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Electives

Why not use your time at McMaster to learn another language? Canadians are becoming increasingly multilingual, both in terms of diverse heritage languages and the ability to speak both official language (you can read about some interesting facts here: www.cbc.ca/news

While government jobs in Canada require fluency in both official languages, other employers value competency in languages other than English and French. You can find many language courses offered at McMaster. The Department of Linguistics and Languages offers courses in German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and Russian. We also offer culture courses taught in English about German, Italian and Russian history, literature and film. They can be taken as electives even if you do not speak the language.

You can also check the offerings of the Department of French, Indigenous Studies (Inuktut, Ojibwe, Cayuga, Mohawk), Classics (Latin and Greek), and Religious Studies (Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit).

 

LANGUAGE COURSES

German 1Z06: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in German.
German 2Z03/1BB3: Learn how to say, read and write a few more things in German.

Italian 1Z06: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in Italian.
Italian 2Z03/1A03: Learn how to say, read and write a few more things in Italian and learn more about regional identities through film and music.

Spanish 1Z06: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in Spanish.
Spanish 2Z03/1A03: Learn how to say, read and write a few more things in Spanish.

Chinese 1Z06: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in Mandarin Chinese.

Japanese 1Z06: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in Japanese.

Polish 1Z03/1ZZ3: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in Polish.

Russian 1Z03/1ZZ3: Learn the basics of everyday communication, reading and writing in Russian.

 

CULTURE AND SOCIETY COURSES

If you are interested in other cultures, you may find some interesting electives offered under the headings German, Italian or Russian. These courses are actually taught in English and do not require you to speak the languages in question – if you do, it will make the courses even more interesting. Please consider any of the following Level 2 or 3 electives:

German 2CC3: Germany Through the Ages. Culture and Society (in English): We will look at the historical events, cultural phenomena, and personalities which have shaped German culture and society until World War II. Topics include: Medieval and Romantic Heritage, the Golden Twenties, Nationalism and National Socialism, the Holocaust.

German 2N03: The Holocaust in Film and Fiction (in English): Focusing on the moral, philosophical, and cultural legacy of the Holocaust through the artistic imagination, we will explore the roots of European antisemitism, the Final Solution, politicization, universalization, trivialization, aestheticization, commercialization, Holokitsch.

Italian 3X03: Italy Today through Film (in English): How have recent (after 1945) historical, political and social events shaped Italy today? In this course we try to gain a better understanding of: Italy as a plural culture (the North/South relationship and regional differences and inequalities), the development of consumption after the economic boom, gender relations and the family, immigration/emigration, the mafia and political corruption. 

Russian 2G03: Masterpieces of Russian Literature in Film and TV Series (in English): The course is designed both to raise students’ awareness of Russian literature masterpieces by showing them the cinematic and TV adaptations of the great novels. The course will also teach a critical approach to the different interpretations of literary texts and how this affects our perception of Russian literature.

 Russian 2H03: Soviet Propaganda Films and Mass Media (in English): A study of Soviet and post-Soviet propaganda in films, news, posters, TV reels, and other mass media. The “fake news” phenomenon is explored through the history of propaganda in Soviet Union and other countries. 

 

LINGUISTICS COURSES

Linguistics 1A03 and 1AA3 introduce the science of language, using the tools of linguistics to observe the sound, sentence and meaning structures of languages of the world. Even though the courses are numbered 1 & 2, you may take them in any order.

After first year, you might be interested in one of these courses that have no prerequisites:

Linguistics 2E03: The Nature of Texts from Slang to Formal Discourse: Learn how language structure and style changes depending on your audience and goals.

Linguistics 2FL3: Forensic Linguistics: Learn how language science is used to solve crimes and provide evidence for legal decisions.

Linguistics 2S03: Language and Society: Learn how language varies according to region, gender, ethnicity, age.