The Program, Comparative Languages and Linguistics | Earlham College Skip to Content

The Program

With today's increased opportunity for exchange across language communities, the need for competence in other languages and the ability to think critically about how language constructs people's sense of reality have also increased.

Earlham's Comparative Languages and Linguistics major offers students the option of combining the study of two or more languages with their interest in linguistics and language-related content areas such as literature, film and other cultural products. It demands that students develop culturally appropriate communicative skills in more than one language and reflect upon the nature of language itself. The major requires off-campus study, a colloquium and a senior thesis that includes a public presentation.

The Major prepares students for a variety of careers in teaching, translation, law, communications, non-profit work and international business.

The Major

CLL majors must be intrinsically motivated and entrepreneurial given the interdisciplinary structure of the program and unique combination of languages each student pulls together. Students who do not arrive at Earlham with substantial skills in at least one language must plan carefully beginning in their first year. All students choose an academic adviser in CLL to help guide them through the program. In their senior year, they consult with a thesis adviser from among CLL faculty and at least one other faculty member on their Senior Capstone experience.

All CLL majors must complete the following:

  • One course designated as Writing Intensive (WI) and one course designated as Research Intensive (RCH).
  • One semester-length, off-campus study with courses taught in one of the selected languages.
  • One course in linguistics, chosen from:
    • CLL 345 Linguistics
    • CLL 348 Sociolinguistics
    • JAPN 422 Japanese Linguistics
    • SPAN 336 Linguistics, Language, and Pedagogy
    • SPAN 406 Topics in Linguistics
  • At least three other courses that focus on language as the topic. These may be chosen from the linguistics options above, the following courses, or an adviser-approved substitution:
    • ENG 469 Contemporary Literary Criticism
    • CLL 407 Translation: Theory and Practice
    • FREN 458 Contemporary Thought
    • JAPN 351 Teaching Japanese as a Second Language
    • JAPN 422 Japanese in Social Context
    • JAPN 431 Literacy in Japanese
    • PHIL 252 Philosophy and Film Theory
    • PHIL 330 Postcolonial Theory
    • PHIL 365 Philosophy of Language
    • PHIL 460 Contemporary Philosophy
    • SOAN 341 Contemporary Social Thought
    • TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching
  • CLL 480 Colloquium
  • CLL 488 Senior Capstone Experience

In addition:

  • For Spanish, French and German, students must take a minimum of two courses numbered above the 310-level and taught in the target language.
  • For Arabic, Chinese and Japanese, students must complete two language courses at the 300-level or demonstrate the equivalent proficiency level. They also must take two courses related to literature, film or culture for the chosen language. These courses may be listed or cross-listed under Middle East Studies, Chinese Studies, or Japanese Studies.
  • For Latin, students must complete ANCS 342 Reading Latin and take a minimum of 12 additional non-language credits (four courses) related to the study of Latin.
  • Neither language can be the student's first or "mother" tongue.

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
  • (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

This course combines independent study with the structure of a class to allow students to learn a language not offered at Earlham. Students choose their language, set learning goals, locate materials,and help determine how progress is evaluated. All students complete a presentation, a mapping project, a connections project, and a reflective journal. Learning is measured in part through external means such as online tests. Students must have learned English in high school and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above, placement into 300-level course in a language Earlham offers, Earlham language course at 102 level or higher with grade of A- or A, a semester or year off-campus program with significant language component, or permission of the instructor.

CLL 345 LINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Introduces students to the nature of human language: its use, evolution and diversity. Approaches language as a system of communication and human behavior. Provides students practice in using certain basic skills when thinking about language: analyzing data, making generalizations, proposing hypotheses, providing argumentation and formulating proposals

Designed to help students interested in language learn how language functions in a social context. Topics include language and cultural meaning, connections between language variation and geographical/ethnic backgrounds, social class and social networks, age and gender, forms of address and politeness, non-verbal communication, language for social change, and language education and policy. Also listed as TESO 348. (D-I) (AY)

CLL 480 COLLOQUIUM (1 credit)
Through readings, lectures, discussions and research on practical and theoretical aspects of language, students develop a critical understanding of linguistic and cultural differences, connect to other disciplines through languages, and begin to identify a literary, linguistic, and/or cultural topic in preparation for their senior capstone experience.

An internship or practicum organized by the student in consultation with the adviser. Credits for the experience must be negotiated between the adviser and the on-site supervisor. The experience involves one of the following: (a) teaching or tutoring a second language, (b) a special research project or (c) interpreting / translation. Depending on the experience, students enhance their communicative skills, develop a critical understanding of linguistic and cultural differences, connect to other disciplines through languages, come to a deeper understanding of the role of translation in cross-cultural communication, and/or reflect on career and life goals.

Students complete a comprehensive thesis that is comparative in nature and present their work publicly. For their thesis, they analyze complex literary, visual, and/or cultural texts in a comparative framework; demonstrate their knowledge of and engagement with sociolinguistic, literary, and cultural theories and methodologies; locate and use quality information correctly; and produce oral and written argumentations on a literary, linguistic, and/or cultural topic.

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