The Department of Modern Languages at Ohio University offers a complete series of courses leading to a major or minor in French, German, Russian or Spanish. A certificate in Italian is also available. The diverse course offerings embrace all aspects of language, literature, and culture: reading, conversation, composition, language for business purposes, language for journalism majors, civilization, phonetics, stylistics, dramatic performance, methods of language teaching, audiovisual techniques, film, and the opportunity for independent study including internships and study abroad. Completion of a major or minor in Modern Languages yields the following learning outcomes (majors will be more proficient in these skills than minors):
- Presentational language skills: The student is able to produce spoken and written language intelligible to native speakers and readers unaccustomed to contact with foreigners.
- Interpretive language skills: The student is able to understand written and spoken language by native speakers and writers on topics familiar to the learner. The student is also able to understand speech and texts on complex topics in areas studied as part of the Modern Languages curriculum.
- Interpersonal language skills: The student is able to engage in dialog, successfully negotiating meaning, with one or more native interlocutors unaccustomed to contact with foreigners and on topics familiar to the learner. The student is also able to employ communicative strategies for interacting on unfamiliar topics.
- Cultural knowledge: The student is able to recognize, and interpret the significance of, the most commonly cited cultural references (such as landmarks, works of art and literature, symbols, documents, historical events and figures, traditions and customs). The student is also able to recognize the complexity of messages transmitted by these references, and is able to recognize that some cultural messages are inherently ambiguous.
- Culturally appropriate behavior: The student is able to exhibit culturally appropriate behavior (including use of appropriate registers of language) in a variety of social contexts.
- Cultural empathy: The student is able to evaluate the references and social contexts of the culture studied from that culture's own perspective.
- Research skills: The student is able to independently search for and acquire information relating to linguistic and cultural issues.
- Critical thinking: The student can comment on and analyze cultural products and social practices in a detailed manner using frameworks established in disciplines related to his/her coursework in modern languages such as linguistics, literature, cinema and culture studies.
- Synthesis: The student can combine diverse elements of his/her studies in modern languages (linguistic, cultural, research, critical) into a unified and logical view of the discipline and its subjects of study.
- External applications: The student is able to apply the skills (linguistic, cultural, research, critical, synthetic) acquired in the study of modern languages to other disciplines as well as to contexts outside the university environment.