Since knowledge of languages is the key to understanding culture(s), we are one of the true multicultural and interdisciplinary entities on campus. A wide range of disciplines and languages – ancient and modern and from various parts of the world – are based in our department, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Greek (Modern as well as Ancient), Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Swahili. Major and Minor programs of study are available for most of these languages. The Major and Minor program in Comparative Literature combines the best that language and literature study has to offer.
If you are interested in the specific requirements of Major and Minor programs for a particular language, consult the faculty adviser responsible for that area. Don't hesitate to drop by to discuss the Major and Minor, career opportunities, or just to chat. We also teach literature courses in translation. Many of these courses teach literature from a single tradition, while others teach literature outside the narrow range of one particular culture or national tradition, such as "Romanticism" and "The Oedipus Theme in Western Literature."
WHY STUDY LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE?
Languages are the key to culture! And this truism is too often forgotten or taken for granted. Each language represents a distinct worldview and inner logic that makes it beautiful and renders many of the thoughts expressed in it unreproduceable in another tongue. There's no perfect, one-to-one "match" between words from different languages, even if they do refer to the same thing: if there were, we would all be speaking the same tongue. With this in mind, one quickly realizes that a knowledge of language(s) (including one's own) is the same as a respect for culture(s). And the study of literature in the original language represents not only a fuller understanding of a particular author, but also of the culture which she or he came from. In so many of our professions and in the ethnic kaleidoscope of our world, nothing could be more effective and practical than a knowledge of several languages. Many professions are already built on languages other than English. This is true of law (Latin) and medicine (Latin and Greek). The relevance of language study has become increasingly important in education and business. Hofstra's Zarb School of Business has been aggressively developing its International Business division, and the Comparative Literature department is working closely with the School's faculty in integrating the study of languages into the teaching of business skills. We have also taught and advised students from the School of Education, particularly those interested in making the teaching of cultures an integral part of their professional profiles.
If you are interested in taking classes in any of our languages and have taken them before, or are a heritage speaker, you must take a placement exam before enrolling in any class. For general information on Language placement exams, please contact Mustapha Masrour of the Language Learning Center, or look at this link: language placement exams.
Call or visit our offices for more information about the various courses and majors in Comparative Literature and Languages.