Canterbury students can choose to study one of four languages—Spanish, French, Mandarin, or Latin, progressing as far as the AP level. Multiple members of the language faculty are Native Speakers, including a Mandarin teacher and several Spanish teachers. The department uses the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) method to engage students in the language and encourage fluency and comprehension. Because our students are part of a global community, they not only learn the language but also study the culture. When possible, our students travel abroad to refine their skills through interactions with native speakers. For example, each year in the Spanish exchange program, a group of Canterbury students spend six weeks in Mallorca after their Spanish counterparts have spent several weeks at Canterbury. For more information on the language curriculums, see the Academic Guide.
- Learn about current events in Spain, France, or China by listening to and watching news clips in those languages.
- Respond to your Mandarin teacher’s questions through Twitter.
- Read Don Quixote in Spanish.
- View the movie Jean de Florette in French and write a critique of the movie in French.
- Converse in your new language with a Canterbury student from that country.
- Participate in a class discussion about school life without using a word of English.
- Record your responses to a classroom assignment in Spanish and download it to your computer.
- Host a Spanish student as part of the exchange program.
- Spend six weeks in Spain with a Spanish family, attending a Spanish school.
- Join a school trip to France, Haiti, or Nicaragua.
- Take an imaginary trip abroad through immersion in the art, music, and sports of Spain, France, or China.
Chair: Keiko Mathewson
The Language Department strives to instill in each student a love for the language and cultures studied and the satisfaction derived from the relative mastery of a second language.
- FRENCH 1
- FRENCH 2
- FRENCH 3
- FRENCH 4
- AP FRENCH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
- SPANISH 1
- SPANISH 2
- SPANISH 3
- SPANISH 4
- SPANISH 5
- AP SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
- AP SPANISH LITERATURE AND CULTURE
- MANDARIN 1
- MANDARIN 2
- MANDARIN 3
- MANDARIN 4
In French 1 the students acquire useful, high frequency vocabulary. By the end of the first year, the students are able to express themselves in the present and past tenses. Thematic vocabulary includes family, home, school schedule and sports, clothes and colors, numbers and dates, and life at Canterbury. Text: Raconte-moi encore! Student Text and mini novels Pirates français des Caraïbes and Pauvre Anne.
By the end of Level 2 the students are studying the basics of the subjunctive mood. Students in French 2 master the past tenses, the imparfait and the passé composé. Thematic topics of vocabulary include talking on the phone and sending texts, personal relationships, life at home and at Canterbury, going on a date, fashion, shopping, school life. Text: Raconte moi encore! Student Text and mini novels Le voyage perdu and Où est passé Martin?
In French 3 the students round out their study of French grammar, continue the mastery of the past tenses and future, conditional and subjunctive. An emphasis on oral and more advanced written communication also continues at this level. We use video clips to expose the students to native speakers. Text: Look I'm really talking! and mini novel Les yeux de Carmen.
Honors section available.
In French 4 the students refine their grammar through a final review of the major grammatical topics and verb tenses. In addition, the students study culture through film, original literature, and music. A series of film shorts supplements the classroom. Text: Une Fois pour Toutes, Prentice Hall, 2009. Honors section available.
Students in the AP Language class prepare for the AP Language and Culture exam. Conducted exclusively in French, the course continues to develop all the language skills. The students also compose and express more complex thoughts and ideas, review grammar, and become familiar with the format of the AP exam. Though the AP exam is the final assessment, this class continues the acquisition of structures and fine-tunes language use and skills. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP French Language exam in May. Text: Imaginez, Vista Higher Learning 2nd Edition, 2012.
In Level 1 the students acquire useful, high frequency vocabulary. By the end of the first year, the students are able to express themselves effectively in the present tense and can recognize the past tenses. Thematic vocabulary includes family, home, school schedule and sports, at the airport, clothes and colors, numbers and dates, and life at Canterbury. Text: ¡Cuéntame Más! Student Text and mini-novels Piratas del Caribe and Robo en la Noche
By the end of Level 2 the students are studying the basics of the subjunctive mood. Students in Spanish 2 master the past tenses, the imperfect and preterit. Thematic topics of vocabulary include talking on the phone and sending texts, personal relationships, life at home and at Canterbury, going on a date, fashion, shopping and school life. Text: ¡Cuéntame mucho! Student Text and mini-novels Los Baker van al Perú, La maldición de la cabeza reducida, and La llorona de Mazátlan.
In Spanish 3 the students complete their study of grammar, focusing on the perfect tenses and the subjunctive. We continue the emphasis on oral and more advanced written communication at this level. Students who have shown a knack and ease with the language may be selected for the honors Spanish 3 class where we begin to focus on Advanced Placement tasks. Text: ¡Cuánto me cuentas!, and mini-novels La Mara Salvatrucha, Rebeldes de Tejas, and La Calaca Alegre or Noche de Oro and La Vampirata.
Honors section available.
In Spanish 4 the students refine their grammar through a final, sweeping review of the major grammatical topics and verb tenses. In addition, the students study culture through film, original literature, and music. A series of film shorts supplement the learning. Mini-novels: Felipe Alou: Desde las valles a las montañas, La Guerra Sucia and La Hija Del Sastre.
Honors section available.
In Spanish 5, we study a broad range of cultural topics from the Spanish-speaking world. The first semester focuses on Spain and the second focuses on Central and South America and the Caribbean. The students practice what they have learned in their previous years of Spanish through the exploration of various topics related to the Spanish-speaking world. Students in the course drive the curriculum, but planned topics are: a brief history of Spain and Spanish-speaking America, the pros and cons of bull fighting, countries and capitals of the Spanish speaking world, main cities and regions of Spain and Europe. The students learn about topics in current events from the Spanish-speaking world from on-line Spanish news outlets.
Conducted exclusively in Spanish, the course continues to develop language skills. They also compose and express more complex thoughts and ideas, review grammar, and become familiar with the format of the AP exam. Though the AP exam is the final assessment, this class continues language acquisition and fine-tunes language use and skills. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Spanish Language exam in May. Text: Galería de arte y vida.
Students in this class read representative prose (short story, novel and essay), poetry and drama from the Spanish-speaking world. It is a survey course that follows the reading list published by the College Board. The students make connections between the works read and the historical period and regions in which they were written. Students develop a deeper understanding of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP Spanish Literature exam in May. Text: Azulejo: Anthology and guide for the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Course, 2nd Edition.
In Mandarin 1, students begin the process of studying Chinese. Through the use of Rosetta Stone and the TPRS method (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), students get repeated exposure to comprehensible input, ensuring that their progress with the language is long-term acquisition, not short-term gains. Class-time is spent utilizing and playing with the language and vocabulary presented in Rosetta Stone, leading to students asking and answering questions in Mandarin Chinese. The major topics include: numbers, likes and dislikes, classroom objects, family members, homes, food, animals and sports. Students are able to respond to simple questions and list information about their daily life when prompted.
In Mandarin 2, students grow from an introductory level of proficiency to a solid beginner level. As the student become more used to using Chinese in the classroom and more confident in their abilities, we continue to raise the level of Chinese spoken in class. Students must request permission to speak English in class and student progress becomes evident and immediate. As the year progresses, student speech becomes more complex and nuanced: simple, straightforward answers are now considered acceptable but are not the benchmark of success. In Mandarin 2, students are able to tell a story, narrate events in their own lives, and talk about plans for the future, their daily habits and where they live. Mandarin 2 students can type a paragraph in Chinese retelling a story, write a dialogue between two people and read a passage and answer questions about it in written Chinese.
In Mandarin 3, students move to the advanced beginner or lower intermediate level, while continuing to focus on communication. For our text, we use Rosetta Stone and a number of TPRS readers, which gives sheltered vocabulary exposure to students. Mandarin 3 students are able to read longer texts, write in detail about their own lives and others, describe their environment, give directions and order food in the target language. Mandarin 3 students are able to speak at length about their life in school, their home and their classes.
Honors section available
In Mandarin 4, students become firmly established at the intermediate level, reading interpreted texts in the target language on Chinese culture, myths and legends. Students continue working with Rosetta Stone to develop their vocabulary while also reading supplemental texts in Mandarin Chinese (which have been developed for non-native language learners). Mandarin 4 students can write a long essay (250 characters), participate in a debate, rewrite a folktale and carry on extensive conversations with their classmates or teacher. After completing Mandarin 4, students should be ready to enter a 3rd semester Chinese course in college.
Honors section available