About the Department
The Romance languages, which include French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, share a common origin in the Latin spoken in the Roman Empire. Through the centuries, each of these languages has become the heart of a great culture and literature, producing many of the masterpieces of Western civilization. The languages, literatures and cultures of France and Francophonie, of Iberia and Latin America and of Italy represent a global legacy, vital for an understanding of our contemporary world –where we are and how we got here.
Students in the Department gain proficiency in one or more of the Romance Languages as a means to enter into a new and inexhaustibly rich cultural world, a world that through its literature, ideas, history, art, music, and film has shaped our own, and can give us a new perspective on our own culture and experience.
Did you know?
... that 2/3 of the 700 million Romance language speakers in the world today live outside Europe?
(source: World Almanac and Book of Facts; 2006, 731-732.
Studying Romance Languages also has practical advantages. In an increasingly globalized economy, our graduates know that speaking another language opens up a world of opportunities both in the US and abroad. Many students choose to study French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish as a supplementary major or minor in addition to another field of study.
In fact, the skills in critical, interpretive, and creative thinking and in communication, as well as the broad experience and self-confidence in new environments that our program fosters are invaluable to a variety of career paths, from business and law to medicine, education, and the arts.
Our majors graduate not only with the satisfaction and advantages that multilingualism affords, but with a deeper understanding of other ways of life, and of their own lives as well.