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Language Studies

Language plays an integral part in many interdisciplinary studies at Hampshire. Through courses offered at Hampshire and through the Five College consortium, students can study a variety of languages as well as integrate language into their larger academic studies. Students also look at language through the study of translation, linguistics, history and more.

Beginning- to advanced-level language classes are offered throughout Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst and  are open to all students in the Five College consortium. Students at Hampshire who wish to pursue more advanced studies in a language in which they are already proficient may qualify for an advanced language and literature class at one of the other colleges.

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Associated Faculty

Daniel Altshuler
Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Hampshire College Professor Polina Barskova
Associate Professor of Russian Literature
Hampshire College Professor Kay Johnson
Professor of Asian Studies

Student Project Titles

Sample First-Year Course

Immersion Spanish

This is an intensive immersion course that will have you eating, sleeping, and dreaming Spanish. It will include the four skill areas (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) but will focus on the learner speaking and understanding the spoken language. Classes are small and are designed to meet the individual needs of each student. The course consists of class time, videos, parties, afternoon cafe, dancing, cooking, guest speakers, and a strong cultural component.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

Through the Consortium

Facilities and Resources

Five College Center for the Study of World Languages
In addition, the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages coordinates the Five College Supervised Independent Languages Program (FCSILP), which offers independent study courses in the least commonly taught languages. This selective program admits highly motivated students with a record of past success in language learning, and admission is granted first to students who have a clear and defined plan for using the language in their academic work or future vocation. Students have weekly conversation practice sessions led by a native-speaking conversation partner.

The languages offered through this program include Bulgarian, Czech, Georgian, Modern Greek, Hausa, Hungarian, Norwegian, Persian/Farsi, Romanian, Serbo-Croation, Slovak, Thai, Turkish, Turkmen, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Wolof, and Zulu.

Five College Mentored Language Program
Arabic, Hindi, Pashto, Persian, Turkish, Swahili, and Urdu are available through the Five College Mentored Language Program. The mentored format, like FCSILP courses, involves independent study and weekly conversation sessions, but adds a weekly thirty-minute individual tutorial with study guides and written homework assignments. The mentored format allows for more feedback and individualized help during the semester than with standard FCSILP courses.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
In association with the Northampton-based International Language Institute, Hampshire offers certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This two-semester curriculum exposes students to a variety of approaches to language learning before immersing them in the classroom experience through observation and, in the second semester, teaching ESOL classes at the International Language Institute in Northampton under the supervision of a TESOL trainer.

National Yiddish Book Center
Located on the Hampshire campus, the National Yiddish Book Center houses the world's largest collection of books written in Yiddish. The Center creates innovative programs to inspire readers and students who want to learn more about the Yiddish language, Jewish history and culture. Yiddish book scholarships have supported undergraduates, graduates, readers and teachers in their ongoing study of Yiddish literature. The Center offers events and conferences for college students, focusing on Jewish literature and culture, and an eight week summer immersion internship in Yiddish language and culture which has given dozens of students a valuable foundation for notable careers in the fields of Jewish Studies and education.

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Office of the Dean of Faculty
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002