Alternative to Foreign Language Requirement
A "language-learning disability" is a term used to cover a considerable variety of cognitive differences that make learning a language, especially a foreign language (or certain aspects of a foreign language), extremely difficult. Language-learning disabilities do not invariably carry over from the native language to a foreign one, but many of them do.
Students with documented language disabilities need to meet with the Dean of Students Office for consultation regarding previous diagnosis of learning disabilities. Students who have not been previously diagnosed and who have reason to suspect they may have a language-learning disability are encouraged to meet with the Disability Services Office to determine appropriate action.
When the diagnosis of the learning disability warrants it, students are offered some alternatives to complete Occidental's language requirement. The language requirement at Oxy has several objectives. Through language study, students develop not only language abilities, but also intercultural skills and perspectives that will assist them to become productive citizens of the world. The rationale behind the choice of alternative courses is to provide the student with at least some of the same educational breadth that students gain through language study.
Since the language requirement is the attainment of proficiency equivalent to that acquired in two college-level courses, the alternative is also set at two courses, which work toward the same ends. If one beginning language course already has been completed with a grade of D or better, it will be counted towards the requirement.
It is recommended that students whose language-learning disability involves solely listening and speaking should take Latin or Ancient Greek, both of which are regularly offered at Oxy. Those with more general language-learning disabilities should take literature and culture courses offered in translation in the language departments, such as
Arabic 275: Perspectives from the Arab World
Chinese 272: The Rise of the Martial Arts Novel
Chinese 273: Contemporary Chinese Writers in Exile
Chinese 274: Ghost and Love Stories
German 273: The Culture of Weimar
German 320: Probing the Limits of Representation: The Holocaust
German 370: Seminar on a Selected Topic
Japanese 271: Fiction in Japanese Literature and Film
Japanese 273: Women's Travel Diaries and Pre-Modern Society
Russian 274: War and Peace
Russian 278: Soviet Dissident Culture
Russian 282: The Supernatural in Slavic Literature
Russian 284: Madness and Murder
Students might also take non-Anglophone literature and culture courses offered in other departments. Since the roster of such courses changes from year to year, students should consult with one of the language department chairs in order to determine which courses are appropriate.
Once a student has worked with the chair of one of the language departments to determine which courses will be acceptable alternatives, the Disability Services Team in the Dean of Students Office will write an accommodation letter and copy the Registrar on this approved substitution.
Last updated June 29, 2012
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