World Languages—Overview (US)

3 credits of one language or 2 credits of two languages

Chair: Jaime Estrada
See charts on pages 37–40 for sequence of world language courses.

Language both informs and reflects human experience. Language instruction and culture are therefore intentionally and inextricably intertwined at Maret. Because global competence requires today’s learners to understand their own culture as well as those of others, our courses open a unique door to understanding the culture of the people who speak the languages we teach.

Maret requires three language credits for graduation; however, many students study language all four years. Class placement is based on individual learning style, skill development, level of interest, and performance in a current language course (for returning Maret students) or on placement tests and data in the admissions files (for students new to Maret).

Students in Maret’s Classics program not only build their ability to read Latin, but more broadly, they gain an integrated and cohesive interdisciplinary study of Latin and Roman culture within the greater ancient Mediterranean world. To fully acquire and appreciate Latin and Roman history, students must contextualize their studies by having an awareness of Greco-Roman mythology, history, archaeology, architecture, politics, art history, religion, philosophy, and gender studies. At every point in their studies, students think critically about language, literature, and cultural topics, and make connections to the real world. 

Linguistic fluency and cultural competency are the primary goals of Maret’s Modern Languages program. Students learn to adapt resourcefully to new situations and cultural contexts; to build relationships with others based on mutual respect and understanding; and to use their language skills to communicate, persuade, and negotiate. Specifically, students learn to:

• Understand the language when spoken at a normal speed on a topic within the range of the student’s experience

• Communicate efficiently with a native speaker on a topic within the range of the student’s experience

• Write using authentic patterns of the language and appropriate registers of speech

• Read and understand materials without recourse to translation or dictionary

Advanced-level courses provide an introduction and exploration of literary analysis in a modern language. For students who wish to study abroad, Maret offers summer programs in Spain (Spanish) and France (French). Certain advanced classes can be claimed as humanities credits or world language credits.