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Hispanic Languages and Literatures

The program of instruction in the department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures seeks, through the achievement of an accurate reading knowledge, adequate aural comprehension, and conversational proficiency, to prepare students to understand and appreciate the language, literature, and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Upon completion of the basic courses, students are expected to have a thorough, practical command of Spanish, including an ability to understand more fully the culture or cultures which that language reflects.

Why Study Spanish?

Spanish is the official language, not only of Spain, but also of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and most of South America. Spanish, with approximately 320 million speakers, is the fourth most spoken language on the planet and the United States is now officially the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world! Spanish is spoken as a first or second language by approximately 10% of the total population of the United States (over 30 million people)! The ability to read and speak Spanish allows you to communicate in one of the major languages of international business and finance and with the NAFTA agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, Spanish has become even that much more essential in the world of international commerce. It also gives you access to original works, studies, reports and other written materials, as well as television and radio channels which broadcast in Spanish.  

Some areas of the U.S. are bilingual: southern Florida; parts of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Chicago and New York. Aside from the Hispanic countries and Spain, Spanish is spoken in the Philippines and in parts of Africa. Spanish is also one of the five official languages of the United Nations.

Spanish also helps to better understand English. Both languages are influenced largely by the Latin, so there are several similarities. There are several words borrowed from Spanish, such as macho, rodeo, mosquito, and patio. Spanish is the official language in 21 countries, and in Canada, it is the first language of over 180,000 people. Of these almost 10% live in British Columbia. It is a language not only of scholarship and travel but also of commerce and international affairs. Career opportunities exist in business administration, commerce, banking, public relations, translation services, publishing, journalism, the tourist industry, hotel management, as well as in secondary and post- secondary teaching. Outside the department, students can complement their Spanish studies with a number of fields, such as history, political science, business, geography or anthropology. Since Spanish is spoken in so many countries around the world, highly qualified bilingual graduates are in demand by the international business community, the Foreign Service and by international agencies such as the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the United Nations.  


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 Office Information

Queens Hall, Room 100
65-30 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, New York 11367

Phone: 718-997-5660
Fax: 718-997-5669

José Miguel Martínez-Torrejón

Advising Hours
(click to download)

Spanish Tutoring Schedule
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Spanish Language Placement

Students may visit the department office in Queens Hall, Room 100 any time Monday-Thursday and they will receive instructions on how to take the Spanish placement exam on a department computer.


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