The Department of Foreign Languages offers intensive language study in many critical languages for which we do not have regular classes, including Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Korean and many others.
This is not your ordinary language course! The SILP program focuses on using the language in practical situations, with grammar, reading and writing as needed, although since this is self-instructional, the format of each section can usually be tailored to the goals of the students involved.
Following the format and the methods of the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP), students study individually using a text, audio and videotapes or computer software. Students also meet with a native speaker two or three times per week for intensive verbal drilling. Availability of courses is dependent on the availability of qualified tutors and examiners.
A self-instructional program is offered in the following languages as liberal arts (LA) credit, (SILP 101, 102, 103, 104 and 299):
- Brazilian Portuguese
- Chinese (Cantonese)
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- Greek (Modern)
How to Sign Up
Interested students should contact the Foreign Languages Department at 607-436-3409, Schumacher Hall 300, to enroll. They must sign up prior to the last day of classes of the current semester. Students are also required to attend the orientation session scheduled before classes begin each semester.
How the Program Works
The final grade is determined by an oral examination at the end of the semester. We are trying to have most exams on campus, but for some languages, students will have to travel off-campus to meet their examiners. Normally only one text and/or laboratory workbook is required; students must order their own before the semester begins (Damascene Books at the Red Dragon Bookstore has the list of required textbooks, but students need to place their own orders). Students also need blank audio tapes or audio CDs.
At the orientation session the day before classes begin, students meet their tutors and arrange a mutually convenient schedule for the practice sessions. Classrooms are assigned by the Registrar as soon as possible thereafter; students must meet in the assigned rooms at the agreed-on times; if changes must be made, students and tutors must consult the department secretary. During the sessions, the tutors drill students in pronunciation, vocabulary, and conversational situations, as preparation for the oral final exam. Different languages will introduce their writing systems at different points in the sequence of courses. Students and tutors each must file weekly progress reports, and the program director will observe sessions at least once in the semester.
Note: This kind of study is best suited for students who consider themselves to be “self-starters.” Since the final exam is the only grade received during the semester, the student who tends to procrastinate except when prodded or coaxed may drift along until too late to prepare properly for the final oral examination. Progress during the course is the responsibility of the student.