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Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (AP) – Latin


The Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics does not offer a degree program or certificate but does offer language courses in Latin. Courses in Latin contribute towards the degree in Classical studies.

Location: S561 Ross Building, Tel.: 416-736-5016
Affiliated Faculty: A.M. Lewis

Latin was the language spoken, read, and written by the ancient Romans from before the ascendancy of Rome as a dominant power in the Mediterranean in third century B. C. until after the fall of Rome in the fifth century A. D. It remained a powerful common language in Medieval, Renaissance, and Early-Modern Europe.

Although Latin is today primarily a read, not a written or spoken language, it is still spoken not only as a common language in the Vatican but also by many Latin enthusiasts around the world. Latin has had a profound effect on the modern languages of Europe since it is the immediate ancestor of the so-called Romance Languages: Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian.

Latin has also had an enormous influence upon the vocabulary of the English language. Latin is the original source of the majority of English words – 60% of all English words and 90% of those English words more than two syllables long come ultimately from Latin.

York offers three levels of Latin beyond the elementary level. At the elementary level, you will gain a solid, fundamental knowledge of forms, vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation that will prepare you to read Latin texts in both prose and poetry.

The intermediate and advanced courses in the language will expand and deepen your knowledge and open up to you the fascinating literature and culture of the ancient Romans, who in addition to conquering a fair swath of territory in the ancient world, produced some of the most brilliant and influential works of literature, art, architecture, legal theory, philosophy, and engineering the world has ever seen.

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.

For general regulations and enrolment information for 1000-level Latin courses please see Languages, Literatures and Linguistics within this section. For general regulations and enrolment information for 2000-, 3000- and 4000-level Latin courses please see below.

Prerequisites for 2000-level Latin courses: 12U or OAC Latin or AP/LA 1000 6.00 or permission of director of classical studies.

Prerequisites for 3000-level Latin courses: AP/LA 2000 6.00 or permission of director of classical studies.

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.