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Language Requirements

Pingry offers courses of study in Chinese, French, German, Latin, and Spanish. In order to satisfy our graduation requirement in the Upper School, students must complete three consecutive years of study in one of these five languages. A student may take more than one language at a time.

Modern Language

Pingry’s modern world language classes emphasize both oral and written communication, focusing on competence in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and cultural awareness. Upon completion of four years in our program, Pingry students will be able to engage in spoken and written discourse in their language of study, and they will have an in-depth, layered understanding of the culture(s) of origin. Our hope is that this cultural competence will lead to open minds, embracing perspectives which differ from their own.

First- through Third-Year Modern Language

Modern Language 1: Chinese 1 (#19901); French 1 (#19714); German 1 (#19724); Spanish 1 (#19644)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-V.

The first-year language experience is designed to enable students to express basic thoughts and ideas in the target language, correctly and comprehensibly, on a wide variety of practical topics. From the beginning of our courses, students will learn to speak, listen, read, and write, and will begin to develop an understanding and appreciation of the target culture.

Class materials are so designed that the student must function in the foreign language in a real-life, meaningful way. The materials used reflect the everyday culture of the countries where the language is spoken, as well as their historical origins, helping students develop an open-minded, positive attitude toward other cultures.

Modern Language 2: Chinese 2 (#19902); French 2 (#19314); German 2 (#19324); Spanish 2 (#19344)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-VI. Prerequisite: First year of a foreign language.

The second-year language experience reinforces skills that were introduced at the first-year level, develops them to a higher degree, and continues to present grammatical structures and tenses. Classes are conducted — and the student is encouraged to think, speak, and write more consistently — in the target language. Daily oral practice, including group activities, games, and student-inspired dialogues, provides an opportunity to perfect pronunciation and intonation, while developing the ability to express ideas in the target language. The presentation of vocabulary through pictures and other visual aids and the use of paradigms to illustrate how the grammar functions establish structures which students will use at the second-year level. Students read for understanding and appreciation while also building vocabulary and grammar skills.

Modern Language 3: Chinese 3 (#19905); French 3 (#19414); German 3 (#19424); Spanish 3 (#19444)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-VI . Prerequisite: Second year of a foreign language.

The third year of study continues to build on the basic oral and written skills that the student has built over their previous years of language study. In addition to a review of all the grammar covered in the first two years, students learn more idiomatic forms of expression, more sophisticated vocabulary, and more advanced grammatical structures, which they will need to apply in oral and written expression of ideas. Complex written tasks will be assigned, which will reinforce proper grammatical form. Students’ oral performance in class is extremely important at this stage, from daily participation to oral presentations. The student also begins the transition to the reading of authentic literature in the target language.

Fourth-Year Modern Language

Modern Language 4: French 4 (#19514); Spanish 4 (#19545)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI. Prerequisite: Third year of a foreign language.

This course is designed to improve the students’ oral and written skills. The students are expected to use the target language in all forms of communication. Literature, culture, and film play important roles in the students’ language development and as a means for cultural and historical understanding. Students will also demonstrate their mastery through projects, oral reports, and extended writing tasks. Review and expansion of grammar is closely tied to all activities.

Modern Language 4 HONORS: Chinese 4 HONORS (#19906); French 4 HONORS (#19515); German 4 HONORS (#19524); Spanish 4 HONORS (#19546)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI. Prerequisite for Spanish 4 Honors/French 4 Honors.: Level 3 of the language with an A- average or higher; Prerequisite for Chinese 4 Honors/German 4 Honors: Successful completion of Level 3 and teacher's recommendation

The honors-level fourth-year course is conducted exclusively in the target language. The program includes nuanced grammar instruction and the building of vocabulary through a variety of texts and media, which will lead to a stronger command of the language and a deeper understanding of the target culture(s). Students will be expected to express complex thoughts, in oral and written form, on subjects of contemporary, literary, and/or personal interest.

The Advanced Topics Sequence for French and German

Advanced Topics 1: French #19620; German #19630

Forms IV-VI, Prerequisite: Honors fourth year language course with an A- average or higher.

While this course completes the formal study of grammar, idiomatic usage, and stylistic conventions in expository writing, its main focus is exposing the students to two of the following six thematic areas: Beauty and Aesthetics, Contemporary Life, Families and Communities, Global Challenges, Personal and Public Identities, and Science and Technology. The two themes will be undergirded by literary works, current events articles, websites, realia from the target culture, films, and various other sources. Students will be expected to participate in teacher-directed activities as well as pursue their own interests and engage in their own research in order to communicate in the target language about these themes using interpersonal and presentational modes of expression.

Advanced Topics 2: French #19621; German #19631

Forms IV-VI, Prerequisite: Advanced Topics I language course with an A- average or higher.

This course will seek to refine and deepen the students’ skills in idiomatic usage, grammar, and style in both oral and written communication. It will continue and complete the study of the remaining four thematic areas that were started in Advanced Topics I: Beauty and Aesthetics, Contemporary Life, Families and Communities, Global Challenges, Personal and Public Identities, and Science and Technology. The students will further develop their skills in the interpersonal and presentational modes of expression in the target language. Students who continue the language in college can expect to take courses at the advanced level.

Students in Advanced Topics 2 are prepared for and may choose to take the Advanced Placement exam.

Fifth-Year Modern Language

A.P. Modern Language 5: A.P. Chinese 5 (#19907); A.P. Spanish 5 Language (#19647)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI. Prerequisites: Chinese 4 Honors with an A- average or higher, Spanish 4 Honors with an A- average or higher.

The fifth-year A.P. modern language course broadens the skills developed in the fourth-year course; it is intended for those who have chosen to develop their proficiency in the target language. Emphasis is on the use of the language for active communication: ability to understand the spoken language, development of vocabulary sufficient to read newspapers, magazines, etc., ability to express oneself accurately both orally and in writing. These are intensive training courses to develop language skills as close to native proficiency as possible. The role of literature as fertile ground for enhancing the student’s overall mastery of grammar, vocabulary, and idiomatic usage is actively recognized. Students will be required to take the A.P. language exam.

Chinese 5 (#19910)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: Chinese 4 or teacher’s recommendation.

In this course, students will enhance their ability to communicate in Chinese in various social and educational settings, which they encounter in America and are similar to those their counterparts experience in China. The topics and settings are drawn from real life experiences of students who have lived and studied in China. A variety of tasks are designed to help students master the key vocabulary and grammatical structures for effective communication. The goal of this course is to enable students to understand and also describe in the target language the challenges of daily life in Chinese-speaking countries.

French 5 (#19618)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: French 4.

In this course, students will hone their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills as they learn about French and Francophone history, art, and literature. By the end of this course, students will possess stronger linguistic skills and a much deeper understanding of how the French language and French-speaking people came to be as they are today, as well as the many French influences on our own culture.

Spanish 5 (#19646)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: Spanish 4.

This course promotes self-expression in Spanish, both oral and written. The grammar will be reviewed within the framework of the different readings and vocabulary topics. The students will research daily current events, discuss them orally, and provide a written summary in Spanish. They will also be exposed to an overview of the major artistic and literary movements in the world and read pertinent short stories from Hispanic literature.

Sixth- and Seventh-Year Modern Language

Chinese 6 HONORS (#19908)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: A.P. Chinese 5 or teacher’s recommendation.

This course will focus on developing the students’ interpretive and presentational modes of expression by discussing and writing about exciting contemporary social issues in China, such as the population, housing, education, employment, and family relationships. The curriculum uses materials which are drawn from current newspapers, magazine articles, TV programs, films, and modern literature. The students are expected to compare these issues with those in other countries and engage in performances that reflect their research about the topics. In this way, this course refines and deepens the students’ oral and written skills in idiomatic usage, grammar, and style.

French 6 HONORS (#19517)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: French V; recommendation by the teacher.

This course focuses on specific literary topics. Great works of writers during significant literary movements and eras are studied. The role of language, replete with nuances, more sophisticated language forms, and stylistic considerations, is closely analyzed to enable the student to write major papers in the language using the appropriate expository conventions.

Spanish 6 HONORS Literature (#19648)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: A.P. Spanish 5 Language and teacher’s recommendation.

In this course, literary movements, genres, authors, and literary criticism are covered in depth. Selected pieces by Lorca, Matute, Paz, García Márquez, Neruda, and Borges are read. As time permits, other works in Spanish literature may be added. Students also compose original poems and short stories. Students who wish to take the A.P. exam in Spanish Literature should consult with their instructor.

Spanish 6 Language (#19649)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: Spanish 5.

This course is a continuation of Spanish 5. Major authors in Spanish literature will be presented. The students will read poems, essays, short stories, and fragments of major works such as novels and plays. Enhancing the students’ reading comprehension and writing skills is another major focus. Students will be required to write their own original stories and deliver oral presentations. Assessments will also require the students to understand and explicate literary pieces — poetry and other short reading passages — to which they have not been exposed in class.

Chinese 7 ADVANCED (#19909)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: Honors Chinese 6 or teacher’s recommendation.

This course is a continuation of Chinese 6. Students will discuss and conduct in-depth research on the topics related to China’s social transformation since the implementation of the Open Door Policy. The topics include “Economic Development,” “Individual Investments,” “Urban Commercial Consumption,” and “The Policy of Family Planning for Population Control.” Students will also explore the impact of the fast-growing economy on the environment and on the cultural and ideological changes in contemporary China. Oral discussion in Chinese is an important component of the course. The curriculum will enhance their linguistic skills, as well as provide opportunities to engage in critical thinking.

SPANISH 7 ADVANCED Literature & Composition (#19800)

Major year course. 3 credits. Form VI. Prerequisites: Honors Spanish 6 Literature and teacher’s recommendation.

This rigorous course will span literature from the medieval period to the 19th and 20th centuries up to the modern period, covering works such as El Cid to authors such as Gabriel García Márquez. Major compositions involve overall study of the various authors and their styles.

Special Language Offering - Does not fulfill any language graduation requirement

Introduction to the Arabic Language & Middle Eastern Culture (#19920)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. No prerequisites. This course elective does not count as part of the three-year world language course sequence required for graduation.

This course is designed to give students an introduction to the Arabic language and the cultures of the Middle Eastern region. Students will learn how to read and write Modern Standard Arabic at an elementary level and be able to communicate about everyday situations in the Levantine dialect of Arabic (spoken in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria). Emphasis will be placed on students’ oral and listening skills in Arabic. This course will also provide a window into daily life in the Middle East. Topics may include the social, religious, historical, political, and artistic facets of the region’s unique cultures. Students will research cultural topics and present their findings to the class and will be provided with opportunities for direct contact with native Arabic speakers, as well as individuals with knowledge of various aspects of Middle Eastern culture.

Classical Language

Latin is the gateway to the cultural, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual life of the Romans, whose culture, along with the Greek and Judeo-Christian traditions, is at the root of Western civilization, its influences appearing in our language, history, law, literature, government, philosophy, architecture, and art. The study of Latin keeps our intellectual and cultural heritage alive, affords students an opportunity to explore Roman culture, and gives them a solid linguistic base for the study of modern languages as well as a real understanding of the vocabulary of educated English. At Pingry we teach comprehension of the Latin language through a historical novel which traces a Roman family throughout the Roman world during the first century CE, and then move on to ancient texts in fourth year and Advanced Topics. The combination is designed to develop the students' understanding of the cultural and political history of the Roman people, which is the cultural and political history of modern western Europe.

Latin Courses

Latin 1 (#19734)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-V.

Students learn vocabulary, grammar, and syntax by translating stories about the historical banker Caecilius Iucundus, set in Pompeii in the year before its destruction. The story then moves on to Roman Britain. Through these Latin readings and background information in English, students progress through gradually more difficult Latin grammar and syntax. At the same time, they encounter basic information about the social, political, and historical background of the Roman Empire.

Latin 2 (#19334)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-VI. Prerequisite: Latin 1 or Pingry Middle School Latin.

This course, which builds on previously established foundations, reviews and integrates items already met while introducing new vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. The historical novel continues, covering such themes as the history, science, medicine, and religion of Alexandria, Egypt, and Roman Britain.

Latin 3 (#19434)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-VI. Prerequisite: Latin 2.

By the end of Latin 3 our students will have met most of the main grammatical points of Latin. The characters first encountered in Latin 1 continue from Roman Britain to Imperial Rome. The topography and history of ancient Rome, struggles for power, and contrasts between rich and poor are some of the cultural topics covered.

Latin 4 (#19534)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI. Prerequisite: Latin 3.

The readings in the Cambridge Latin Course Unit 4 bring to a close the historical novel that began in Latin 1 and round out the student’s knowledge of Latin grammar in preparation for reading Roman authors in the original. The remainder of the term is spent on the authors Catullus, Martial, Ovid, Pliny, Vergil, and Petronius.

Latin 5 (#19535)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisite: Latin 4.

This is an advanced course covering a broad range of Latin literature. Within limits, the literature read will be tailored to the interests and abilities of the class. Catullus, Cicero, Plautus, Petronius, Horace, Julius Caesar, Vergil, and Ovid all may be read, as well as any other writer in whom the students may have a special interest or who may be appropriate given the current events of the year. All works are read in Latin with attention to style (especially as it relates to intent), historical and cultural context, and the use of rhetorical devices.

Advanced Topics 1: Latin (#19632)

Forms IV-VI, Prerequisite: Latin IV

Advanced Topics 1: Latin puts the finishing touches on the formal study of grammar, idiomatic usage, and stylistic conventions found in Latin literature of the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E. and continues to develop and refine the student’s ability to read Latin literature at sight. The core texts are Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War and Vergil’s Aeneid along with other literature which will deepen the student’s understanding of these works. The seven thematic areas (literary genre and style, Roman values, war and empire, leadership, views of non-Romans, history and memory, and human beings and the gods) are discussed as appropriate within the context of the work being studied. Students will participate in teacher-directed activities as well as developing expertise in areas reflecting their own interests. In addition to the core texts themselves, students will study current research on various aspects of Roman history and literature as they apply to the texts.

Advanced Topics 1: Latin is the first course in a two-course sequence which prepares the student to take the Latin A.P. exam.

Advanced Topics 2: Latin (#19633)

Forms IV-VI, Prerequisite: Advanced Topics 1 - Latin

Advanced Topics 2: Latin refines and deepens the skills developed in Advanced Topics 1. The seven thematic areas (literary genre and style, Roman values, war and empire, leadership, views of non-Romans, history and memory, and human beings and the gods) continue to be discussed as appropriate within the context of the work being studied. The core texts are Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War and Vergil’s Aeneid along with other literature which will deepen the student’s understanding of these works. Students will participate in teacher-directed activities as well as developing expertise in areas reflecting their own interests. In addition to the core texts themselves, students will study current research on various aspects of Roman history and literature as they apply to the texts.

Students who are successful in this course will be prepared to take the A.P. Latin Literature examination in May. Those who continue with the language in college can expect to place at the advanced level.