Course Information

Important Notice

If you would like to take a language course for the first time, please contact our departmental office staff at 416-736-5016 or visit us at Ross South 580 for details.

About Language Courses

  • Before enrolling in an upper-level language course, students must complete a designated lower-level language course, or they must demonstrate an equivalent knowledge of the language in question.
  • Students with previous training in any language will be placed in a course appropriate to their level, which will be determined by a placement questionnaire and/or interview. Generally, students who have completed a full series of Ontario high school courses in a language will be enrolled in the intermediate level of the language concerned.
  • Students may register in a language course at any level in any year, provided that the Department agrees that the student's level of knowledge is appropriate.
  • Although there may be final examinations in language courses, a large part of the evaluation is based on performance in the classroom, assigned work, and frequent tests.
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade of C in a language course to be allowed to enrol in the next higher language course; exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Department. In Chinese and Japanese language courses, however, a minimum grade of B is strongly recommended for those wishing to proceed to the next level.
  • Students who plan to major or minor in one of the Departmental programs are strongly advised to begin study of the appropriate language in their first year.
  • Students in departmental degree programs may be exempted from any or all levels of language courses if they demonstrate an equivalent knowledge of the language. To fulfil Departmental degree requirements, students who have been exempted from such courses must replace them with appropriate departmental courses at the 3000-level and 4000-level.
  • Students must normally complete an appropriate intermediate level language course with a minimum grade of C or have an equivalent background before enrolling in a 2000level introductory literature course. With the permission of the Department, however, students may enrol in an introductory 2000 level literature course concurrently with an intermediate level language course.

About Linguistics Courses

In the field of linguistics we attempt to answer the following types of questions:

  • What is the relation between language and society?
  • Why and how does language change through time?
  • What is the relation between language and thought?
  • How do languages differ from one another?
  • How are all languages alike?
  • How do children learn language?
  • How do we understand and produce sentences?

Stated more generally, linguistics is concerned with discovering the organizing principles of human languages, and applying these principles to the description of individual languages. Using systematic descriptions of language and language usage, linguists also investigate how language interacts with intellectual and cultural life. As a result, the study of linguistics can provide new perspectives on almost every aspect of the humanities and social sciences. In addition, it has applications to teaching, speech language pathology, and the applied sciences of communication, engineering, and computer science.

The Department offers courses in linguistics leading to Honours BA and BA degrees, with 30-credit, 42-credit and 54-credit Major concentrations. For specific requirements and a listing of linguistics course offerings, please consult the separate Supplemental Calendar for Linguistics available from the Departmental Office located in S561 Ross.

About Literature and Culture Courses

Students begin their literature program with an introductory course that is designed to acquaint them with major literary periods and cultural trends and to equip them with the tools of literary analysis. These courses prepare students for advanced courses that deal with specific periods, genres, or themes. Some sections offer literature courses that may not be counted for degree credit for Departmental degree programs. The reading and instruction in these courses is in English.

In addition, many sections offer at least one course dealing with the culture of the language area studied. These courses offer a wider background against which the language and literature may be better understood.

About Language and Language Specific Linguistic Courses

All of these courses endeavour to give students as much exposure as possible to the language to be learned. Courses in modern languages place a heavy emphasis on oral performance, but a variety of teaching techniques is employed to help students gain mastery in all language skills: speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension.

The aim of all elementary and intermediate language courses is to give students sufficient preparation in a language to allow them to function with ease in upper-level language, literature, or culture courses normally conducted in the foreign language.

At the 3000 -level and 4000-level, many sections offer courses about language, such as translation methodology, the history, the structure, or regional variations of a specific language.

About Individualized Reading Courses

Individualized Reading Courses (half courses or full courses - AP/XX4900 3.0, AP/XX4900 6.0) will only be offered under special circumstances and by agreement among a faculty member, the Department, and the student.

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies regulations pertaining to Independent Reading courses apply. However, for the Department specifically, reading courses should be initiated by students. Before being allowed to take such courses, students should have completed at least 3 upper-level(2000-level, 3000-level, or 4000-level) courses in their area of study within the Department or in related and relevant areas.

Approval by the Section Coordinator and Director of Undergraduate Programs must be secured. In addition, all students in Departmental areas of study that do not offer a degree program and students who offer upper-level courses from related areas as their background entry requirements must obtain approval from the Departmental Curriculum Committee before gaining entry to such courses. Relevant sessional dates apply.

About Faculty of Education Language Courses

The Faculty of Education offers certification programs for French and Italian on a formal established basis. Programs for any other language can be established by special arrangement on an individualized basis, provided a host teacher at an appropriate school can be located where a practicum can be absolved and (normally) a monitoring faculty member from York University is available.

For further information, contact directly the Faculty of Education or the Director of Undergraduate Programs (Languages and Literatures).

Please phone the department office at 416-736-5016 to find out what the procedure is for the particular language, literature or linguistics course/program you wish to study.