World Languages2022-07-18T10:50:07+00:00

World Languages

Placement Requirements

The placement process for new students is different from that for returning students. Please review the placement requirements for the appropriate group at the links below.

Placement Requirements for New Students
Placement Requirements for Returning Students
Placement Requirements for New Students
Placement Requirements for Returning Students

All placements are subject to review by the head of the department.

Department Courses

Japanese

Latin

French

Spanish

List of Courses

French 1

Available to: all students

This first-year proficiency-based course introduces basic elements of francophone language and culture by way of a student-centered, communicative, and immersive classroom environment. Students engage in regular study of introductory grammar topics including basic sentence structure, conjugation of verbs in the present, past and future tenses, adjective and adverb placement, as well as the beginning stages of more complex topics that they will master in their second year of language study. A linguistic toolkit provides students with the building blocks to express themselves in a diverse array of everyday, authentic situations including introducing themselves, ordering in a restaurant, asking and answering basic questions, and explaining likes and dislikes. A strong emphasis is placed on pronunciation, listening and reading comprehension, as well as spoken and written production. By the end of the first year of language study, students are able to construct sentences, answer simple questions, and understand clear and slowly spoken French. Students can expect work to be based largely around the four language competencies: writing, reading, listening and speaking. Homework and assessments are designed to engage and motivate students to achieve a novice level of French in their first year.

French 2 / French 2 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

The second year of French language study is a continuation of French 1, adding new structures to their repertoire. Students improve upon their grammar and vocabulary, by applying them to everyday contexts and participating in fun communicative activities that quiz them on their knowledge. The primary focus of the French 2 curriculum is to give students the tools and confidence to approach intermediate proficiency by the start of French 3 and communicate in francophone environments. Students will engage with a variety of authentic texts, including videos and short stories. A continued focus will be placed on pronunciation, listening and reading comprehension, as well as spoken and written production. Students can expect work to be based largely around the four language competencies: writing, reading, listening and speaking. Students in the Honors section will demonstrate the ability to organize and express individual and unique thoughts based on the tools they have acquired in class. The honors course will provide students with opportunities to complete extension work and to apply their knowledge and skills to topics beyond the regular French 2 curriculum.

French 3 / French 3 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

The third year of French continues to foster students’ development in reading, writing, listening, and speaking the language. Throughout the year, students revisit important grammar and vocabulary from years 1-2 while also learning new concepts. Students apply their growing command of the language through games, daily partner and group conversational activities, personal and collaborative writing exercises, and engagement with authentic print, audio, and video sources. All the while, they develop their own projects that demonstrate their skill with the French language and their passion for the francophone world. Students read a sequence of several longer texts throughout the year. Students in the honors section read a more challenging slate of texts and engage in more rigorous cultural and grammatical study.

French 4 / AP French Language and Culture

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

The AP French course is structured around the six major themes of the AP French Language and Culture examination: global challenges, science and technology, contemporary life, personal and public identities, families and communities, and aesthetics and beauty. The course enables students to hone their French language skills and offers opportunities to complete practice exam activities. Students prepare for the AP exam, and most students elect to take it. At the same time, they design projects that demonstrate their passion for the language and the francophone world. Taught in conjunction with AP French, French 4 is intended for students who wish to apply the grammar they have learned in years 1 through 3 to more advanced conversation and deeper comprehension of advanced authentic reading sources. Students study articles, news reports and videos that expose them to a variety of francophone contexts. Regular study of pronunciation and advanced vocabulary/expressions round out students’ proficiency.

Japanese 1

Available to: all students

This first-year course serves as an introduction to the study of both Japanese language and culture for students with no prior experience or a novice level of proficiency. An emphasis is placed on mastery of basic grammatical structures and elementary vocabulary as a preparation for further study at more advanced levels. By the end of the year, students are to master all 46 hiragana and 46 katakana characters with 35 kanji. They cannot only read or write on very familiar topics using a variety of words and phrases and expressions they practiced, but they can also present and communicate on very familiar topics such as their families and school activities. Students will be exposed to the Japanese language and culture through authentic cultural materials and an immersive and fun classroom environment.

Japanese 2 / Japanese 2 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

The second year seeks to build off the progress made in Japanese 1, and continues the study of basic grammar, verb forms, and everyday vocabulary through oral and written practice. Students will practice the various modes of communication as they explore more of the Japanese culture. An emphasis is placed on continuing to develop all language skills and to understand Japanese cultural elements. In Japanese 2, students will immerse themselves in the language, as they seek to improve upon the proficiency they have built in the first year. At the honors level, the focus shifts to the acquisition of grammar forms used in daily conversation as well as written work in an attempt to build a more sophisticated understanding of the language. The Japanese 2 students are to add about 120 kanji while Japanese 2 Honors students add nearly 200 kanji to what they have mastered in the previous year.

Japanese 3 / Japanese 3 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

Japanese 3 continues to build upon the framework established in the first two years of study, as students work with more sophisticated grammar, verb forms, and more elaborate vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. The ultimate goal of this course is to continue to emphasize conversation with the hopes that students will not only improve their language skills but also become able to communicate with native speakers. At the honors level, students will be asked to express themselves in a variety of forms, both written and spoken, as they continue to improve their language proficiency at the ACTFL Intermediate-Low level for Japanese 3 and Intermediate-Mid for Japanese 3H. The Japanese 3 students are to add about 120 kanji while Japanese 3 Honors students add about 200 kanji to what they have mastered in the previous year.

Japanese 4 / AP Japanese Language and Culture

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

The fourth year of Japanese helps students strengthen their speaking and writing skills as well as their listening and reading comprehension. The course involves a variety of opportunities for both interpersonal and presentational communication, including frequent oral presentations, written reports, and class discussions. Classes are conducted principally in Japanese, emphasizing students’ increasing ability to speak freely and accurately. An immersive environment is essential at this level of a student’s language development, and students are encouraged to continue honing their language proficiency. The Japanese 4 students are to add about 120 kanji while Japanese AP students learn 40 more new kanji in the fall term and focus on reviewing the total of about 500 kanji in the spring term. At the AP level, students prepare for the AP Examination in May through a careful review of the AP curriculum and can reach the ACTFL Intermediate-High level or even higher for their proficiency in their four skills.

Latin 1

Available to: all students

First-year Latin introduces the fundamentals of the language and culture, with an emphasis on the acquisition of grammar and vocabulary necessary for reading original passages of Latin prose and poetry. This close reading instills an appreciation of Latin literature and Roman culture and a recognition of their influence on the literature and cultural patterns of modern society. Because the class stresses Latin’s influence on English, students gain a heightened understanding of English vocabulary, grammar, and general linguistic skills. Throughout the course, students participate through a variety of independent and collaborative learning experiences.

Latin 2 / Latin 2 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

Latin 2 continues the study of grammar and vocabulary that was initiated in year one. In addition, students dive into the Mediterranean world, exploring all the way from Hadrian’s wall in Britain to the Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt . Throughout the course, students consider the ways in which Classical culture has persisted and influenced modern society, most notably through literature, art, and entertainment.

Latin 3 / Latin 3 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

After a comprehensive review, students gain the ability to read selected Latin literature, focusing largely on the writing of Caesar and Ovid, and explore the historical context of their works. Students will hone their analytical and creative skills over the course of the spring term through a variety of projects and assessments. The course pinpoints the transition from Republican to Imperial Rome and challenges students to consider their own notions of power, love, and transformation.

Latin 4 / AP Latin

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

Students will read and explore extended passages from Caesar’s De Bello Gallico (The Gallic War) and Vergil’s Aeneid. Through translating and analyzing these authors, the class discusses the history and historiography of the late Republic and early Empire. Class projects range from music videos to analytical essays to Caesar’s very own Instagram. In the AP section, students follow the AP curriculum and are prepared to take the examination in May.

Spanish 1

Available to: all students

Spanish I is intended for students with little to no previous experience with the Spanish language and a novice level of proficiency. This course lays the foundation for all future Spanish courses at Stevenson and offers an introduction to the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. Students are introduced to the Spanish-speaking world and are exposed to a variety of cultural elements through level-appropriate books, articles, videos, and other authentic Spanish artifacts. An emphasis is placed on building fundamental language-learning techniques and cultivating a genuine curiosity for the language and culture of Spanish-speaking countries. In order to build both oral and written proficiency, the classroom is an immersive environment in which priority is given to communication and the practical application of the language. This course represents the first step in a student’s language learning adventure and seeks to cultivate a community of life-long language learners.

Spanish 2 / Spanish 2 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all students

Spanish 2 is focused on building upon the language skills learned in year one. With continued work to build proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing, students are immersed in the language through culturally relevant and authentic materials. Students read short novels in order to enhance their reading proficiency, while also expanding their cultural understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. Classroom activities are designed to push students out of their comfort zone, explore cultures far different from their own, and ultimately nurture an appreciation for the world around them. Grammar plays a central role in Spanish 2; however, the main focus of the class is to create opportunities for students to hear, respond to, and interact with the language. Activities are student-centered and communicative in nature, all in an effort to foster a commitment and desire to learn and improve. Students who demonstrate greater proficiency can be placed into Spanish 2 Honors, which is a faster-paced and more immersive environment. The Spanish 2 Honors course focuses more on proficiency through reading stories and novels designed for language learners. Both Spanish 2 and 2 Honors courses invite students to immerse themselves into the Spanish language on the path towards discovering the joy of sustained language learning.

Spanish 3 / Spanish 3 Honors

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

Spanish 3 is an opportunity for students to put into practice and reinforce the oral and written communication skills they have honed in years one and two, while broadening their understanding of the Spanish-speaking world through an ever increasing immersive classroom. Students are asked to engage in daily conversation, debate a variety of topics, and conduct extensive research on a Spanish-speaking country of their choice. Spanish 3 aims to offer students a deeper understanding of grammatical structures and idiomatic expressions through collaborative projects and presentations that simulate real-life applications of the language. With a focus on proficiency, this course is ultimately an exploration of identity both for students’ daily life on campus and the world as a whole. In the Honors section, students will engage with a variety of authentic texts, expand their grammatical and lexical repertoire, push themselves to engage in higher level thinking in the target language, and make progress towards an intermediate-high proficiency level.

Spanish 4 / AP Spanish Language and Culture

Type: honors available

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

In Spanish 4, students are invited to apply their Spanish language knowledge in an immersive setting. Assignments and activities are designed to push students toward advanced proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening activities. Grammar is seldom explicitly taught, rather analyzed contextually. Students navigate the language within the context of real-world applications like debate, discussion and reflection of current events, culture and experiences of native Spanish speakers. A major component of the course is a project in which all students are tasked with a deep dive into an immersive and communicative experience in an area of their choosing. Past projects have included an economic analysis of the situation in Venezuela, a rating of the authenticity of local Mexican restaurants, a study of the challenges of coffee farming in Bolivia, among others. In all, students complete Spanish 4 with a broader view of the world around them and a greater comfort communicating in speaking and writing. In the AP Spanish Language and Culture course, students work their way through the AP curriculum and hone their proficiency in listening, reading, writing and speaking through a variety of activities and creative projects. This course is an exploration of the world (exclusively taught in Spanish), and provides students an opportunity to critically analyze and question the world in which they live, while also preparing for the AP examination.

Spanish 5: Semester Courses

Available to: all qualified students, see placement requirements link above

Schedule: each meets during a single semester

The Semester Spanish course offerings can change from year to year. The registrar will work with students to request particular semester Spanish courses in May.

Spanish 5 represents the culmination of a student’s Spanish adventure at Stevenson. These courses are taught exclusively in the target language and focus heavily on culture in the Spanish-speaking world. Elective offerings might include topics such as literature, history, art, and film. The aim of these courses is to further develop students’ proficiency in Spanish, while also encouraging them to broaden their understanding of the world around them.

Spanish 5: Survey of Cuban Culture

The culmination of the nineteenth century marks the beginning of a significant chapter in the history of Cuba. In 1898 the Spanish American War ended, and Spain lost the colony of Cuba to the United States. The island’s transition to the Republic (1902-1958) and later to the Revolution of 1959 caused cultural, social, and political changes that shaped and affected the formation of a national identity. This course gives students an overview of Cuban culture from the Republic to the 1990s. We will explore the cultural contrast between pre and post-Revolutionary Cuba by engaging with relevant materials. Furthermore, we will discuss post-colonialism and expressions of national identity, the importance of censorship, political exile, and diaspora.

Spanish 5: 20th Century Latin American Children’s Literature

During our childhood, we all formed part of what Alison Lurie calls “a partly savage and ancient tribe.” We were not only members of that tribe, but we read and enjoyed its texts, the didactic and the subversive ones. Over the course of the semester students will gain a deeper understanding of children’s literature in general and identify key concepts and terminology related to this field. We will analyze a selection of short stories by well-known Latin American writers exploring the narrative resources used as well as their historical and cultural context. In addition, students will question many of the commonly held conceptions and stereotypes about children, childhood, and children’s literature and develop a critical perspective of how children are defined by culture, what they are expected to read and why.

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