World Languages

CN120: Chinese I

Term: Year

This is an introductory course in Mandarin Chinese, the official modern language of China, also known as Putonghua. The course concentrates on pronunciation, sentence structure, conversation, development of skills for reading simple texts, and in writing characters of simplified form. Recordings will accompany each lesson. Open to all students.

CN220: Chinese II

Term: Year

This course is a continuation of CN120 and is designed to enable the student to converse in everyday Chinese. The reading emphasizes vocabulary building. Students will review and further develop sentence structure, composition, and oral expression. Open to students who have completed CN120 or its equivalent.

CN320: Chinese III

Term: Year

This course is designed to develop further the student's overall language skills through reading and discussing "Chinese Dialogue" and "Intermediate Reader of Modern Chinese." Discussion of assigned readings is conducted primarily in Chinese. Open to students who have completed CN220 or its equivalent.

CN430: Honors Chinese IV

Term: Year

This course emphasizes the reading and discussion of modern Chinese short stories and essays covering topics such as Chinese history and economics. Readings in modern Chinese newspapers are introduced in the second semester with selections from newspapers from The People's Republic of China and Taiwan. Open to students who have completed CN320 or its equivalent.

CN830: AP Chinese Language

Term: Year

This course will prepare students for the Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture Examination. Students taking this course must have a strong command of both written and spoken Chinese. Students will narrate stories based on a series of pictures and will give oral presentations on Chinese culture. The Language Lab will be used extensively. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in Mandarin Chinese across three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational) as well as sufficient knowledge of Chinese culture. Since the AP Examination is administered solely via computer (i.e. no handwritten component), a prerequisite of the course is proficiency in the use of either the Microsoft Pinyin or Microsoft Bopomofo programs. Open to students who have completed CN420 or the equivalent and have the permission of the instructor.

FR150: Accelerated French I

Term: Year

For students who have studied French and true beginners alike, Accelerated French I will empower learners to begin expressing themselves in French about a variety of themes relevant to their daily lives at Taft and the world around them. Conducted entirely in the target language, the class uses storytelling, music, videos, reading, writing and conversation to help students form a foundation and gain confidence in the French language, as well as build knowledge of francophone cultures from around the world. At the end of the year, students will be recommended for FR250 or FR260.

FR250: Accelerated French II

Term: Year

For students who have completed Fr150 or who have equivalent experience, Accelerated French II will allow students to express themselves on a broader variety of topics and tenses relevant to their daily lives at Taft and the francophone world. By engaging students entirely in French with videos, music, novels, conversations, and writing, the class will build on students’ previous experience and further develop their facility with the language and culture.  The themes of travel, environment, daily routines, education, and art are covered.

FR260: Honors French II

Term: Year

For students who have completed Fr150 with recommendation from their teacher, or those who have equivalent experience, Honors French II will offer an in-depth immersion experience in a variety of real-world themes in francophone cultures, such as politics, the environment, health and well-being, etc. Each unit includes thematic articles and videos, essential questions, debate topics, and offers opportunities for presentational and interpersonal speaking, as well as a variety of types of writing. In the spring, students read the graphic novel Persepolis, followed by a study of the film adaptation. At the end of the year, students will be recommended for Accelerated French III (350) or Honors French III (360).

FR350: Accelerated French III

Term: Year

This course is for students who have completed FR250 or FR260 or equivalent.  This class conducted in French and uses short stories, novels, music, films, and internet articles to expose students to authentic French. Students learn to express themselves with increasing ease both verbally and in writing on an increasingly broad range of topics from the francophone world.  The themes of health, education, family, etc. are covered. The students also have the opportunity to read short pieces of literature in French.  At the completion of the year students will continue on to FR450. 

FR360: Honors French III

Term: Year

For students who have completed Fr260 or who have equivalent experience, this upper-level immersion course explores a number of contemporary themes from the francophone world, including colonialism, post-colonial identity, evolving family structures, challenges in education, technological development, etc., while building greater technical accuracy and sophistication in students’ written and oral expression. In the fall, participants read excerpts from Leuk-le-Lièvre, a collection of Senegalese folktales written by the poet and politician Léopold Senghor; in January, the class spends a month studying phonetics in order to improve their aural comprehension and build their intuition with both pronunciation and spelling; in the spring, Harry Potter in translation takes the center stage. Through fiction, non-fiction, journalistic prose, poems, long- and short-format radio and television programs, a variety of types of writing assignments, harkness discussions, and debates, over the course of the year Fr360 students achieve the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in AP French (Fr830).

FR450: Accelerated French IV

Term: Semester 1

This course is a broad exploration of francophone culture: music, art, storytelling, cuisine, contemporary media and more. With an emphasis on self-guided projects and creative assignments, students will create skits, videos, newscasts, and participate in hands-on experiential activities. The goal of the course is communication and continued interest in the language and culture of the French-speaking world.  Open to students who have completed FR350 or FR360.

FR591: Independent Tutorial in French

Term: Semester 1

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

FR592: Independent Tutorial in French

Term: Semester 2

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

FR830: AP French Language

Term: Year

AP French is a thematically- and grammatically-advanced immersion course for students seeking an in-depth exploration of francophone cultures and history alongside a profound examination of their own cultural norms. Aligned with AP themes and closely linked to the United Nations Sustainability Goals, AP French asks its students challenging questions about race, gender, identity, wealth and poverty, war and peace, memory, colonialism, etc. Students read a combination of journalistic prose and literature--including the novel Ru, by Canadian-Vietnamese author Kim Thuy--and engage with a variety of audio sources such as podcasts, televised news, documentaries, and pop culture videos. Advanced grammar is reinforced peripherally with occasional lessons and quizzes, but the bulk of student output involves individual and group projects of student choice, such as oral presentations, videos, debates, and biographical, analytical, and expository writing. Every April, the class takes a field trip to New York in order to connect with various expressions of francophone culture that the city has to offer.

FR850: Honors Seminar in French Literature

Term: Year

This post-AP class is designed for students who have shown exceptional interest, ability, and achievement in French. Students will increase their knowledge of the language by studying the culture, literature, and history of French-speaking countries. The course is divided into two parts. The fall will begin by creating a foundation for cultural analysis: what is culture, how does it express itself, and how can it be objectively analyzed; classes will focus primarily on discovering various aspects of French culture in contrast with the students' own culture (American or otherwise). We will discuss topics such as how are living spaces arranged, what role do politics play in daily life, how is friendship defined, how do concepts of private and public space differ, how do people eat and what role does food play in national identity, etc. In the second semester we will step outside of France and learn about the culture and history of French-speaking West Africa and the Caribbean. Via poems, short stories, novels, and films, students will gain a broader portrait of the French-speaking world outside of France, and the role that language plays in shaping the identity and history of these regions.

LA150: Accelerated Latin I

Term: Year

This course serves three functions. First, it provides a sound foundation in the forms, grammar, and vocabulary of the Latin language so that student can read original passages of Latin prose and poetry. Second, through class discussions and primary sources, an appreciation of Latin literature and Roman culture and recognition of their influence upon the literature and cultural patterns of Western civilization is instilled. And third, because the class stresses Latin’s influence on English, students gain a heightened understanding of English vocabulary, grammar, and overall linguistic skills. The text for this course is Wheelock’s Latin and can be acquired via a paperback textbook or an e-book. This course is open to all students.

LA250: Accelerated Latin II

Term: Year

This course continues the study of grammar and vocabulary. After a thorough review of grammatical concepts and vocabulary introduced in first year Latin, students transition to studying increasingly difficult grammatical concepts. Memorization of vocabulary, derivatives, and verb synopses are emphasized as students work to expand their grammatical foundations. Students use their newfound grammatical strengths to translate increasingly more difficult Latin sentences. The text for this course is Wheelock’s Latin and can be acquired via a paperback textbook or an e-book. This course is open to students who have completed LA120 or the equivalent.

LA260: Honors Latin II

Term: Year

This course continues the study of grammar and vocabulary at an advanced pace. After a thorough review of grammatical concepts and vocabulary introduced in first year Latin, students transition to studying increasingly difficult grammatical concepts. Memorization of vocabulary, derivatives, and verb synopses are emphasized as students work to expand their grammatical foundations. This honors course engages in rigorous grammar exercises and Latin composition, and emphasizes the reading experience at the second-year level. The text for this course is Wheelock’s Latin and can be acquired via a paperback textbook or an e-book, as well as Wheelock’s Latin Reader. This course is open to capable students who have completed LA120 with distinction or have permission of the Department.

LA350: Accelerated Latin III

Term: Year

In the first semester, this course finishes learning various subjunctive uses that are not covered in the second year Latin course. After completing a comprehensive grammatical review, students transition to daily translations of intermediate Latin. Students follow an adapted Latin narrative to gain greater confidence in their translation skills. Through a closer look at the historical context of the adapted stories, students gain a greater understanding of Roman history and its impact on modern day life. During the second semester, students continue their exposure to Roman history and culture through various readings. The year culminates with a project that encompasses Roman history, increased fluency in translation, and use of a commentary while reading a primary text.

LA360: Honors Latin III

Term: Year

In the first semester, this course studies the tumultuous period of history of the Late Republic through the eyes of ancient authors. Students read selections from Sallust’s historical account of the time period and Cicero’s own speeches against Catiline. Through these readings, students are introduced to a political climate that was unsteady at best and vitriolic at worst. By a close examination of these authors' styles and literary importance, students begin to see the history unfold through the words of these writers. In the second semester, the course shifts focus to the poetry of the Late Republic. Students read famous mythological stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, poems on love from Ovid’s Amores, and supplementary readings from the authors Catullus, Virgil, Martial, and others. Students learn how to analyze literature for the subtle nuances that each author brought to his work, and they learn to recognize poetic devices and recite poetry in both dactylic hexameter and iambic pentameter. This course is open to students who have completed Honors Latin II (LA250) with distinction, the equivalent, or with the permission of the Department Head.

LA453: Accelerated Latin IV

Term: Semester 1

The Lives of the Caesars by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus offers a tell-all biography of the early Roman emperors. Students will read excerpts from Caesar, Augustus, Caligula, and Nero in order to discover Suetonius’ purpose in writing the lives of these men. Suetonius’ work is a benchmark for biography writing and remains a key source for the history of Rome. Students will explore the genre of Roman biography, read Suetonius in his cultural and literary context, and engage advanced Latin syntax and vocabulary. Furthermore, students will develop critical reading and thinking skills through class discussion, quizzes, and written exercises. The text is Suetonius Reader. This course is open to students who completed LA332 or the equivalent.

LA454: Accelerated Latin IV

Term: Semester 2

Students are introduced to Roman elegy through the works of various authors, including Tibullus, Catullus, and Ovid. This first extended look at Roman poetry explores the various topics of Roman poetry, but will focus on love poems for which elegy is most known. Students will learn the basics of elegiac meter as well as the contemporary events that correspond to the respective authors. The text will be determined by discussion within the department. This course is open to students who completed LA332 or the equivalent.

LA845: Honors Seminar in Latin

Term: Semester 1

This course is for students who have already successfully completed AP Latin; teacher and student work together to construct a syllabus which is both appropriately challenging and also reflective of the student's interests.

LA846: Honors Seminar in Latin

Term: Semester 2

This course is for students who have already successfully completed AP Latin; teacher and student work together to construct a syllabus which is both appropriately challenging and also reflective of the student's interests.

LA591: Independent Tutorial in Latin

Term: Semester 1

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

LA592: Independent Tutorial in Latin

Term: Semester 2

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

LA691: Independent Tutorial in Greek

Term: Semester 1

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

LA692: Independent Tutorial in Greek

Term: Semester 2

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

LA830: AP Latin

Term: Year

The course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Latin Examination on selections from Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. Students will literally translate over 1800 lines of Latin that could appear on the AP Exam in May. In addition, students are responsible for several portions of each text in English. Special attention is paid to syntactical details as well as the effects of meter, imagery, and figures of speech. Larger themes and motifs, which pertain to the historical, cultural, and literary significances of these two works, are also examined. Students will have opportunities to demonstrate comprehension of non-syllabus based Caesar and Vergil passages by reading at sight. This course is open to students who have completed three years of Latin with distinction or have the permission of the Department Head.

SP150: Accelerated Spanish I

Term: Year

As an introduction to the study of Spanish, this course emphasizes fundamental grammatical structures and the acquisition and assimilation of practical vocabulary in conjunction with the development of the four language skills: writing, reading, speaking and listening. The use of audio and visual materials both in class and in the Pinto Language Lab helps students develop listening and speaking skills, enabling them to express themselves in Spanish from the start of the course. Students with little or no previous exposure to Spanish should select this course. At the end of the year students will be recommended for SP220 or SP230.

SP160: Honors Spanish I

Term: Year

The objectives of this course are identical to those of SP120; however, this course is for students who have already studied Spanish and display a good understanding of the language, but who are not sufficiently prepared for the second level. The pace will be faster, and those students who receive an honors grade at the end of the year will be recommended for Honors Spanish II.

SP240: Spanish II

Term: Year

This course is offered to students who would be otherwise unable to complete the Intermediate Spanish II course. Enrollment is open to students who have completed SP120 and who have the permission of the department. Not open to new students.

SP250: Accelerated Spanish II

Term: Year

This course is a continuation of the work begun in SP120 and SP130, focusing on the continued acquisition of basic grammatical structures and vocabulary. Students read short stories and a short novel during the year. The use of audio and visual materials both in class and in the Pinto Language Lab helps students develop listening and speaking skills, enabling them to express themselves in Spanish throughout the year. Students are expected to incorporate new grammar and vocabulary into writing and speaking assignments. Open to students who have completed SP120, SP130 or the equivalent.

SP260: Honors Spanish II

Term: Year

This course is for students who have demonstrated exceptional ability and achievement in the first level. Intensive study of grammatical structures, vocabulary and culture is supplemented by outside reading to provide an introduction to Hispanic literature. The use of audio and visual materials both in class and in the Pinto Language Lab is a regular component of the course. Open to students who have completed SP120, SP130 or the equivalent and have the permission of the Department.

SP340: Spanish III

Term: Year

This course is offered to students who would be otherwise unable to complete the Spanish III Intermediate course. Enrollment is open to students who have completed SP210 or SP220 and who have the permission of the Department. Not open to new students.

SP350: Accelerated Spanish IV

Term: Year

The final phase of the three year language requirement, this course is a comprehensive review of the grammar presented in the first two years as well as an introduction to more advanced Spanish grammar. The course aims to increase students' communicative skills by reinforcing grammatical structures and by stimulating students to think about a variety of issues and concerns of the Hispanic world. Students will read selected literature, view films and videos, and make regular use of the Pinto Language Lab. Open to students who have completed SP220, SP230 or the equivalent. Students who finish the course with a strong grade are encouraged to continue on to Spanish IV.

SP360: Honors Spanish III

Term: Year

This course is designed to challenge those students who have demonstrated both high ability and interest in the second year and who intend to study Spanish at the Advanced Placement levels. Students read selections from both classic and modern literature and are introduced to a variety of cultural and historical topics. Although this course presupposes a command of grammar, a review grammar text supplements the literary and cultural readers. Students also work extensively in the Pinto Language Lab, and oral proficiency is stressed. The objective throughout the year is to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Spanish courses. Open to students who have completed SP220 or SP230 and have the permission of the Department.

SP423: Spanish IV: The Spanish Civil War

Term: Semester 1

This course will examine the Spanish Civil War: the history and political climate that shaped it and the literature, film, and art that the brutal event inspired. Understanding Spain's Civil War is essential to understanding Spain as it is in the 21st century.

SP424: Spanish IV: Art History of Spain and Latin America

Term: Semester 2

This course offers an overview of the artistic output of humans on the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas from prehistoric times to today, from the cave paintings of Altamira to Mexican muralists and beyond. Students will examine art, architecture, literature, film, and music. Everything will be put into its historical context so that students can understand how and why the art was produced.

SP460: Honors Spanish IV

Term: Year

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to explore Hispanic culture and history in greater depth through literature, film and art. This honors section of Spanish IV will include an emphasis on advanced grammatical structures, and students will be expected to incorporate this material in their writing, speaking and laboratory work. This yearlong course is a natural segue to the Advanced Placement level for the following year. Open to students who have completed SP320, SP330, or SP380 with the permission of the department.

SP850: Honors Seminar in Hispanic Literature

Term: Year

Latin American and Spanish Studies:

In this class we will study the relationship between Spain and Latin America since 1492. During the first semester, we will study the Conquista and its repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean until 1898. We will read historical documents, literature, watch documentaries, etc and we will pay especial attention to the role of the Catholic Church during the Conquista. During the second semester, we will study the impact of the migration waves between Spain and Latin America. We will pay especial attention to the social civil right movements such as the American Labor and the Chicano movements in the USA, the liberation theology in Latin America, and the impact of Latin American immigration in the USA and Spain in both positive and negative ways.

SP591: Independent Tutorial in Spanish

Term: Semester 1

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

SP592: Independent Tutorial in Spanish

Term: Semester 2

Students interested in pursuing a topic in which they share a common interest with a member of a department can apply to do an Independent Tutorial (IT). Students must demonstrate the ability to work independently, creatively, and be in good academic standing. Students will meet twice a week formally with a teacher and must obtain the approval of the teacher, the Department Head, and finally the Dean of Academic Affairs. The deadline for an IT in the 1st semester is May 1 of the previous spring, and Nov 1 for a 2nd semester IT.

SP830: AP Spanish Language

Term: Year

This course prepares students for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Examination in May. Students who qualify for this class have a strong command of both written and spoken Spanish and are ready to undertake a demanding curriculum. Consistent with the composition of the examination, students will be required to read unedited literary and journalistic prose, understand lectures and conversational language, participate effectively in class, and write essays in Spanish. The Pinto Language Lab will be used extensively, and students will work independently with the resources. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Language Examination. Open to students who have completed SP330, SP380 or SP430 and have the permission of the Department.