Scholars Online Modern Languages Offerings

Background

We have offered early modern languages in past years, including Old Norse and Old English. Let us know what you'd like to see, and we’ll look into the possibility. It may seem ironic to refer to something that hasn't been spoken much since 1066 as a “modern language”, but this is the designation generally used in the academic world, which distinguishes modern languages as a group from classical languages (mostly Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit), and ancient near eastern languages (which would include things like Hebrew, Aramaic, Hittite, and so on).

Scholars Online supports modern spoken language instruction using audio technology from WizIQ or Skype.

Spanish

The Spanish language (also known as Castilian) comes to us from Spain. It is the official language of some 20 countries (mostly among the former Spanish colonies of the Western Hemisphere) and it is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Spanish is second only to Mandarin Chinese in the number of native speakers of any one language worldwide, and Mexico has the largest number of Spanish speakers of any one country. Spanish was spoken in parts of what is today the United States a century before the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and descendants of those original Spanish speakers still flourish in the U.S. and converse in that language today.

Spanish is a romance language, meaning that it is derived from the language of the Romans, who introduced Latin to the Iberian Peninsula around 210 BC. Beginning with the precipitous decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, Iberian Latin gradually evolved into Spanish. Along the way it was greatly influenced by the Arabic during the Moorish conquest of the 8th century. The language's true literary qualities came into their own during the 16th century and the Golden Age of Spanish literature. This was the era of Miguel de Cervantes and his masterpiece Don Quixote. The language continues to produce great literature, as attested by the many Spanish speakers who have won the Nobel prize for literature, such as Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Camilo Jose Cela, and Octavio Paz.

A truly poetic language, Spanish is nonetheless relatively easy for English speakers to acquire. Because of its phonetic qualities, spelling and pronunciation are consistent and fairly easy to learn, unlike in English. Spanish also contains many English cognates, that is, words that are easy to identify because they have similar spellings and the same or similar meaning as in English. Nevertheless, Spanish does present some tricky challenges with regard to grammar and word meaning.

Program Overview:

Instruction in the first two years of Spanish study will address the development of all four language skill areas: speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. Communication will be the central focus, and materials will be presented in a contextualized manner which relates language to real world communication needs, as well as to the culture(s) where Spanish is spoken or utilized. When possible, students will be directed to authentic language materials available on the World Wide Web. During the course of study, students will be taught how to study a language, how to prepare for tests, and how to most effectively go about memorizing vocabulary. Students will be required to purchase a textbook as well as some supplementary reading materials, both as yet to be determined.

Classes will be taught in Spanish as much as students are able to understand; English will be limited mostly to conveying an understanding of grammatical concepts or of abstract words or expressions. Students will be directly taught grammatical structures through comparison to English usage. The use of these structures will then be modeled by the teacher and practiced by the students in writing or in real time simulated conversational situations with fellow students during class. Students will participate in activities meant to develop auditory comprehension. Between conversation practice and developing listening comprehension, the goal will be to develop oral communicative competence. Another goal in the first two years will be to develop the rudiments of students' reading comprehension with a view toward preparing them for later study of literature. Once students develop a 400 word vocabulary and have mastered the present tense as well as the use of object pronouns they can then start reading appropriately leveled reading materials.

By the end of the second year of language study students should have attained some mastery of the main grammatical structures in Spanish, as well as an active vocabulary of some 2500 words, give or take. Thereafter (in the third and fourth years) attention will turn toward refining grammatical understanding, extending vocabulary, the further development of writing skills, and a more intense exploration of literature.

Parents and students should not expect their sons and daughters to develop superior levels of proficiency or become fluent speakers of Spanish through this course, even after a full four years of study. That requires a 24/7 "capstone" kind of language experience in a country where Spanish is the main language spoken over the course of at least six months to a year through something like a student exchange program immediately after high school or during college. What parents and students can expect through this course is to lay the necessary foundation so that such an overseas language experience can efficiently and effectively bear fruit. But to better prepare students for such an experience and to further whet their appetite for language study, the possibility is foreseen that Scholars Online students of Spanish and their parents may be able to participate in a week to two week summer-time trip to Spain following the spring semester.


French

Modern French is spoken by thirty-three different countries which are found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, South America, and North America. French is the third most commonly spoken language in the United States. Many Americans learn French because France is associated with fashion, gastronomy, and tourism. While these are all important cultural and economic facets of France, the country has a very different image in Europe. The French are a people known for the importance they give to abstract thinking in the forms of philosophy and mathematics. It is a culture that has given the Western world many of its most influential philosophers and thinkers. France is home to cutting edge high-speed train and airplane technology as well as to 8 out of the 50 winners of the prestigious Fields Medal, which has been likened to a Nobel Prize in Mathematics. Young people who go to engineering schools are considered to be on the road to a successful career, no matter what field of work they eventually choose.

Speaking French opens up international travel, study, and work opportunities all over the world since only forty-two percent of French-speakers live in Europe. For young people looking for work in international institutions, in international relations, or in multinational companies it is an important skill. For undergraduate or graduate students who wish to explore academic programs outside of the United States, it can open up interesting opportunities. Finally, speaking French is interesting in terms of general culture as it allows for reading some of the great works of philosophy and literature in their original language.

The ultimate goal of this program is to help the student reach a functional level in the French language which will allow him or her to feel confident communicating in conversations with French-speakers and in travel situations. In addition, we hope that students will have access to written French for their personal development or studies. Finally, we hope that the students, with additional language classes on site, will feel ready to enter into an international study program or job. An immersion experience like this is the only way to become truly proficient in a living foreign language.

Courses

If you would like to see a course not yet listed, please use the EMAIL US link below to contact Scholars Online Administration with your course request.

Students who were enrolled in courses from previous years will find the teacher, text, and course description information available from the student's unofficial transcript, which can be reached from the parent's Account Management Center, or from an alumni's own Account Management Center.

To see details about an individual course, click on the black triangle to the left of the course name

> French 1 • 2016 listing - for reference only • Grade 6 or above

> Spanish 1 • 2016 listing - for reference only • Grade 6 or above

> French 2 • 2016 listing - for reference only • Grade 6 or above

> Spanish 2 • 2016 listing - for reference only • Grade 7 or above

> French 1 • Offering for 2017 • Grade 6 or above

> Old English • Offering for 2017 • Grade 7 or above

> French 2 • Offering for 2017 • Grade 6 or above

> French 3 • Offering for 2017 • Grade 6 or above


To enroll in any of the courses listed above, log into your Scholars Online Account Management Center using the login link at the bottom of any page and select the member you wish to enroll. If you do not have an account, you may create one using the Becoming a Member link under Enrollment in the Navigation bar at the top of this page.


Scholars Online is accredited by AdvancED and the Northwest Accreditation Commission.