Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.

"He who does not know foreign languages, knows nothing of his own."

- Goethe

Learning a foreign language can foster a profound psychological awakening to external and internal aspects of life because personal identity is so closely tied to human speech. As such, the study of modern and classical languages is a central part of the liberal arts experience here at Gettysburg College.

We offer dynamic courses at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels in Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. Students who take courses in these languages acquire skills that are essential in today's global society: how to speak, read, and write in another language; how to understand and embrace a culture different from one's own; how to analyze literary texts and film; and how to think critically about cultural stereotypes. Of course, to paraphrase the great German polymath cited above, the study of a foreign or classical language also helps us to understand more deeply our own. Truly, all of the professors aim to help your experience of a "foreign" language become very familiar.

The opportunity to study abroad is an integral aspect of language study at Gettysburg College. Currently more than 50% of Gettysburg students spend at least one semester in a foreign country. Quite often, this academic experience abroad proves to be one of the most meaningful aspects of a student's time at Gettysburg College. The excitement of such a unique cultural experience often translates into further meaningful engagement with language study at Gettysburg.

Our language programs also avail themselves of an excellent Language Resource Center (LRC) located on the ground floor of Breidenbaugh Hall. The LRC offers cutting-edge computer programs to enhance language learning. Professors consistently integrate their lessons with co-curricular activities held at the LRC.

Each semester, all language programs host any number of guest lecturers from other colleges and universities. In the past, our students have been able to enjoy presentations on such topics as Italian silent film, crowd behavior in ancient Rome, German fascination with Native American culture, and Mexican return migration.

Finally, the Department of English also offers a few non-language courses of pertinent interest that integrate the literary analysis of Old English and Norse.

For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions and the links provided by our individual departments.

More Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Promising Language Scholar Recognition



Classics (Ancient Greek & Latin)