Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Learning a foreign language contributes to a liberal education by providing performative exercises in cultural practices and linguistic concepts that open new perspectives on what it means to be human. Furthermore, foreign language courses allow access to world views expressed in the target language on their own linguistic and cultural terms, thus also making possible a more profound reflection of one’s own source language and culture. The Department of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics’ offerings at all levels investigate and analyze important interconnections between the histories, societies, cultures, and languages of the people who speak Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Russian, as well as offering students an introduction to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. The curricula within the Department of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics asserts the importance of attaining fluency not only in the target language but also in the nuances of interpreting the target language’s literatures and other modes of cultural production.

The goal of the Department of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics is to allow students to achieve competency and literacy in the target language in order to employ that target language in a range of intellectual and professional contexts. The department’s mission is firmly supported by the study of current thinking in linguistics where language is analyzed as a phenomenon in itself. Courses in linguistics link the study of human language to the cognitive underpinning of language acquisition and production in both the source and target cultures.

The department offers courses in six modern languages, in American Sign Language, and in linguistics. Language courses are regularly offered in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, and on occasion in other Slavic languages.

Coursework in all the programs is designed to promote a level of language proficiency and cultural understanding that will enable students to be active participants in a shrinking multicultural world. Each program’s curriculum features a sequence of courses focusing on the development of language skills, at the lower level, followed by a transition to upper-level courses that focus on the appreciation and critical analysis of a wide variety of literary and cultural works. As the Goals 2000 document of the National Standards in Foreign Language Education states: “Knowing another language system, another culture, and communication strategies, enables students to access new information and knowledge, develop insight into their own language and culture, and participate in multilingual communities and a global society.”

Students are strongly encouraged to continue or begin the study of the language(s)/culture(s) of their choice as early in their undergraduate career as possible. Doing so will ensure the possibility of completing a major or minor in the language and will open the door to many stimulating study abroad programs. Many students find that the study of other languages and cultures provides a good background for work in other disciplines. In addition, by working to an advanced level of language proficiency and cultural awareness, students may improve their chances for a Fulbright or other international fellowship after graduation.

Placement: French, German, Italian, and Russian

First-year students with prior instruction or background in French, German, Italian, and/or Russian should take the online placement examination before arriving at Bucknell regardless of whether they have taken the AP exam or the SAT II. Information on accessing this exam is included in the first-year student registration materials. Any questions regarding placement should be directed to the program directors.

Placement: Arabic

First-year students with prior instruction or background in Arabic should contact the program director (Arabic) to consult about the appropriate placement level.

World Literature and Culture (in English)

ARBC 203Unveiling the Hijab's Culture1
EAST 211Premodern Japanese Literature in Translation1
EAST 212Modern Japanese Literature in Translation1
EAST 213Chinese Literature in Translation1
ITAL 240Love and Politics (in English)1
GRMN 261Nazi Culture1
HEBR 215Hebrew Bible and Modern Literature1
HEBR 236Israel: Literature, Film, Culture1
RUSS 250Crimes and Punishments: 19th-century Russian Literature1
RUSS 255Dangerous Texts: 20th-century Russian Literature1
RUSS 325Dostoevsky and Tolstoy: Literary Philosophy1
RUSS 330Nabokov and His Worlds1

For descriptions, see the respective programs of the Department of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, and the Department of East Asian Studies.


Professors: Barbara K. Altmann (Provost), Philippe C. Dubois, Katherine M. Faull, Peter Keitel (GRMN Director), Angèle M. Kingué, James E. Lavine (LING Director)

Associate Professors: Nathalie Dupont (FREN Director), Renée K. Gosson, Bastian Heinsohn, Bernhard Kuhn (ITAL Director), Ludmila S. Lavine (RUSS Director), Helen G. Morris-Keitel (Chair), John Westbrook

Assistant Professors: Martin Isleem (ARBC Director), Heidi Lorimor, Anna Paparcone, Or Rogovin

Visiting Assistant Professors: Julian Ledford, Anna E. Navrotskaya

Adjunct Assistant Professors: Lisa A. Perrone, Ksenia A. Zanon

Lecturer: Sarah S. Moore

Teaching Assistant: Dena Isleem

Instructional Assistant: Lisa Biddinger