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World Language

The World Language Enrichment and Acquisition Program at Hampshire College operates as a resource for faculty and students interested in language learning.

Established through an Andrew W. Mellon grant, the program is designed to make Hampshire into a "language learning community" where students are motivated to integrate the exploration of a world language into their individualized studies.

Through resources both on and off campus, opportunities will be available to develop linguistic competence that will enrich every aspect of their academic experience.

Student Project Titles

  • Producing Reality TV for Social Entrepreneurship in Afghanistan
  • Bricando El Charco y Alzando la Voz: Genero, Raza, y Privilegio en la Produccion del Rap Cubano Underground
  • Cochlear Implants and the Future of Deaf Culture
  • Connecting Second Language Acquisition Research and Second Language Teaching Through Teachers' Critical Reflection
  • Translating Virginia Woolf's On Being Ill from English to Chinese
  • Parts of Speech: Towards Another Translation of Brodsky
  • The Magic Mirror: Avrom Goldfaden's 'Di Kishefmakherin' and the Creation of a Yiddish Literary Cannon
  • Orfeliant--Roman Stories
  • Educating a Society: Language, Power, and Representation
  • Giving Voice Through Written Word: An ESOL Poetry Workshop
  • Hebrew Music, Language, and Literature
  • Intersubjectivity and the Objectification of Art and Language

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
  • American Sign Language I, II
  • Elementary Chinese I, II
  • Immersion Spanish
  • Elementary Spanish I, II
  • Intermediate Spanish I, II
  • Daoism, Shamanism and Shinto: Indigenous Religions of East Asia
  • Quantum Mechanics for the Myriad
  • Social Movements and Social Change: Zapatismo & Latin America's Left
  • Sound, Image and Narrative: A Multidimensional Approach to Japanese Culture
Through the Consortium
  • Arabic (AC, MHC, UMass)
  • Chinese (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • French (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • German (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Greek (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Hebrew (MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Italian (MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Japanese (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Korean (SC)
  • Latin (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Polish (UMass)
  • Portuguese (SC, UMass)
  • Russian (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Sanskrit (MHC)
  • Spanish (AC, MHC, SC, UMass)
  • Swedish (UMass)
  • Yiddish (UMass)

Facilities and Resources

Mellon Grant Funding
The Mellon grant makes it possible for faculty to enhance their own language skills to serve as resources for students and to integrate language study into their courses in an interdisciplinary manner. The Mellon grant is funding three postdoctoral fellows who work with faculty regarding the process of integrating language into their regular courses.

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.

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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