MODERN LANGUAGE

4 semesters/ 20 credits required (same language)

Unless otherwise noted, all academic courses in this department meet both CSU and UC entrance requirements.

The current requirement for modern language study at Notre Dame is two years.  However, both the administration and the Modern Language Department, in consultation with the director of college counseling, recommend that most students at Notre Dame complete a four-year sequence in one language.  All students who finish Level II with a "B" (or a C with teacher recommendation) are encouraged to pursue the advanced levels in the language.  The Modern Language Department considers Levels III and IV as essentially one course and therefore does not anticipate that grades vary significantly from Level III to IV.  Students should also keep in mind that the rigor of their senior year schedule is far more important for college admissions than their senior year grades.

There is also the opportunity to double up on languages, picking up Level I of the other language as a sophomore or junior. For the student who is not qualified to go on to Level III, there is also the option of taking two years of a different language, demonstrating to the college admissions committees that the student is pursuing a rigorous schedule as a senior.

Students who are interested in American Sign Language should have a conversation with their counselor and the modern language department chairperson.

College Prep Courses

Honors and Advanced Placement Courses

#4083 ADVANCED SPANISH CULTURE AND CONVERSATION
10 credits - Grade(s) 11, 12 
Prerequisite: Spanish III with a grade of C- or better both semesters

This course would follow Spanish III or any subsequent course in the curriculum.  The emphasis is learning about Hispanic culture and history through film and other media, while expanding vocabulary, developing communication skills, and working through individual problem areas in grammar.  This would also be an option for students who have an interest in additional study in Spanish as a supplement to the normal course of study or as an extension for those who finish Spanish IV AP or Spanish V AP.  Heritage speakers of Spanish who chose to take French as an academic subject may also enjoy taking this class as an opportunity to learn more about their background and the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

Requirements to register for American Sign Language (ASL)

Eligbility Criteria

Candidate for course pending counselor approval (additional fees will apply)

Students with ASL as formal learning accommodation as part of their learning needs evaluation

#4048 American Sign Language I
10 credits - Grade(s) all
Enrollment based on counselor recommendation and department approval                               
This course is taught in an online format through BYU’s online Independent Study program

This course is designed to give students an introduction to American Sign Language and the cultural components of deafness. Students will learn basic vocabulary and grammar in order to communicate and comprehend. Students will also compare and contrast ASL with English, as well as explore products, practices and perspectives related to the deaf community.  By the end of the course, students will perform the tasks of a novice language learner. 

#4049 American Sign Language II
10 credits - Grade(s)  All 
Prerequisite: Passing grade in ASL I
Limited enrollment based on department approval                                                                              
This course is taught in an online format through BYU’s online Independent Study program

The second level of this course is designed to give students the opportunity to communicate, comprehend and present on familiar and predictable topics using isolated works, learned phrases and learned grammatical structures.  This course will build on vocabulary learned in American Sign Language I and provide students with more cultural context of the deaf community.  By the end of the course, students will perform the tasks of a mid-range language-learner. 

#4040 CHINESE I COMPETENCY  (MANDARIN I) 
10 credits - Grade 9
Prerequisite: none
 
Grammar, vocabulary and culture are taught through the four basic communications skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Students will be actively engaged in their own language learning.  They will become familiar with common vocabulary terms and phrases, comprehend a wide range of grammar patterns, participate in simple conversations and respond appropriately to basic conversational prompts. There is a strong emphasis on providing context and conversational examples for the language concepts presented in each unit. The lessons will focus on greeting, family, daily schedule, classroom language, color and clothes.  Cultural practices will be utilized to introduce traditional Chinese drinks, family, color taboos, etc.  Both Chinese characters and pinyin are presented together throughout the course..

#4045 CHINESE II COMPETENCY  (MANDARIN II)
10 credits - Grade 9
Prerequisite: Chinese I with a grade of C or better both semesters or teacher approval
 
Students will further develop their knowledge of key vocabulary topics and grammar concepts while also improving their abilities to listen, read, speak and write. Students will be actively engaged in their own language learning, understand common vocabulary terms and phrases, use a wide range of grammar patterns in their speaking and writing, participate in conversations and respond appropriately to conversation prompts. Character recognition and practice are a key focus of the course and students are expected to learn several characters each unit. Pinyin is still presented with some characters throughout the course to aid in listening and reading comprehension.  The lessons will focus on weather, direction, health, transportation, food and sports.  Cultural practices will be utilized to introduce Chinese traditional foods, Feng Shui, travel tips, etc.   

#4047 CHINESE III COMPETENCY  (MANDARIN III)
10 credits - Grade(s)  All 
Prerequisite: Chinese II with a grade of C or better both semesters or teacher approval
 
This high intermediate course builds on the Mandarin 2 curriculum, with a particular emphasis on speaking and listening in the interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes. Vocabulary and grammar skills will be further developed as students add advanced sentence structures, phrases, and characters, with less reliance on Pinyin. Students will be able to polish their communicative skills through reading authentic materials, doing projects (fashion show, travel to China, school life introduction) and solving real life problems with the use of the target language. 
 
#4000 FRENCH I   
10 credits - Grade(s) all
Prerequisite: none    
 
This course is designed to give students an introduction to the French language.  Grammar, vocabulary and culture are taught through the four basic communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will often work in pairs and teams to do written and oral exercises as well as skits and presentations.  Students will be writing paragraphs, which will increase in difficulty and length, with each unit.  Oral proficiency and class participation are critical to success at this level.
Each lesson focuses on an aspect of life in French speaking countries which high school students can appreciate – school, home, family, food, travel, etc. In addition, these cultural lessons will allow students to compare and contrast their customs and beliefs with those of people in French-speaking countries.  
 
#4010 FRENCH II    
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: French I with a grade of C or better both semesters or teacher approval    
 
This course builds on the French I curriculum.  Students will further develop speaking and listening skills through conversation, group work, discussion of class materials and oral presentations.  Their writing will continue to improve through assigned paragraphs and compositions, which students will write and revise for a better grade based on “correction codes” given by the teacher.  Oral work will be evaluated through classroom presentations and performances.  Grammar, especially verb tenses, will be emphasized at this level.  The cultural lessons will concentrate on Paris, French-speaking countries outside of France, as well as everyday life.
 
#4020 FRENCH III
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: French II with a grade of B or better both semesters or teacher approval    
 
This course, conducted primarily in French, concentrates on elevating language skills to students' thought level.  Students will move toward self-expression through various activities.  Class discussion of reading materials along with debate and dramatizations will be used.  Grammar will be reviewed and new, more complex structures will be introduced.  Formal writing introduced in French II will continue.  Students will study French culture, songs and short stories, and conduct research on various topics.
 
#4050 SPANISH I  
10 credits - Grade(s) 9, 10, 11 
Prerequisite: none
 
This course is designed to give students an introduction to the Spanish language. Grammar, vocabulary and culture are taught through the four basic communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students will often work in pairs and teams to do written and oral exercises as well as skits and presentations. Students will write paragraphs which will increase in difficulty and length with each unit. Oral proficiency and class participation are critical to success at this level.
Each lesson focuses on an aspect of life in Latin America and/or Spain which high school students can appreciate – school, home, family, food, health, travel, as well as Day of the Dead and Christmas cultural traditions in Mexico. In addition, these cultural lessons will allow the students to compare and contrast their customs and beliefs with those of people in Spanish-speaking countries.
 
#4060 SPANISH II 
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: Spanish I with a grade of C or better both semesters or teacher approval
 
This course builds on the Spanish I curriculum.  Students will further develop their fluency expanding on their abilities to communicate about their daily life and past events.  Students interact with authentic texts, audios and videos as they increase their vocabulary and grammatical structures.  Their writing will continue to improve through assigned paragraphs and compositions.  In addition there will be 3 – 4 written and/or oral projects. Their oral work will be evaluated through classroom presentations and performances.  Grammar, especially verb tenses, will be emphasized at this level.  The cultural lessons will focus on school, extracurricular activities, childhood, routines, shopping, errands in a city, news and natural disasters, as well as deepen their understanding of Day of the Dead and Christmas cultural traditions. 
 
#4070 SPANISH III 
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: Spanish II with a grade of B or better both semesters or teacher approval      
 
Spanish III consists of 5 units that build on curriculum from Spanish II. Students will work in the presentational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal modes of communication. Students will continue to add to their vocabulary from previous courses and further develop their reading and writing skills. The units focus on sports and physical activity, art, health, relationships, and work.

 

Honors & Advanced Placement Program
Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language

Course being applied for: Grades must be maintained throughout the year or demonstrate significant improvement.

Chinese Language and Culture Advanced Placement 

or

French II Honors, French III Honors, French Language and Culture Advanced Placement

or

Spanish II Honors, Spanish III Honors, Spanish Language and Culture Advanced Placement, Spanish Literature and Culture Advanced Placement

Entry into honors level classes is based on:

  • grade of A both semesters in college prep class (verification of June grades)
  • grade of A or B both semesters in honors class
  • any student with at least a passing grade of C in level III of the language and the ability to comprehend the spoken target language may enroll in AP Language and Composition
  • any student with at least a passing grade of C in the AP Language and Culture course and the ability to comprehend the spoken target language may enroll in AP Spanish Literature and Culture

 

Note: Students must maintain the required grade in the second semester in order to maintain eligibility. All placements will be reviewed at the end of the school year by the department.

Suggested course sequence for honors students is:

Level I; Level IIH; Level III H; Language and Culture AP; Literature and Culture AP, Advanced Spanish Culture and Conversation

#4046 CHINESE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE AP
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam
 
This course prepares students to take the AP exam given in the spring. Students will continue developing their skills in listening, reading, writing and reading in the interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes.  The class will include the exploration of different social and cultural aspects of China through authentic multimedia and literary materials (public signs, advertisements, newspaper articles, etc.).  Both historical traditions and modern changes will be discussed through class discussions, group projects and individual presentations 
 

#4015 FRENCH II HONORS 
10 credits - Grade(s) All
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language 

The pace in French II H is faster than that of regular French II, thus allowing the students to acquire more knowledge with the expectation of a higher level of proficiency.  Written work will be frequent with greater depth and detail. Students will be challenged to speak freely and frequently in the target language; oral proficiency will be emphasized.  In addition, the students will read and discuss several literary extracts including a unit on The Holocaust.  This unit will be a precursor to the work in French III Honors where students move away from “tourist” vocabulary and start to talk about issues that engage and inflame their spirits.

#4025 FRENCH III HONORS
10 credits - Grade(s) All 
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language  
 
This is a literature-based, honors level advanced language class where students will use their abilities as self-motivated learners to: develop a broad vocabulary, elevate grammar usage to a level of sophistication that will allow the student to express ideas clearly and concisely, refine reading skills, and speak and write with a level of sophistication that is suitable both to the content and their age. This will be accomplished through the use of film and literature based around 5 themes:  friends and family, schooling, women’s rights, immigration and racism,  media, and identity.  The students will read novels in their original language including Petit Nicolas, Une Si Longue Lettre, Le Racisme Expliqué à Ma Fille, and Le Petit Prince. Students will develop comfort in speaking by working daily in small groups. Oral assessments will consist of recorded commentary, debates, Socratic seminars, and class discussion. Written work will include writing, discussion and reaction questions, compositions, and creative pieces.  Students will also do an interview with a native speaker.  
 

#4030 FRENCH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE AP
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12   
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam  

Using French-language literature, news articles, film and music as a framework for language study, this course focuses on the advanced listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills necessary for upper-division college study in the French language.  This class, conducted entirely in French prepares students for the Advanced Placement French Language Exam by developing critical thinking and academic skills as well as striving for a sophisticated level of expression in French, both orally and in writing.  A detailed review of grammar and vocabulary will take place throughout the year, as well as an emphasis on extemporaneous discussion and composition writing, literary analysis and cultural awareness.  The themes for study are: global challenges, science and technology, contemporary life, personal and public identities, families and communities, and beauty and aesthetics.

#4065 SPANISH II HONORS
10 credits - Grade(s) All   
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language
 
This course builds on the Spanish I curriculum.  Students will further develop speaking and listening skills through conversation, discussion, and oral presentations.  Their writing will continue to improve through assigned paragraphs and compositions.  In addition, there will be 3 – 4 written and/or oral projects. Their oral work will be evaluated through classroom presentations and performances.  Grammar, especially verb tenses, will be emphasized at this level.  The cultural lessons will focus on routines, travel, cuisine, pastimes, shopping, health, cities and the countryside as well as Spanish and Latin American traditions.
 
The pace in Spanish II H is faster than that of regular Spanish II, thus allowing the students to acquire more knowledge with the expectation of a higher level of proficiency.  Written work will be frequent with greater depth and detail. This writing process will also include a pen-pal program with a nearby bilingual.  Students will be challenged to speak freely and frequently in the target language; oral proficiency will be emphasized.  In addition, the students will read and discuss several literary extracts, including an illustrated version of Don Quijote de la Mancha.
 
#4075 SPANISH III HONORS
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language  
Spanish III Honors consists of six units that progress through Notre Dame’s Education for Justice and Leadership framework. The pace, depth, and rigor of the course are all at an advanced level- requiring students to quickly and comfortably learn from mistakes. The units intertwine the presentational, interpersonal and intrapersonal communication modes with national Spanish standards, while also pushing students to think critically about personal responsibility, solidarity, stewardship, and advocacy as related to learning Spanish. Students review and expand the grammar concepts learned in level 2, and further develop their vocabulary and cultural knowledge. Students read a novel (in its original form) in Spanish, interview native Spanish speakers, create a Global Citizen Portfolio, and work with the Mountain View Day Worker Center. The course specifically addresses complexities of Hispanic immigration in the US both academically and through community involvement.
 
#4085 SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE ADVANCED PLACEMENT
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam
 
Using Spanish-language literature, news articles, film and music as a framework for language study, this course focuses on the advanced listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills necessary for upper-division college study in the Spanish language.  This class, conducted entirely in Spanish prepares the students for the Advanced Placement Spanish Language Exam by developing critical thinking and academic skills as well as striving for a sophisticated level of expression in Spanish, both orally and in writing.  A detailed review of grammar and vocabulary will take place throughout the year, as well as an emphasis on extemporaneous discussion and composition writing, literary analysis and cultural awareness.  The themes for study are: global challenges, science and technology, contemporary life, personal and public identities, families and communities, and beauty and aesthetics.
 
#4090 SPANISH LITERATURE AND CULTURE ADVANCED PLACEMENT
10 credits - Grade(s) 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: see Eligibility for Honors and Advanced Placement Courses in Modern Language 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam
 
Spanish Literature and Culture AP is an advanced Spanish class that surveys Peninsular and Latin American literature from the Middle Ages to today.  It is the equivalent of an upper-division college course and serves as an introduction to literary analysis and discussion of Spanish-language literature.  Beyond developing reading comprehension, students will actively engage with text, understand the context in which it was written, think critically about its themes and greater message, and analyze the author’s craft.   The class is conducted entirely in Spanish and students will learn the terminology and academic language to discuss content, structure, theme, character development, and figurative language. They will also write interpretive and analytical compositions and work to develop their academic writing skills in Spanish.  The primary goal for the class is that students enjoy reading the classics of Spanish-language literature and develop their autonomy in reading on all levels. Summer reading required.