Language Programs

Our primary goal is to ensure that our students do not only achieve linguistic proficiency in the foreign language, but also gain a critical perspective of the language and cultures of the French and or/Italian-speaking world from within their own cultural framework.

Students encounter a wide range of authentic material, including readings, videos, films, French and Italian television, news, and web-based activities. There are opportunities for them to be exposed to many areas to which French and Italian culture have greatly contributed, such as the visual arts and cinema, music, popular culture, sociology, political science or gastronomy. By these means, students develop their ability to create and interpret meaning across a wide variety of texts and cultural productions and discover connections to them. 

All class work is conducted in the target language, with a strong emphasis on communicative activities and discussions, along with a solid program of linguistic training. 

Language courses in French and Italian range from beginners’ level to advanced. The standard 101-102-107 sequence is designed to bring students without previous knowledge of French or Italian to a level at which they can operate effectively in speaking, reading, and writing the foreign language. There are also intensive, double-credit courses in French and Italian in the spring semester (1027). Students who have acquired elementary French in high school can be placed into an accelerated two-semester sequence (103-107); those with a good basic command of French in high school have a separate sequence (105-108). Once completed, any of these sequences fulfill the University’s foreign language requirement.

Students who wish to pursue the study of French or Italian beyond the language requirement may do so by taking 207 or other, more advanced courses. Gifted, highly committed students are invited to apply for admission to the department’s summer study program at the IS Institute in Aix-en-Provence (France) or the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) in Pisa, Italy, for which they will obtain official Princeton credit as 207F and 207I, respectively.