Why Study Languages?

Welcome to the homepage of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.  We are pleased to provide information to you about our department and programs.  

University of St. Thomas students, from all undergraduate disciplines, study foreign languages as part of the core curriculum.  The university requires the equivalent of the first three semesters of one foreign language to fulfill the Language and Culture core..  Many students continue their language training because they may want to study or work abroad, to read great works of literature, religion, philosophy, or to communicate with neighbors, relatives or friends of many of the world’s cultures.  Others simply enjoy studying languages, or the great diversity of cultures and people they represent.

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages offers classes with excellent instruction so that students can become proficient in their language abilities and become culturally aware.  Both full-time and part-time faculty members are dedicated to creating high-quality, student-centered learning environments.  

As we study languages we realize that each language is an arbitrary system through which an individual culture perceives the world.  If we lock ourselves within a single language we know only one way of experiencing reality.  To know two languages is to have two ways of looking at the world.  Every language “slices up” the world differently, and knowing only one keeps us from discovering any of the endless other ways to deal with daily life.  Knowing languages which are no longer spoken gives us the opportunity to see how the world was perceived in other times as well as in other places. 

If we want to successfully communicate with diverse people, then we have to know them and their cultures, understand the assumptions and perceptions that we each bring to the encounter, and have a true appreciation and knowledge of one another’s languages.

Again, welcome to the Department of Modern Classical Languages and feel free to contact us with any questions at mcl@stthomas.edu


Derrin Pinto, Ph.D.

Chair and Associate Professor of Spanish