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Modern Languages

Co-Chairs:  Dr. Sonia Ticas and Dr. Christopher Keaveney
Transfer Advisor: Dr. Christopher Keaveney
First-Year student contact:  Dr. Christopher T. Keaveney

Placement and study abroad

First-year students who intend to continue a language begun in high school must take the placement test during the summer before course reservations.  Reservation is provisional and will be confirmed on the basis of an examination during August orientation.  The placement test is not necessary for those who are just beginning a language.  Beginners register for language courses numbered 101.  If Fall-term sections are full, some languages will also be offered during January Term. Please consult with department chairs.


Studying at one of our sites abroad for a semester is an optimal way of attaining language proficiency and intercultural competence.  Studying abroad will not impede progress toward your major.

  • Four considerations when choosing a language
    • Consider a language that represents a culture in which you’re interested, a language that catches your fancy.  Don’t be afraid to study a language to which you have never been exposed before.
    • Consider which language might best match your intended major.  Consult with your advisor and members of our department for advice.
    • Consider a language that best serves your long-term professional/career goals.  Do you plan to work or live abroad?  Remember, the ability to communicate in a foreign language can be a major asset in many fields.  In fact, many companies prefer to hire people who have lived abroad.
    • Consider class size.  If you flourish in small groups, consider a language that typically has no more than twenty students such as Chinese, French, German, or Japanese.  
  •  Helpful information about the languages we teach at Linfield

Knowledge of Chinese provides access to a society that is increasing in importance to American life every year.  A Pacific Rim powerhouse with nearly a quarter of the world’s population, China sends scholars and business people to the U.S., many of whom live and work on the West Coast. Chinese is the fastest growing language of study at American colleges and universities. Those who study Chinese at Linfield are eligible to study abroad in our program at prestigious Beijing University.


French, spoken in 43 countries on 5 continents, is a major international language of diplomacy and trade.  France is the world’s seventh largest economy, the fourth largest destination of foreign investments in the world, and the number one tourist destination.  There are over 1,200 French companies in the U.S. and hundreds of American companies operate in France.

German, spoken in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, is the world’s second most frequently used business language; over 1,100 companies from German-speaking countries have subsidiaries in the U.S.  One in four Americans has roots in one of these countries, which have a long tradition of excellence in philosophy, literature, history, the sciences, and the arts.

Japan has powerful economic and strategic influence among the Pacific Rim nations.  Prestigious Japanese businesses--from auto manufacturers to high-tech corporations--have operations in the United States.  Japanese games and animation also have an increasingly international appeal.

Learn Latin if you intend to engage in advanced study in the humanities.  Linfield students are excited to study Latin origins of a substantial part of the English vocabulary and to see the connections between Latin and its popular daughter languages: French, Italian, and Spanish.  Latin is also useful in medicine, as many medical terms have roots in this language.

Spanish is spoken not only in Spain but also throughout Latin America. In fact, Spanish has become the unofficial second language of the United States.  Since trade and cooperation with all these countries has increased dramatically in recent years, and because substantial parts of American society have their origins in these vibrant cultures, the public and private sectors often need Spanish speaking employees.