Critical Languages

The Critical Languages Program at Williams contributes to the linguistic and cultural diversity of the curriculum at the College by offering students the possibility of studying important foreign languages relevant to their academic interests but not taught on a regular basis at the College. The Program originated in part from requests by a more diverse student body, faculty’s interests in emerging regional issues, and from the need to respond to the pluralistic realities of today’s world. The program can field a limited number of courses per year, and it has offered one–year of elementary Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Korean, Persian, Portuguese and Swahili thus far. Hindi will combine with Urdu starting in academic year 2021-22.

The Critical language courses are designed to develop fundamental language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing as well as intercultural competency. Students study in a self-instructional mode under the tutorial supervision of qualified native speakers and in consultation with senior language specialists from other institutions. Intense work with the recommended textbooks, workbooks and audio materials prepares the student for the biweekly group review sessions with the tutor. Their progress is then measured with midterm and final exams administered by an outside examiner.

The Critical Languages Program at Williams adheres to the standards of the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP).

Contact program coordinator, Jane Canova, for more information.