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Undergraduate language programs face potential merger in 2017

By Scott Strasser, October 16 2014 —

The department of linguistics, languages and cultures is working on a proposal for a new bachelor of arts program that will combine German, Russian and East Asian Language Studies under one title.

Students can potentially enrol in the new degree program — which will likely be called languages and cultures (LLC) – in 2017.

Students majoring in LLC would pick a primary language specialization and a secondary language to study. Students will take four full-course equivalents for their primary language and three for their secondary language.

Students would be able to specialize in any of the languages currently offered through the department of linguistics, languages and culture including German, Russian, Mandarin and Japanese.

The other languages offered at the U of C — French, Italian and Spanish — are in separate departments and won’t be offered in the new undergraduate program.

Department services assistant Sarah Taekema said the degree will likely offer courses in First Nations languages, American Sign Language and Arabic.

“Arabic is currently a pilot program, so it’s only in its second year. If there is still demand for it after its third year, then we can move it into a more commonly offered course, but it’s doing very well,” Taekema said.

Taekema said many students come into the current department with prior knowledge in languages, but are discouraged to study them because they are not sure which classes to start with.

“The reason for the new BA is to create something that students with an [already high] level of language are able to study,” Taekema said.

Taekema said the program is still a work in progress.

“We’re at the stage where we’re consulting students to see if they would find this effective and engaging,” Taekema said.

Instructor of Japanese Yoko Kodama said the program merger is in response to current trends.

“We’re becoming more internationalized and [this program] would focus on those inter-cultural relationships,” Kodama said.

The proposal for the new program also includes common courses for all LLC majors, regardless of what language they study. Tentative courses include LLC 200: introduction to language learning, LLC 451: cross-cultural explorations and LLC 499:  cross-cultural research projects.

Courses from other degree programs, such as communication and culture, will be recommended for LLC majors.


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