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Languages and Cultures

When asked his advice on preparing young people for international careers, the Honorable Samuel L. Kaplan, former Ambassador to Morocco, responded: "That's easy! Study foreign languages.
The more, the better."

The study of another language is an adventure, an exploration into the workings of minds both like and unlike our own. When we learn a new language, we learn to see differently -- we acquire a new perspective from which to view both ourselves and the world.

Department News & Events

September 2016      French Studies Announces Tournées Film Festival

The French Studies Program has received a grant from The Franco-American Cultural Fund which will allow public viewings of several French films as part of the Tournées Film Festival on the CSB/SJU campuses. The films will be shown with English subtitles throughout the semester and are open to everyone. The festival is sponsored by Languages & Cultures  in collaboration with Film Studies, the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, Peace Studies, Gender Studies and the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civil Engagement. For the full schedule of films, see the French Studies webpage here.

August 2016      SJU Convocation Speech Given by Scott Richardson

Languages and Cultures' own, Scott Richardson, delivered the convocation speech to the student body, faculty and staff at this year's ceremony on August 29 in Saint John's Abbey Church. You can listen to Scott's speech here.

August 2016     Book by Scott Richardson Nominated for Award

Prof. Scott Richardson's new book, Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles: The Enigma of Francis Crawford, has been nominated for the Warren-Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism. The Warren-Brooks Award was established to honor the innovative, critical interpretation of literature offered by Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks and to celebrate the continuation of such achievement. Read more here...

August 2016     SJU Student Receives Mondale Scholarship to Japan

Christian Grande

SJU junior, Christian Grande, has been chosen by The Japan America Society of Minnesota as one of the recipients of the Mondale Scholarship. The award is to be used specifically for travel to or within Japan during the student's college term as a way to broaden knowledge of Japan through a combination of study and travel. In a letter to Prof. Jeff Dubois who encouraged him to apply, Christian wrote, "When I get to Japan, I hope to honor your support by working hard and by learning as much as I can about Japan so that I can bring it back to the US!" Christian is a psychology major and Japanese minor. Congratulations, Christian and Jeff!

June 2016     German Alum Named Teacher of the Year

Saint John's University graduate Matt Beck has been named Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German.

Beck teaches German at Saint John's Preparatory School (Prep) in Collegeville, MN, and leads Prep's German camp, summer program and German Club. He teaches German 1 through 4, German for international baccalaureate students, and sixth-grade exploratory German. Read more here...

June 2016     Scott Richardson Releases Book

Classics professor, Scott Richardson, has had a new book published on one of his favorite subjects, titled Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles: The Enigma of Francis Crawford. This is the first book-length literary analysis of Scottish novelist Dorothy Dunnett (1923-2001), who developed a strong cult following as she wrote 15 historical novels and 7 contemporary spy novels.  This book is an endeavor to come to grips with the fascinating and problematic hero of Dunnett's first series, the six-volume Lymond Chronicles, and also to help define the nature of the author's game-playing narrative.  Whereas articles and discussions of Dunnett tend to focus on her as a historical novelist, this book takes a broader view and looks at the characters and the narrative strategy in terms of psychology, myth, spy fiction, and games. Kudos, Scott!

June 2016     Omrit Archeological Study Abroad Group on the CSB/SJU Carousel

Jason Schlude, Asst. Prof. of Classics, and his students who participated in the 2015 Omrit archeological dig in Israel were featured on the CSB/SJU website. Prof. Schlude was recently in Israel for the 2016 program with a new group of students. Learn more here.

May 2016     Chuck Villette Retires

The Department of Languages and Cultures and the French Studies Program bid a fond adieu to Chuck Villette, Assc. Prof. of French, who has retired after teaching since the late 1970s and serving as academic dean and vice president at CSB/SJU. During the May 2016 Faculty Awards Ceremony at CSB, he was honored as professor alumna, with special commendation for his many contributions in academic leadership. Felicitations, Chuck!

May 2016      Robert L. Spaeth Teacher of Distinction Award

Congratulations to Scott Richardson, Ph.D., Professor of Classics, for receiving the Robert L. Spaeth Teacher of Distinction Award, presented on May 2. This award is named in honor of Spaeth, who served as dean at SJU for nine years in addition to service as a professor of liberal studies from 1979 until his death in 1994. Each year, Spaeth's commitment to excellent teaching is remembered by honoring an SJU faculty member who brings a special passion and mastery to the classroom and the learning community.

Photos by Lucy Dornbach '19

News and Events Archive

Overview of Program

Courses in the Languages and Cultures Department:

  • Include instruction in French, German, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Japanese, and English as a Second Language.
  • Fulfill one of the requirements for a liberal arts degree
  • Are easily combined with other majors and minors

Common Curriculum Learning Goals

Precise requirements as relates to languages differ by area. Click here for an overview.

Meet one of our alums

Elizabeth Baden '12 (French and Peace Studies) was in Indonesia during the 2014-2015 academic year for the Fulbright. Lizzy's experience was featured in the latest issue of the College of Saint Benedict Magazine. Check it out here.

More alum profiles


Check out Jeff DuBois' Japan blog!

Omrit Archeological Field School in Israel -- Follow our students' blog.

Who is the "Man of Many Languages"?

Brain research shows the benefits of being multilingual.

Which language is most in demand by global development recruiters? Hint: It's not Spanish.

Related Links