Languages offered at ccny


A knowledge of Arabic is a great asset in under-standing many civilizations. It provides communication for the Middle East, North Africa, Egypt and the Sudan. It is also an international language of commerce, religion and culture throughout the Islamic World. The Arabic language and its literature have contributed to European and non-European languages and literatures. The importance of Arabic in the College curriculum cannot be overemphasized. Its linguistic demands and cultural content are valuable for anyone who seeks a career opportunity or wishes to conduct scholarly research in the Middle East and Africa; for undergraduate or graduate studies in religion, comparative linguistic and literary analysis and for other disciplines requiring international perspectives.


There are two elements to the Chinese language: the written language, based on individual symbols called characters, each of which represents an idea or thing; and the spoken language, which includes a number of different dialects. The written language originally had no alphabet, but it was easily understood by literate people no matter what dialect they spoke. Since the early 1950s a sound system using the Latin alphabet, called Pinyin, - has been developed in China, and it is now in common use. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at City College offers a course in Mandarin, the official language of People's Republic of China. Mandarin dialect is spoken by nearly one billion people. The vast majority of these are in China (over 980 million) and Taiwan (19 million), but substantial numbers are to be found throughout the whole of South-east Asia, especially in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Important Chinese-speaking are also found in many other parts of the world, especially in the USA.

Classical Languages (Greek and Latin)

The study of Latin and Greek offers students the opportunity to discipline their minds while enjoying armchair travel to distant civilizations. Classical languages are an important tool for majors in a variety of disciplines. The vocabulary of Greek and Latin helps those considering careers in law, medicine, or science, while the structure of the languages, in addition to heightening analytical skills, is useful to those with interests in other languages. Familiarity with classical themes enriches the experience of reading modern literatures. Students whose native language is Spanish or French will learn a great deal about the origins of these tongues. Graduate and professional schools are very favorably impressed with students with Greek and Latin on their records, since it shows curiosity about the past and seriousness of purpose. On examinations requiring analytical skills, students who have studied Latin and Greek generally score higher than those who have not. It is also a great deal of fun to discover the roots of familiar words and ideas.


French is an international language. Along with English it is one of the working languages of the United Nations. French is also one of the official languages of the European Community. In Europe, French is spoken in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. It is also spoken in many West and North African countries and in parts of the Caribbean. French is also one of the two official languages of Canada. If you are interested in literature, art, music, psychology, or history, French will help you in your research. Finally, if you are interested in engineering, and any of the sciences, keep in mind that France has been an important leader in medical research, produced the fastest train in the world (the TGV), the Ariane missile, and built the Concorde and the Airbus, as well as one of the biggest bridges in the world. CUNY maintains an active exchange program with the University of Paris.


The study of Hebrew language and texts,  both Biblical and modern, will afford students an opportunity to appreciate the cultures and literatures that inspired various religious practices and traditions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam and continue to contribute to the development of Western civilization.


Why study Italian? The answer is simple. Apart from adding a new language to your resumé, you will take with you the many attributes this language has to offer. Italy is known for it's amazing history, culinary arts, performing arts, fashion, and hospitality. The works of Dante (La Divina Commedia), Leonardo da Vinci (La Gioconda), Niccolò Machiavelli (Il Principe), and Michelangelo (La Cappella Sistina) are reason enough to master the Italian language. Ever wanted to understand what it is Andrea Bocelli or Luciano Pavarotti sing about? What about taking a trip to Italy? Wouldn't it be great to get around without the worry of getting lost or not being able to read menus or understand the inhabitants? Learning Italian opens more possibilities for employment since the Italian language is expanding globally. It is spoken in many different countries like Switzerland, East Africa, Australia, and more. Expand your boundaries because the greatest reward for learning Italian is self-fulfillment and a gain of confidence.


Japan is the second largest economic power in the world. It is famous for its history, fine art, anime, magna and music. Japanese opens you the door to comparative literature, political science, economics, fine arts, computer science, telecommunications, Asian Studies, international business, diplomacy, translation, film, software development and much more.


Portuguese is the language of over half the people of South America and over one third of the people of Latin America - at least 137 million in Brazil alone! Portuguese is a must for anyone interested in the cultural and political events in the lberion Sphere of influence and even worldwide, for Portuguese is also the language of at least 31 million people in Portugal, in Africa (including Angola and Mozambique) and in Asia. Portuguese is spoken by more people than those who speak French, German, Italian or Japanese –more than any other Romance language except its sister language Spanish. The study of Portuguese affords a window into the cultural achievements of the Portuguese-speaking world.


Why study Spanish? Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages; over 360 million people speak Spanish in the world. Spanish is the official language of 20 countries, and it is also spoken in regions of the North of Africa, the Philippines and the United States. In fact, the 1993 census showed that after English, Spanish was the most common language spoken in this country and the numbers keep rising! Aside from expanding your cultural and linguistic horizons, learning Spanish will enable you to communicate with many people from different cultures, both in the USA and abroad. You will also be able to appreciate the richness of the Spanish and Hispanic American literatures in their original language. Regardless of your field of study, learning Spanish will greatly expand and improve your qualifications for any , type of employment, whether you plan to be a social worker, a physician, or any other kind of professional.

Last Updated: 03/08/2024 15:19