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
The beginner courses offered by the Center for Portuguese Studies aim to provide students who are learning Portuguese for the first time with the necessary tools to communicate in daily life situations. By the end of a beginner course, students will have learned how to introduce themselves, how to describe people and objects using regular and irregular verbs, articles, and adverbs. Students will also have learned how to write basic texts such as e-mails to friends or relatives. The purpose of our intermediate and advanced courses is to help students to improve their writing and speaking skills in a way that they will be able to express themselves using more complex grammatical structures. Broadly speaking, the commitment of our instructors is to prepare students, regardless of their level, to communicate in a foreign language that can be decisive in their professional lives.
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.
Why study Portuguese?
Due to the fact that Portuguese is the native language of a considerable percentage of the Southern Hemisphere’s population, and considering that we are living in a globalized world that requires multidisciplinary and multilingual skills, learning Portuguese may open doors to new and emergent markets outside the United States. Portuguese is widely spoken in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. Portuguese is also one of the working languages of some international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the European Union, Mercosul or the Organization of Ibero-American States.
Moreover, the existence of a large community of Portuguese and Brazilian immigrants in the United States is another reason to learn Portuguese. In states like New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts or even California, the Portuguese and Brazilian communities play such a crucial role in boosting local economies that several small and medium businesses located there have been thriving over the decades, despite using Portuguese as their main (and sometimes only) language.
Last but not least, learning Portuguese, the language used by the poet Luís de Camões to describe the heroic deeds of the 15th-century Discoverers, constitutes a chance for students to come into contact with an incredibly rich and heterogeneous culture that found its greatest expression in literature. Portuguese and Brazilian writers, such as Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Machado de Assis or Clarice Lispector, gave life to fascinating literary works appreciated by people all over the world, and the same could be said about other figures who did not write but revolutionized arts as painting, sculpture or architecture.
Visit the Catherine of Bragança Center for Portuguese Studies web site to learn more.