Jun 15, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Modern Languages and Literatures

John F. Lalande II, Chair
245 Marano Campus Center
Directory of Professors  

The study of international languages and cultures has become increasingly essential in today’s globally interdependent society, particularly as it helps facilitate cultural understanding and appreciation, and a greater exchange of material and intellectual goods. Oswego’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, one of the largest in the SUNY system, offers major and minor programs of study in French, German and Spanish. In addition, it offers a major in Language and International Trade, certification programs for teachers of French, German and Spanish, and it offers a minor in Italian. The department also provides students with the opportunity to study other languages, among them: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese.

French Major

Proficiency in a second language provides today’s college graduate with a competitive edge in an increasingly globalized market. French majors combine their language skills with courses in economics, international trade, law, public justice, library science, health services, political science, and communication studies, and are highly successful in finding employment in such diverse fields as teaching, government agencies, banking, export divisions of international corporations and the travel and tourist industries.

The French major at Oswego is designed to give students a thorough mastery of speaking, aural comprehension, reading and writing skills in the French language and a solid grounding in French literature and civilization. A multimedia laboratory and developing computer program complements classroom instruction. In addition to beginning, intermediate and advanced language courses, the department offers courses in literature and cinema, both in French and in English. In addition to literature courses covering major authors and periods, genre courses that include poetry and theatre as well as film are offered.

Study programs in Paris and Nice enable French majors and concentrates to experience French life and culture on a daily basis and enhance fluency in the language. Students have also chosen to study for a semester or summer in Quebec, with a SUNY-sponsored program.

Extracurricular activities and cultural opportunities are a vital component of the French Program: students and faculty participate in the French Club and organize film series and colloquia that explore the multi-cultural diversity of Francophonia as well as occasional trips to the province of Quebec. Attendance at the department’s weekly international coffee hour gives students of all levels the possibility of honing their language skills in a more informal academic setting. The department has also sponsored a chapter of Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society.

The French program is successful in placing graduates in some of the best graduate schools where they regularly obtain financial aid in the form of teaching assistantships or fellowships.

German Major

German majors at Oswego have combined their language background with courses in such areas as economics, education, business administration, international trade, and communication studies, to excel in such diverse areas as the teaching profession, government, international business and trade, and the travel/tourist industries. Other popular career choices for German majors include law, library science, political science and the military. Indeed, many of our German majors are double majors.

The German major is designed to help students attain proficiency in speaking, aural comprehension, reading, and writing skills of the German language, and to provide a broad background in culture of the major German-speaking countries. The department offers elementary through advanced German-language courses as well as courses in literature, film studies, business German, pedagogy and culture. Advanced literature and culture courses, which are conducted in German, cover the major periods from the Middle Ages to the present, as well as specific genres and areas such as Berlin im 20. Jahrhundert or Austrian Literature.

Many German majors and some non-majors spend a year studying abroad through overseas programs with German universities. Historically, the most popular exchanges destinations for Oswego students have been with SUNY Oswego sponsored programs at the University of Osnabrück. Through cooperative programs within the SUNY system, however, it is also possible to study at other universities in Leipzig, Germany and Graz, Austria. The German exchange students on the Oswego campus also participate in departmental activities where they are an excellent source of firsthand information on German culture as well as convenient and congenial partners for conversation in German.

Attendance at the department’s weekly international coffee hour gives students of all levels the possibility of honing their German language skills in a more informal academic setting. The department has also sponsored a chapter of Delta Phi Alpha, the National German Honor Society.

For those who wish to continue their study, the German Program has been successful in placing graduates in some of the best graduate schools where they have been awarded grants and stipends for study.

Spanish Major

Competence in Spanish in today’s pluralistic society is an asset and a marketable skill that will likely increase students’ employment opportunities in the national and international job market. The Spanish major is structured to give students a thorough and practical command of speaking, reading and writing necessary to contribute and compete in the professional world.

Available in the Spanish curriculum are beginning courses, open to all students, but designed especially for students majoring in public justice, business and international trade and/or contemplating careers in social service. The conversational approach is emphasized and special attention is placed on vocabulary related to these fields of employment. Upon completion of these courses, students may continue their Spanish training in regular courses offered in the department.

Spanish majors are encouraged to pursue an overseas academic program in Spain, Latin America or Puerto Rico. This educational experience has had a meaningful and valuable impact on many of its participants.

In the SUNY-Puerto Rico Program, sponsored by the Oswego campus, students may enroll in any academic course that they so desire or need (for example, business, history, sociology, etc.) thereby continuing their prescribed program of study as well as reaping the benefits of a new culture and increasing their Spanish fluency.

Many of the Spanish majors pursue a double major, such as Spanish-business, or Spanish-economics, etc. This combination has proven to be most rewarding in the areas of professional opportunities.

The department has been successful in placing graduates in some of the best graduate schools and many of these students have obtained financial aid in the forms of teaching assistantships or fellowships.

Language and International Trade Major

The Languages and International Trade Major is an interdisciplinary program designed for students contemplating a career in international trade. The program is designed to provide students with the necessary language skills, cultural knowledge and understanding of fundamental business and economic concepts that are essential for success in international trade. The program has an internship component which serves as a capstone experience for students by giving them an opportunity to apply the knowledge derived from their studies into a real work setting.

The Modern Language and Literatures Department cosponsors a program leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics:






American Sign Language