Information presented from the 2023 - 2024 Academic Catalog.

Modern Languages Mission Statement

Educated people spend their lives pursuing growth in political, social and intellectual freedom. One kind of intellectual freedom requires us to break away from the notion that our native language is the most natural and apt means of expressing the full range of human experience. An education can start with the discovery that all words are purely conventional devices. They are nonetheless tools that stir emotions, articulate ideas, and establish relationships with others. Learning another language contributes to our education by intimately exploring cultural and linguistic concepts that broaden our understanding of what it means to be human in today's world.

Our basic courses offer the opportunity to begin acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary for the eventual mastery of a language. When students take full advantage of that opportunity, they can use the target language in subsequent courses dealing with the culture. The department emphasizes the use of the target language in most of its courses because it believes that students can best appreciate a culture from within its own mode of expression.

With a view toward career opportunities, the department encourages integrating language study with a variety of other academic areas, such as history, philosophy, international studies, environmental studies, biology, economics, politics and public affairs, global commerce, global health, and English. Courses in cultural studies and literature, aside from their intrinsic worth, also present multiple perspectives on other cultures and areas of intellectual experience.

Students who want to spend a summer, a semester, or a year abroad with programs approved by Denison should consult members of the department and the Center for Global Programs (see Off-Campus Programs). Students who have taken FREN 214 - What Makes the French French? may also enroll in the intensive summer program in Martinique (contact Dr. Armstrong, Dr. Choquet or Dr. Mokam for more information). On-campus opportunities to improve command of the language are provided by language tables, international films, club meetings, and similar activities sponsored by the Department. There are also subsidized field trips to museums and pertinent activities in cities across the country, and in some cases international travel.

French Major

Students majoring in French must take a minimum of nine courses beyond FREN 211 - Intermediate French. The first six courses required for the major are

FREN 213Cinema for French Conversation and Pronunciation
FREN 214What Makes the French French?
FREN 215Intermediate French Readings and Grammar
or FREN 305 Introduction to Francophone Texts
FREN 311Survey of French Literature I: From the Middle Ages through the 18th Century
FREN 312Survey of Literature of French Expression: 19th-21st Centuries
FREN 418Senior Seminar (to be taken during the senior year)

The three other required courses will be advanced courses in literature, culture, or language.

French Minor

Students minoring in French must take six courses beyond FREN 211 - Intermediate French:

FREN 213Cinema for French Conversation and Pronunciation
FREN 214What Makes the French French?
FREN 215Intermediate French Readings and Grammar
or FREN 305 Introduction to Francophone Texts
And three advanced courses in literature, culture, or language, at least one of which must be either:
FREN 311
Survey of French Literature I: From the Middle Ages through the 18th Century
FREN 312
Survey of Literature of French Expression: 19th-21st Centuries

Additional Points of Interest

The Language Lab

An important asset of the department is the Language Lab with its 27 Macs, zone-free Blu-ray player and document camera. It also has a VIA Connect PRO which is a wireless collaboration and presentation solution that makes sharing and presenting easier for all computers in the room. The lab provides support for learning activities outside and inside the classroom, ranging from grammar drills to research and collaborative writing projects, as well as discussions of authentic materials published on the Internet. The area is designed not only for individualized instruction but also for group work and small seminars that use a variety of digital materials for class discussion.

General Department Regulations

Students planning to major in the department are advised to begin course work in the first year. Those who wish to fulfill the basic requirement in language by continuing one begun in secondary school will find it advantageous to begin their course work in the first year. Whether students satisfy the language requirement by continuing with their secondary-school language or by taking up a new language, the Department of Modern Languages strongly recommends that students complete their language requirement by the end of their sophomore year.

Cultural Enrichment

Each semester the department offers students exceptional opportunities for cultural enrichment in language study. These opportunities include, for example, off-campus trips to target-culture plays, movies and performances, as well as campus visits by native scholars and performers. In that way, experiences in target cultures become more readily available to our students. These opportunities are made possible through a most generous endowment bestowed on the Department of Modern Languages by the Patty Foresman Fund. The department maintains a Modern Languages Facebook page where Denison community members can view upcoming events.

The Foresman Lounge

Located in the central hub of the department, the lounge provides the Denison community with a space for a wide range of activities such as receptions, classes, and informal gatherings. This area has a kitchenette with a table and chairs for sharing lunch or a coffee with our faculty as well as mobile soft seating for easy reconfiguration of the space. It is also equipped with a wide range of technological devices to enrich our students’ learning experiences. This room has a 52-inch flat screen TV connected to a webcam, zone-free Blu-ray player and a document camera. The lounge also has a ceiling-mounted laser projector that connects to a networked Mac computer, the Blu-ray player and a VIA for wireless connection to the data projector.