Classical and Modern Languages
Language shapes the way humans perceive, think, and communicate. Studying another language provides an opportunity to experience a different mode of thought from one's native language, to make forays and connections across the barriers of language, culture, and time. Through formal study of foreign languages and cultures, students develop the skills to help them cross those barriers, to grasp how language works, and to see how it shapes our understanding of the world.
The Classics faculty offers a rigorous program in both Greek and Latin languages, enabling students to study the ancient world as intimately as possible by reading texts written by the ancients themselves. The study of Latin or Greek offers the added benefit of improving one's knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar. After the first three semesters, our Latin offerings are divided into two tracks: a standard track and an accelerated track that leads more quickly to the AP course. A student may qualify for a Classics Diploma with extensive work in Latin and Greek. In addition, selected students may complete one of their Hotchkiss years, either the Upper Mid or Senior year, in Viterbo, Italy, with the School Year Abroad program.
Modern language courses are designed to provide students with as much exposure as possible to the particular language being studied. The aim is to achieve reasonable proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There is also discussion of cultural events, values, and differences. Language classes are taught in the target language in order to develop listening and speaking skills to the highest degree possible in a limited amount of time. There is a well-equipped digital language laboratory used in conjunction with many language classes. All students interested in a foreign language are encouraged to continue their study beyond the third-year requirement. Generally, beyond this level the emphasis is on reading and literary analysis, but grammar and composition continue to be of key importance. Major literary works through the ages are studied, and an appreciation of cultural differences is stressed. Selected students may complete one of their Hotchkiss years, either the Upper Middle or Senior year, in Beijing, China; Rennes, France; Viterbo, Italy; or Zaragoza, Spain with the School Year Abroad program. Native speakers of Chinese, French, Spanish, or German are encouraged to begin or continue the study of another foreign language.