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For more information, please contact the Chair of the Modern Languages and Literature Department:

Dr. Alva Cellini
(716) 375-2466
Plassmann 206-G7


Competency in a foreign language is one of the hallmarks of the liberally educated person.

It allows the individual to communicate with people of foreign countries on their own terms and to gain firsthand, authentic knowledge of foreign cultures by allowing entrance into their world of expression and thought.

The study of another language not only opens up a foreign culture for students and gives them an acquaintance with an unfamiliar set of language conventions and forms, it also provides a contrast against which their own cultural and linguistic conventions can be perceived and better understood.

We live in an age in which the effective interaction with foreign nations is essential not only for economic prosperity, but also for mutual survival. Consequently, it is very important that students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to deal successfully with nations of differing cultural heritages.

The study of foreign language is a crucial step toward the establishment of positive lines of communication among the world’s nations.

For these reasons all graduates of the Schools of Arts & Sciences, Journalism & Mass Communication and Education must satisfy a foreign language requirement.

The department offers two types of majors: (a) a major in a single modern foreign language: French or Spanish; (b) a major in modern languages, in which the student selects one of the above as his/her primary language and another as his/her secondary language.

Majors and non-majors in modern languages receive a grounding in the fundamental skills of the languages: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing in humanistic oriented courses. There is special emphasis on everyday culture of the foreign country as well.

In addition, majors take advanced courses in conversation and composition, literature and full-semester courses in culture and civilization. Non-majors are also free to enroll in the more advanced courses if their language background warrants it. Students may also select a foreign language as a minor.

Furthermore, the department counsels students on career opportunities in conjunction with the Career Center, works together with the School of Education to prepare teachers of foreign languages, and has an effective placement program for students wishing to study abroad.

The Language Learning Center and computer-assisted instruction programs complement in-class study.

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