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 and society. 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 various areas of intellectual experience.

A student who wants 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). 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.

German Major

Students majoring in German must take a minimum of nine courses beyond GERM 112 - Beginning German II. Major electives would include a combination of 200 and 300-level classes. Of these, at least one course must be a literature course and one must be an area studies course.

GERM 213Intermediate Conversation and Composition (or equivalent)
GERM 214Review: Communication and Writing Skills
GERM 304German Culture and Civilization: 19th Century to 1933
or GERM 305 German Culture and Civilization: 1933 to Present
GERM 311Introduction to German Fiction and Non-Fiction (recommended; or another German Literature course)
Senior Project

Three of the five remaining required courses must have some literary content, taken from Denison's course offerings or equivalent courses offered by an approved program abroad. The other two courses can be advanced language or a second civilization course. Seniors complete one major project in the context of a 300 level course taken in the senior year.

German Minor

A student minoring in German must take at least five advanced language courses above the 112 level, including one literature course, and one course in area studies. Recommended courses:

GERM 213Intermediate Conversation and Composition
GERM 214Review: Communication and Writing Skills
GERM 304German Culture and Civilization: 19th Century to 1933
or GERM 305 German Culture and Civilization: 1933 to Present
GERM 311Introduction to German Fiction and Non-Fiction (or one other German Literature course)
or GERM 302 Special Topics Seminar

Additional Points of Interest

General Departmental Regulations

Students planning to major in the department are advised to begin course work in the first year. Those who want 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. The Department of Modern Languages strongly recommends that students complete their language requirement by the end of their sophomore year.

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 with 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 authenticated 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.

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.