Lisa Signori, Chair
About the Department
As the second-most frequently taught foreign language in the world after English, French is clearly a global language. French cultural, economic, and diplomatic influence is felt not only in the United States, where over 1.9 million speak the language at home, but in many parts of the world. French is the foreign language spoken by our largest trading partner (Canada), and is also the language of more than 300 million native and secondary speakers in 44 Francophone countries, and the only language other than English spoken in five continents. The study of the French language, literature, culture and history is an essential element in the understanding of the meaning of Western civilization, and the appreciation of the Francophone world and heritage.
Italy is the country that gave the world Dante and Michelangelo, Machiavelli and Puccini, Fellini and Sofia Loren, Prada and Ferrari. Like French, not only is knowledge of this realm essential for developing a comprehensive understanding of Western cultural evolution, it’s also an important grounding for careers in design, politics, entertainment, religion and international business, as well as a broad range of academic pursuits.