Languages and Applied Linguistics

2014-15 General Catalog

Department of the Languages and Applied Linguistics
218 Cowell College
(831) 459-2054

Faculty | Languages Course Descriptions | Academic English Course Descriptions | Applied Linguistics Course Descriptions

Program Description

Understanding how language works is a crucial part of comprehending human interaction. Language is an intellectual tool basic to all disciplines. In today’s communities, multicultural and global, learning a second language is not a refinement but a necessity—the key to understanding and communicating with others near and far. The goal of the Language Program at UCSC is to allow students to achieve a substantial level of proficiency in languages other than English. Since such proficiency always includes cultural as well as linguistic comprehension, the program includes investigating the complex relationship between language and culture.

The Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics offers rigorous training by professional instructors. Most courses are taught in the target language from the very beginning. Currently, we offer courses in Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Spanish for Heritage speakers, and Yiddish.

Students with previous language preparation who wish to continue in that language take a placement examination to determine the course level appropriate for them. Each language’s placement examination format is described in the quarterly Schedule of Classes, along with the time, date, and location of the examination.

McHenry Library houses an abundance of print and audiovisual material in the languages taught at UCSC, including music recordings and videos. Television programs are received from countries around the world. Faculty in the Language Program are incorporating new technologies into their teaching on an ongoing basis, including web-based resources.

Our upper-division courses further expand students' understanding of language in its social contexts, focusing on linguistic, historical, literary, sociological and cultural issues, among others.

Currently the Department of the Languages and Applied Linguistics also offers courses in applied linguistics that fulfill requirements toward the language studies and linguistics majors: language and gender, language teaching, and intercultural communication.

The Department of the Languages and Applied Linguistics houses the Spanish Studies major, which enables students to learn in depth about the languages, histories and cultures of the Spanish speaking world.

Students of language interested in theater have the opportunity to participate in the annual International Playhouse, which presents highly successful programs every spring. To date, pieces have been performed in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Everyone taking a language course is also encouraged to participate in foreign film series (e.g., Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish), international music and dance festivals, and conferences on intercultural or international topics.

If a student wishes to study a specific language in depth, language studies is an ideal major that combines courses in language proficiency and culture with general and applied linguistics. Students may also use language courses for the following majors and minors that have a language requirement: classical studies, East Asian studies, German studies, global economics, health sciences, human biology, Italian studies, Jewish studies, Latin American and Latino studies, linguistics, and literature. The History Department encourages students of Asian, Latin American, European, and classical history to study a second language and provides a variety of opportunities to make use of language skills in their studies.

Study abroad is an important component of language study at UCSC. Language students have various opportunities to study abroad, for a summer, quarter, semester, or year. Students may choose to study abroad through the Office of International Education (OIE), through the UCSC Summer Abroad Program, or through affiliate programs around the globe. OIE offers programs in Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. There are programs available for students of all levels of language ability, including Language and Culture programs for beginner or intermediate speakers, to full immersion programs for students with advanced language skills. For a list of current programs and requirements, visit their web site,

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Revised: 09/01/14