Learn a Less Commonly Studied Language

Duke University offers several less commonly studied languages: Haitian Creole, Hebrew, K’iche’ Maya, and Tibetan. These languages all carry the FL code and can be applied towards Duke’s foreign languages requirement.

Haitian Creole Studies at Duke University

Fall 2016 Course Offerings:

  • CREOLE 101 & 701 – Elementary Creole I

An introduction to the essential elements of Haitian Creole or Kreyòl language and aspects of Haitian culture. The first of the two-semester sequence of elementary Haitian Creole or Kreyòl, the course provides practice in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing the language, culturally contextualized through units on health care, Haitian women¿s rights issues, and unpaid child servants (restavèk). Students will acquire enough vocabulary and idioms to be able to interact with Haitians. Taught in Haitian Creole. No pre-requisite

  • CREOLE 203 & 703 – Intermediate Creole I

First semester of intermediate Haitian Creole or Kreyol. This course moves beyond survival skills in Creole to more complex social interactions and expressions of analysis and opinion. Intermediate skills in understanding, speaking, writing, reading will be contextualized within a broad range of issues such as rural life in Haiti, religion, frenchified Creole vs popular Creole, through texts, poems, and excerpts taken from novels in Haitian Creole. Students will learn to carefully follow contemporary events and debates in Haitian culture using internet resources in Creole. Pre-requisite: Creole 102 or equivalent. Taught in Haitian Creole.

Why Study Haitian Creole?

  • Haitian Creole is a Francophone language with influences from Portuguese, Spanish, and West African Languages.
  • Haitian Creole is one of the official languages of Haiti.
  • Haitian Creole is spoken by over world, but mainly in the Caribbean.
  • Duke University Haitian Creole lecturer Jacques Pierre develops online video teaching tools available here.

Duke Opportunities:

K’iche’ Maya at Duke University

Fall 2016 Course Offerings:

  • KICHE 101 & 703 – Elementary K’iche’ Maya I

Introduction to essential elements of K’iche’ Maya language and aspects of Maya culture. K’iche’ Maya, a language spoken by about a million people in the western Highlands of Guatemala, is one of the major indigenous languages in the Americas. Emphasis on active language production to develop basic conversational skills for everyday interactions. No pre-requisite.

  • KICHE 203 & 703 – Intermediate K’iche’ Maya I

Develops greater competencies in writing in K’iche’ and translation to/from K’iche’. Covers more advanced grammar (verb modalities) and broader range of scripts (colonial vs. modern orthography). Research conducted in K’iche’ using the Oral History archive at the University of New Mexico. Students select a story from the online archive, listen to audio, correct transcription, rewrite it in modern orthography and translate it into contemporary English to present to classmates. Prerequisite: K’iche’ Maya 102 or equivalent.

Why study K’iche’ Maya?

  • K’iche’ is the most spoken indigenous language of the Mayan people living in the highlands of Central America, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
  • K’iche’ is the language of the Popol Wuj, the sacred book of the Maya, which dates to the 16th century.
  • Course taught “live” by Vanderbilt University Professor Mareike Sattle; students participate through videoconference / telepresence classrooms.

Duke Opportunities:

Hebrew Language at Duke University

Fall 2016 Course Offerings:

  • HEBREW 101 – Elementary Modern Hebrew

This course assumes that students enter with either little or no background in the language. Typically, students begin the course without any prior study or, at most, some knowledge from after-school Hebrew programs. We begin with a review of the Hebrew aleph-bet, and quickly move to develop students’ skills in conversation, reading, writing, and aural comprehension. Grammar is taught based on communicative needs. By the end of the first semester, students will be able to conjugate active verbs in the present tense, and will be introduced to active past-tense constructions; recognize and use simple syntactic structures; read and write texts with non-compound sentences. This course is taught in the fall semester only.

  • HEBREW 203 – Intermediate Modern Hebrew

This course is a continuation of Hebrew 002. Based on the skills learned during the first year of study, this course continues with a similar method, developing skills in all areas of language acquisition. Verb study will be taught according to the binyanim, and in general, grammar study will be more structured. Conversation will continue to be emphasized with stress on creating flexibility and elasticity in students’ skills. Formal presentations will be required, and students will begin to write texts requiring critical thought. Toward the end of the semester, standard Hebrew texts drawn from literary sources will be read, analyzed, and discussed in class. By the end of Hebrew 063, students will have completed a introduction to the grammar and basic syntactic structures of modern Hebrew. They will also be able to converse on a number of topics and to discuss simple critical ideas. This course is taught in the fall semester only.

  • HEBREW 391 – Independent Study

Why Study Hebrew?

  • Hebrew is the language of the Jewish Bible (the Christian “Old Testament”).
  • Hebrew is unique: a language with a 3,000 year history.
  • Hebrew is the primary language of Israel, one of the world’s fastest-growing high-tech economies and a country of constant prominence and importance on the world stage.
  • Once you know Hebrew, whole libraries of written treasures, ancient and modern, open up to you, as well as one of the most cutting-edge cinema and theater cultures in our modern world.
  • If you are interested in research on the Middle East or in working there, a knowledge of Hebrew is invaluable.

Duke Opportunities:

Tibetan Language at Duke University

Fall 2016 Course Offerings:

  • TIBETAN 101 & 701 – Elementary Tibetan I

Introductory Tibetan language course for students who have little to no knowledge of Tibetan. Development of speaking, listening, reading, writing skills through Tibetan concepts, grammar and syntax of spoken and written Tibetan. Topics include situations of everyday life (e.g. greetings, introductions, family, habits/hobbies, making appointments, food, visiting friends, weather, shopping, etc.) as well as aspects of Tibetan people and culture (e.g. songs, short stories, etc.).

  • TIBETAN 203 & 703 – Intermediate Tibetan I

Intermediate skill-building in the grammar and syntax of spoken and written Tibetan, along with development of skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing through the integrated use of spoken and literary forms. Students will also enhance their knowledge of Tibetan culture in order to improve their communication skills. Pre-Requisite: TIBETAN 102 Elementary Tibetan II or equivalent.

Why study Tibetan?

  • Tibetan is the language of a vast region at the heart of Asia and is used in China, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Russia, and Mongolia.
  • Tibetan is the language of the historical Tibet, home to Tibetan Buddhism, the source of one of the world’s richest contemplative traditions.
  • Course taught “live” by University of Virginia instructor Tsetan Chonjore; students participate through videoconference / telepresence classrooms.

Duke Opportunities: