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Modern Languages

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Department: Modern Languages

Program Type: Education and Liberal Arts

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Learning another language is a meaningful experience with benefits that last a lifetime. Employers prize fluency in a second language and may increase your earnings potential. But learning a new language isn't just about work; it's enjoyable too! It helps you understand your language better and makes you more confident and independent. Whether you want to meet new people, travel, or find a better job, learning a new language can help you achieve your goals.

Elgin Community College’s exceptional Modern Languages faculty is committed to helping you prepare for success in today’s global community by building your language skills and expanding your cultural awareness. Language courses transfer to many colleges and universities and are a sought-after minor. 

Get additional information, including course listings and class descriptions for the following languages:

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The employment outlook for modern language professionals varies depending on the specific language and industry. However, as global business and communication continue to increase, the demand for multilingual individuals is expected to grow. The field of translation and interpretation is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

In the field of language teaching, the demand for language teachers is also expected to increase, particularly in countries where English is not the first language and where there is a growing interest in learning a second language.

Overall, the demand for multilingual individuals with a strong command of modern languages is expected to grow as the world becomes increasingly interconnected and global communication becomes more critical. Refer to Career Coach for more information regarding related occupations and compensation.

Plan of Study and Course Descriptions

The Basic Spanish for Medical Personnel certificate is designed to provide health care workers with the language skills to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients at a basic level. You can complete this fully online six-credit-hour certificate within one semester. Students will learn to gather a patient’s insurance information, ask health history questions, and develop familiarity with medical conditions and topics used in various general practice and specialty settings. Required courses for certificate completion are Basic Spanish for Medical Personnel I (SPN-171) and Basic Spanish for Medical Personnel II (SPN-172).

Basic Vocational Certificate

Careers in Languages

Language careers include:

  • Language Teacher or Professor: teaching languages at various levels, from elementary schools to universities, or teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad.
  • Cultural Anthropologist: studying different cultures, traditions, and beliefs and analyzing their influence on language and communication.
  • Speech-Language Pathologist: working with clients with communication disorders or difficulties with language acquisition, helping them improve their speech and language skills.
  • Linguist: researching language structures, meaning, and usage or working in language preservation and revitalization efforts.
  • Interpreter or Translator: working with languages to convert one language to another for clients, businesses, government agencies, or individuals.

How many languages are there?

The exact number of languages spoken worldwide is difficult to determine. However, it is estimated that between 6,000 to 7,000 languages are spoken worldwide. The Modern Language Association (MLA) is an organization that promotes the study of languages and literatures. It focuses primarily on modern languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German.

The study of language, known as linguistics, encompasses a wide range of topics, including the structure of language, its historical evolution, and its social and cultural contexts. Modern language building refers to creating new languages, which can be done for various reasons, such as artistic or scientific purposes. Living in other languages or multilingualism is the ability to speak multiple languages fluently and is common in many parts of the world. A group currently speaks a living language of people instead of a dead language, which is no longer used in everyday communication.

How long does it take to learn a language?

The amount of time it takes to learn a language can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the learner's prior language experience, language learning method, the difficulty of the language being learned, and the learner's dedication to practicing the language.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) suggests it can take 2-3 years of study to achieve basic proficiency in a new language. However, achieving mastery can take several more years of research and practice.

The study of language, or linguistics, has shown different levels of language proficiency, ranging from beginner to advanced. Modern language building, or the creation of new languages, can take several years to develop, depending on the complexity and scope of the language being created.

Interested in Modern Languages?

Modern Languages encompasses careers that involve studying, using, and teaching different languages and cultures. Some careers, such as language teacher or tutor, may focus on language acquisition. These professionals help individuals learn new languages by facilitating language classes and individual lessons. They may also help individuals improve their fluency in a language through conversational practice.

Another area within Modern Languages is interpretation and translation. Interpreters and translators facilitate communication between individuals who speak different languages by converting one language into another, either orally or in writing. They work in various settings, including business, health care, legal, and governmental organizations.

There are also linguistics and language research careers, where professionals study different languages' structure, history, and use. They may analyze the development of languages over time, the relationships between other languages, and the factors that influence how people speak and use language. This research can be applied to education, technology, and law.

In conclusion, Modern Languages encompass various careers involving language and culture. Whether teaching, interpreting, translating, or conducting research, professionals in this field are essential in facilitating communication and understanding between individuals and cultures.

Learn more about the Modern Languages department at ECC!

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Modern Languages Program