Why Is It Important To Study Languages

Congratulations!  We are delighted you have been admitted into UNC Greensboro! When you walk onto our campus this fall, you’ll discover a diverse and welcoming place where each day will dawn with another opportunity to pursue your dreams. No matter what you choose to study, We are confident you’ll find your way here.

WHY STUDY A LANGUAGE

As you start on this exciting journey, despite the major you plan to pursue, We urge you to explore one or more of the nine different languages currently offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and two ancient languages taught in the Department of Classical Studies.  It is a well-known fact that global competence is vital to successful interactions in today’s increasingly interconnected world—and knowledge of other languages plays an important role in developing that competence.  It is likewise true that the need to communicate with someone of a different language or culture may arise at any time, so knowing more than one language prepares you to know how, when, and why to say what to whom.  Further, research has found that language study enhances cognitive ability overall while helping people to develop intercultural understanding and interpersonal empathy.  Studies have also shown that people with intermediate language proficiency enjoy increased earning potential over the course of their professional life as jobs in all sectors have a growing need for employees with skills in languages other than English.  Beyond that, learning a language can be great fun, a wonderful way to meet others, and a key to unforgettable adventures in places around the world—whether through personal or professional travel or by participating in any of the dozens of study abroad opportunities facilitated by UNCG’s outstanding International Programs Center.

THE LANGUAGE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC

In preparation for studying a language at UNCG, it is important to know which course is your best starting point for that process.  To that end, if you plan to take a language that you have NEVER studied before, it couldn’t be easier:  just enroll in a 101-level class!  If you plan to continue a language that you have ALREADY studied, be sure to take the appropriate placement diagnostic before registering for classes so we know the correct level to place you in.

The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Culture uses WebCape 2.0. This diagnostic is fully online, takes 15-30 minutes to complete, and is used for placement purposes by universities around the US to assess level based on reading skills and knowledge of grammatical structures, vocabulary, and culture.  It does NOT include a listening or speaking component, and because it is purely multiple choice, it does not evaluate writing skills.  Nevertheless, when completed as intended—i.e., without recourse to external assistance of any kind (dictionaries, online translators, other people, etc.)—, the results provide a reliable indicator of where students should resume their language study in UNCG’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

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FRENCH, GERMAN, SPANISH

If you have PREVIOUSLY studied French, German, or Spanish, and you plan to CONTINUE studying that languageat UNCG, be sure to take the corresponding placement diagnostic before registering for classes so we know the correct level to place you in.  At the end of the evaluation, a score screen will appear.  This score will be used by your SOAR registration advisor to identify your entry-point into the language and help you find the class that best fits into your fall schedule.  We also advise you to take a screenshot of the score screen to retain for your records.

CHINESE, RUSSIAN

For students who have ALREADY studied Chinese or Russian and wish to continue the language at UNCG, you may complete the corresponding WebCape diagnostic.  Please note that accurate placement for these languages will usually require a follow-up review by a qualified LLC faculty member.

LATIN, ANCIENT GREEK

The Classical Studies Department’s  Latin Placement exam can be found here. Keep in mind that Classical Studies also teaches Introductory & Ancient Greek. You don’t need any background to sign up for GRK 201! If you have had Greek before and wonder about placement, email Dr. Shelmerdine (shelmerd@uncg.edu).

OTHER LANGUAGES

Placement in an LLC language that does not have a corresponding WebCape diagnostic—i.e., American Sign Language, Arabic, Japanese, or Korean—can only be determined in consultation with a qualified member of LLC’s award-winning faculty.  Please contact the LLC Department for further instructions:

HERITAGE and NATIVE SPEAKERS

Heritage and native speakers of any of the languages that we offer will need to consult with a qualified faculty member to determine the courses most suitable for their needs and interests.[*]

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Link to WebCape 2.0:   https://webcape.truenorthtest.com/link/8c0b864071

DIRECTIONS

After clicking on the link, you will need to set up an account using your new UNCG student ID number, an email address (we recommend using your UNCG email address if it’s active), and a password of your choosing.  Select the languageyou plan to study, complete the pre-test survey, then begin the test.  At the end, you will see a score screen: take a screenshot and keep this for your personal records (we also recommend having the screenshot to share at your SOAR registration session).  The score you receive will be recorded in the WebCape database, to which your SOAR advisor will have access at the time of registration.  (NOTE: Scores are valid for one (1) year from the date that the diagnostic is completed; students may take the placement indicator only one (1) time within a six-month period, so again, do the best you can!)

Your advisor will be able to tell you which level you place into and help you find a seat in a class that works within your fall schedule.  If your score qualifies you for the “interview stage”, you will need to follow-up with LLC department associate, Danielle Fiore (dlfiore@uncg.edu), who will help to put you in contact with a qualified member of the LLC faculty who will interview you in the language for which you tested.  That faculty member will determine whether or not your proficiency qualifies you as “meeting” the College of Arts and Sciences’ “Additional Language” requirement (the equivalent of successfully completing the second-semester, intermediate level of the language) and will offer you advice on the most suitable course options, should you be interested in continuing to study your language.

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SPECIAL NOTE 1: Above all, give the diagnostic your very best effort!  If your performance qualifies you to resume your language study beyond the 101 (first semester beginning) level, that achievement may not only save you money on your college education, but it may also open up more opportunities for you in the future.  These opportunities include the chance to:

  • start and complete a major or minor in your language at an earlier time;
  • dedicate more time to taking courses in your major;
  • pursue other academic interests as a second major, a minor, or some combination of additional majors and minors;
  • study abroad in a country where your studied language is used earlier in your college career;
  • participate in clubs and student group opportunities involving your language of study;
  • participate in the UNCG Global Leadership Program and Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement-organized experiences that serve peoples in our community whose primary language is the one you studied.

SPECIAL NOTE 2: Whichever level you place into, it is important to resume your language study as soon as possibleduring your UNCG career.  Time away erodes language proficiency.

SPECIAL NOTE 3: If you like learning languages and discovering other cultures, consider residing in the Global Village Living Learning Community during your first year on campus. This is a great place to receive one-on-one interactions with native speakers and learning facilitators of all the languages offered at UNCG as well as to participate in the many cross-cultural opportunities provided to residents of the Village every semester.

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For further information on the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, please visit our website at https://llc.uncg.edu/

Again, CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes!

Dr. Roberto E. Campo

Professor of French and Head, UNCG Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Dr. Maura Heyn

Professor, Department Head (Roman art & archaeology), Classical Studies

 

[*] Heritage and native speakers of Spanish are strongly encouraged to take the Spanish placement test.  Even students who are already fluent in Spanish will benefit from further language study.  Our program offers a series of specialized Spanish courses for speakers who grew up speaking Spanish at home or in their community.  These courses provide students with the opportunity to fine-tune their language skills, review grammar, expand cultural knowledge, and connect with local Spanish-speaking communities through service-learning.   For more information, please visit: https://llc.uncg.edu/spanish/spanish-heritage-language-program/.