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Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (AP) – Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

Location: S561 Ross Building, Tel.: 416-736-5016
Chair: P. Giordan
Undergraduate Program Director (Languages and Literatures): M. Figueredo
Undergraduate Program Director (Linguistics): S. Ehrlich
Professors: S. Ehrlich, S. Embleton, R. King, M. Lockshin, D. Mendelsohn
Associate Professors: G. Alboiu, E. Anderson, P. Angermeyer, P. Avery, R. Bahry, M. Buccheri, W. El Khachab, M. Figueredo, M. Frescura, P. Giordan, E. Hague, M. Hoffman, S. Horowitz, R. Iannacito-Provenzano, C. Kraenzle, A-M. Lewis, P. McIsaac, B. Miller, B. Morgan, G. Mueller, S. Nijhawan, J. Picchione, A. Ricci, R. Scott, A. Shulman, R. Sinyor, I. Smith, D. Spokiene, L. Steinman, K. Toratani, M. Vitopoulos, J. Vizmuller-Zocco, J. Walker, X. Xu
Assistant Professors: M. J. Dodman, M. Jeon, S. Lino, G. Scardellato
Special Assistant Professors: B. McComb, Joan Page
Visiting Lecturer: M.L. Cardenas, C. Forrester, R. Rolim
Associate Lecturers: G. Colussi-Arthur, N. Ota, L. Pietropaolo
Faculty Members Emeriti: W.P. Ahrens, R. Belladonna, E. Costa, J. Dingley, N. Elson, R. Fink, P. Ford, D. Holoch, L. Karumanchiri, M.L. Kay, I. Klein, M. Magnotta, R. B. Marcus, L. Peña, R.W.F. Pope, V.G. Stephens, A. Testaferri, S.-Y. Tsau, P. Valle-Garay, M.J. Webber

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics offers one of the widest selections of languages of any Canadian university: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Greek (both Classical and Modern), Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Jamaican Creole, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil and Yiddish. The ESL section fosters the developing abilities of domestic and international students to use English for academic purposes, allowing them to engage more fully in their programs. The study of foreign languages and literatures makes communication possible among people of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and fosters intercultural understanding. This enables our students to engage the global community thoughtfully and creatively.

The department also offers courses in linguistics, the discipline concerned with discovering the organizing principles of human language and applying these principles to the description of individual languages. Linguistics attempts to answer questions about the structure of languages, about how languages are alike and how they differ, about how children acquire language, about the relation between language and thought, language perception and production, as well as language and society. As a result, the study of linguistics can provide new perspectives on almost every aspect of the humanities and social sciences.

The department offers courses leading to Honours BA and BA degrees in German studies, Italian culture, Italian studies, linguistics, Portuguese studies and Spanish, as well as graduate MA and PhD degrees in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. The department also offers Certificates of Language Proficiency in Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, as well as an Advanced Certificate in Hebrew and Judaic Studies and a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The department’s language programs, through their various courses and language proficiency certificates, contribute to a variety of area studies and interdisciplinary programs: African Studies, Business and Society, Classical Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, European Studies, Hellenic Studies, International Development Studies, Jewish Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, South Asian Studies, Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. The department's language programs may also contribute to a variety of graduate programs such as Development Studies. For specific program requirements, certificate requirements and course listings, please consult the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Programs of Study section.

Courses in Language, Literature and Culture

General Regulations

1. Entry to Language Courses

Any student may enrol in a language course at any level, subject to the conditions enumerated below.

a) Admission to a student’s first course in a language at York is by placement questionnaire and/or interview, or departmental authorization slip.

b) In most cases, students who have completed a 1000-level language course with a grade of at least C are automatically admissible to a course at the next level in the same language, but may be pre-tested for purposes of course or section placement.

c) Registration in any language course may be limited at the discretion of the department.

d) Students intending to major or minor in German studies, Italian studies, Portuguese studies or Spanish are encouraged to begin study of the relevant language in their first year.

2. Credit for Language Courses

A language course may be taken for credit in any year of any undergraduate program. Credit is given for a course if a grade of D or better is achieved. However, to advance from one level to another level, a student must achieve at least a grade of C.

3. Language of Instruction

Some literature and culture courses are given in English. In others, instruction is given in the relevant language, and entry to courses and programs depends upon the student’s ability to function in that language. The department may require a student to demonstrate language competence before granting admission to a course. For details, please consult the department’s online supplemental calendar.

4. Frequency of Course Offerings

Not all of the courses will necessarily be offered in any given year. For details of courses to be offered, please consult the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics online supplemental calendar.

The following degree programs are associated with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics:

  • German Studies
  • Italian Culture
  • Italian Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Portuguese Studies
  • Spanish

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics offers a variety of courses in the following language areas:

  • American Sign Language
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • English as a Second Language
  • German
  • Classical Greek
  • Modern Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi-Urdu
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jamaican Creole
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Tamil
  • Yiddish

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics also offers the following certificate programs:

  • Advanced Certificate in Hebrew and Jewish Studies
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Chinese Language
  • Certificate of Proficiency in German Language
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Italian Language Level One (Beginner Range)
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Italian Language Level Two (Intermediate Range)
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Italian Language Level Three (Advanced Range)
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Japanese Language
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Modern Greek Language
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Portuguese Language
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Spanish Language
  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

For more information, please consult the listings for specific programs and certificates.
East Asian studies offers a degree program with a concentration in Chinese, Japanese or Korean, while the degree program in Hellenic studies includes courses in Classical and Modern Greek. Courses in Hindi-Urdu count toward the (major/minor/certificate) degree in South Asian Studies. The degree program in Jewish Studies includes courses in Hebrew.


  1. Students who are exempted from one or more of the courses required for the degree must still complete the total number of credits required for the program. Please consult the department’s annual supplemental calendar for more detailed information regarding degree requirements.
  2. Students who wish to study abroad should consult the appropriate section coordinator and York International well in advance of the academic session in which they wish to study away from York.