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Sarah Lawrence College offers six modern languages and their literatures. Students may take French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish from beginning to advanced levels that equally stress the development of communicative skills such as speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing, as well as the study of literature written in these languages in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. In addition to the regular seminar work with the language faculty, students will work closely with language assistants in individual or small-group meetings to practice their language skills and make further progress. Language teaching is also supported by fully equipped computer labs, where students can use the Web, do computer exercises, and enjoy audio facilities. Students of Spanish may have the opportunity to make use of Community Partnerships. Some departments also offer literature courses in translation, in which students are introduced to the various cultural and historical contexts of the modern languages offered at the College.

In an attempt to encourage students to study more than one foreign language at the same time, Sarah Lawrence College offers sophomores, juniors, and seniors the option of taking a Language Third. This allows students to continue a language on a more advanced level while, at the same time, enrolling in a beginner’s class in a different language. Students taking a Language Third will earn 10 credits, at no extra cost, for the combined study of two languages of their choice. Another excellent option offered by the Modern Languages and Literatures department is the Lecture Language Third. This interdisciplinary link affords students the opportunity of meeting the lecture requirement while fully benefiting from studying the foreign language of their preference at any level of proficiency, also at no extra cost. Students taking this option are not required to do conference work in their language courses.