Welcome to the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures
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Office Information

Chair: Álvaro Fernández
Phone: 718-997-5660
Fax: 718-997-5669
Email: qc.hll@qc.cuny.edu

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

Language Placement:

Undergraduate Advisor:

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.

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.

Language Placement

If you are interested in taking a SPANISH or PORTUGUESE language course, please complete either the Spanish or Portuguese Language Placement Questionnaire so you can be placed in the right course.

If you have any questions, please contact the Language Coordinator by email at hll_placement@qc.cuny.edu. You will receive a response to the placement questionnaire or email within 48 business hours.

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. ​

Requirements to Be a Tutor

Students with advanced fluency, who have also passed SPAN 221 or SPAN 224 with a grade of B or higher, may apply to become tutors to students in elementary and intermediate Spanish language courses under faculty supervision. Interested students should contact Prof. Priscilla Chen or in person at Queens Hall 100 or by phone at 718-997-5660. If accepted in the Tutoring Program, prospective tutors will tutor 4 hours per week according to their schedule. They will be enrolled in SPAN 020 or SPAN 021 and will earn 2 credits. These are regular Queens College paid credits. ​