinese language and culture. By incorporating traditional Chinese art forms, crafts, and games with project-based learning, this class will help students increase their fluency by using increasingly complex Chinese language structure, writing and understanding dialogues, and conversing on familiar topics from everyday situations. Learning to read, write, listen, and speak in the target language is the focus of all classes and activities. Besides teacher-developed handouts and materials, we are using Magic Tour of China, volume 3.

French 2
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of French 1. Students will expand their ability to communicate in French about themselves and their daily life at home, school, and in their leisure time. At the same time, they learn about the culture of daily life in communities throughout the francophone world and practice using French to accomplish real-life tasks such as ordering a meal and shopping. Emphasis is placed on high-frequency vocabulary and structures that increase students’ abilities to describe, narrate, compare, and explain in writing and speaking. Exposure to popular music and free reading help prepare students to engage with French culture outside of the classroom.

French 3
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of French 2. Students will work with films that illustrate the course themes of family, friendship, education, sports, and the arts with compelling stories from throughout the francophone world. These stories, supplemented with fairy tales, fables, and children’s literature, serve as the basis for class discussions, writing assignments, presentations, and projects. Students use the language to draw connections and comparisons and express and support their opinions. Emphasis continues to be placed on high-frequency vocabulary and structures. Continued exposure to popular music and free reading help prepare students to engage with French culture outside of the classroom.

French 4
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of French 3. Students will hone their communication skills and deepen their cultural understanding through the study of units centered on significant people, places, events, and cultural products throughout modern francophone history. Students will work with authentic materials such as films, video clips, news articles, radio broadcasts, literature, and songs. They will deepen their cultural understanding while broadening their range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Student work will take the form of classroom role plays and debates, creative writing assignments, cultural presentations, and research projects. In addition, students will choose their own avenues for engaging with French outside of the classroom, such as novels, films, or music.

French 5 AP
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of French 4. Students will explore key issues in the contemporary francophone world through journalistic reporting, literature, film, music, and other art forms. Themes will include language and identity, immigration and multiculturalism, religion and secularism, gender roles, and environmental challenges. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the diversity of francophone cultures and identities, as well as an appreciation for how place and perspective have shaped them. Student work will include class debates, persuasive essays, individual research, cultural comparisons, and multimedia presentations. Throughout the course, students will polish their communication skills in preparation for the AP exam and continued study at the college level.

Latin 1
Year – 6 credits

This course introduces the student to the basics of the Latin language and to life as it was lived in diverse areas of the Roman Empire. The focus is on reading Latin rather than simply memorizing endings, and so students begin reading extended passages of Latin at the outset. As their skill develops, the passages become longer and more challenging. Their developing skills in reading Latin will include grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. Through their readings they will become acquainted with life in the Roman Italy, agrarian and turbulent province of Britain, and cosmopolitan Alexandria, Egypt.

Latin 2
Year – 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Latin 1. Students will continue to build on the work they did in Latin 1, to enhance their ability to read more complex passages of Latin. They will learn new vocabulary and syntax necessary for that task. Students will be introduced to the literary style of Classical Latin literature. The passages they read will broaden their knowledge of life and culture in Imperial Rome by learning about the organization of the Roman army, life in the court of the Emperor Domitian, and the siege of Masada and its aftermath.

Latin 3
Year – 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Latin 2. In this course, students will complete their study of the main features of Latin syntax and inflectional forms. The first six chapters of their book form the end of the “novel” that students began reading at the beginning of Latin 1. Students will subsequently read un-adapted passages from authors such as Pliny, Cicero, Ovid, Horace, Catullus, Sallust, and Vergil.

Latin 4
Year – 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Latin 3. The texts for this course are selected in consultation with those students of Latin 3 who intend to pursue a fourth year of study in the language. In the past, students have read Terence’s comic play Adelphoe, Cicero’s philosophical “theory of everything” as set forth in The Dream of Scipio, passages from Vergil’s Aeneid, selections from Petronius’ Satyricon, the poems Catullus and Horace, and others. Grammar and inflectional forms are reviewed and exercised regularly.

Latin 5

Year – 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Latin 4. The texts for this course are selected in consultation with those students of Latin 4 who intend to pursue a fifth year of study in the language. Students may choose to spend one part of the year on poetry and the other on prose, or they may devote the entire year to the study of one longer work such as Lucretius’ Dē rērum nātūrā, Sallust’s War with Jugurtha, or Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The pace of this course is significantly faster than Latin 4; students will be expected to prepare extended passages for translation and discussion for every class meeting, and some attention will be given to pertinent secondary literature.

Spanish 1
Year - 6 credits

This course will allow students to acquire the necessary skills to satisfy most survival needs and limited social demands in a Spanish-speaking country. Students develop the ability to understand the information using simple Spanish structures, and to write and understand paragraphs or dialogue on a familiar topic in order to function in everyday situations. Students familiarize themselves with the culture of the language they are learning through the study of geography and topics related to daily life.

Spanish 2
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Spanish 1. Students will learn to use more complex structures in the present, past, and future tense (orally and in writing), on familiar topics and situations. The culture of daily life, traditions, and famous landmarks in the Hispanic world are studied. Students also learn about the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America.

Spanish 3
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Spanish 2. Students will learn to support opinions with more spontaneity and accuracy, and to describe and narrate using broader vocabulary and more complex sentence structures on familiar topics, both in written and oral forms. They will be able to create and combine new material with greater ease and understand conversations and texts on cultural topics from authentic sources.

Spanish 4
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Spanish 3. This class is designed to prepare students for the AP Spanish course. Students will read a wide selection of Spanish texts, including a full-length novel. Texts will cover all major periods of Spanish and Spanish American literature, starting with medieval Spanish literature. We will read literature both for its aesthetics and historical value, gaining a deep understanding of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish 5 AP
Year - 6 credits

Prerequisite: successful completion of Spanish 4. Students will polish and master their linguistics skills in preparation for the AP examination. An increased amount of authentic materials in the target language, such as newscasts, movies, newspapers, and magazines, will be used to help students practice listening, reading, and speaking skills. Students are trained to converse freely and write about everyday, abstract, and hypothetical topics.

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City Campus
555 Morewood Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
P: 412-578-7500
F: 412-578-7504

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4225 Middle Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
P: 412-486-8341
F: 412-486-8378

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