Critical Languages Website


Coordinator, JANE CANOVA

The Critical Languages Program enables students to study important foreign languages not taught in regular courses at Williams. The languages offered are Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, and Swahili. Each may be studied for one year at the elementary level.

All courses adhere to the guidelines of the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP). Students work independently with standard language textbooks and individual cassette tapes for roughly ten hours per week and attend two one-hour group review sessions per week with native-speaking tutors. Language faculty from other institutions conduct the midterm and final exams and determine the final grades.

To be eligible for a Critical Languages course, the student must:

* demonstrate proven capability for independent work and previous success in foreign language study;

* explain how study of the language will integrate with his or her major or other academic interests;

* present a letter of recommendation from a Williams faculty member;

* in some cases take a pretest for placement;

* have attained sophomore standing or higher;

* have at least a 3.00 Grade Point Average.

Interested students should obtain an application form for the desired course in early April. Forms are available at the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in Weston Hall. Students must meet with the program coordinator and hand in the completed application forms no later than one week before preregistration. The application must be approved before registering for the course.

Students should note that Critical Languages courses are hyphenated, meaning no credit is given for the first semester until the second semester is successfully completed. Students must normally begin a course in the fall semester. It cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

A Critical Languages course will be scheduled only if and when at least two students are accepted into the course. Students planning to register for the course must attend an organizational meeting the first week of each semester.