Since High School is the time to consider adding a new language to your program, we are giving you brief descriptions of the different languages we offer to assist you.
Students must see the department chair when beginning language classes. After that, placement in sections is done by the department until the students reach elective levels. You must begin your course registration by signing up for language first. Many of the courses have only one section.
Latin: “To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original, is a sublime luxury, and it is an innocent enjoyment... I thank on my knees him who directed my early education, for having put into my possession this rich source of delight; and I would not exchange it for anything which I could then have acquired, and have not since acquired.” (Thomas Jefferson - Letter to Priestley, Jan. 27, 1800)
The study of Latin presents an enriching opportunity to engage with the language, literature, history, philosophy, art, government, and religion of the Roman empire, and to explore its profound influence on our own civilization. Students discover that 65% of English words (and more than 90% of those over two syllables) come from Latin. By systematically grappling with Latin's precise and logical syntax, the students exercise and develop analytic thinking, bolstered by an acute attention to detail. The practice with close-reading that translating Latin texts provides helps students to build text-based arguments and understand how rhetoric may be employed in English as well as Latin. Translating Roman literature allows students to reach into the past and explore the culture of ancient Rome from the Romans’ own perspective, thereby gaining insight into their own cultural moment and how the present is shaped by the past.
French: French plays a role in world culture, literature, arts, history and science. As the second language of the United Nations and an official language of many countries, French is also an important language for diplomacy and commerce. Of the millions of people who speak French worldwide, fewer than half live in France. For this reason, our curriculum seeks to expose students to the diversity of the Francophone world. All four language skills - listening, reading, speaking and writing - are stressed, with a particular emphasis on oral communication and written production.
Spanish: Spain is an integral member of the European Union and U.S. relations with Latin America continue to gain greater importance. Spanish speakers are in high demand and the study of Spanish is becoming more desirable than ever. Mastering Spanish will open many doors, not only to foreign cultures, but also to many aspects of our own culture locally and nationally. Students of Spanish at Dalton have the unique opportunity to apply their knowledge on a daily basis through direct contact with a wide range of Hispanic people, and through their exposure to an ever-growing variety of music, theater, film, daily publications, and radio and TV in Spanish. In addition to the development of oral and writing skills, our students’ interaction with teachers from several Spanish-speaking countries, enriches their language experience. Technology and interactive multimedia play a significant role in our curriculum.
Chinese (Mandarin): Chinese claims more native speakers than any other language and China is considered one of the world’s superpowers. In the course of the next few decades, it seems inevitable that China will become more central to U.S. endeavors abroad, and the ability to speak Chinese will likewise become a valuable asset in many careers and fields. In addition, the Chinese language is the gateway to one of the world’s great cultures, whose customs, social structures and literature stretch back 5000 years. Chinese is special among Dalton’s language offerings for its use of characters rather than an alphabet to write and also for its tonal phonetics. These intriguing features make Mandarin quite different from European languages, and with that difference comes an extraordinary perspective. Successful students of Mandarin are savvy, effective “global citizens” who can engage authentically with Chinese cultures, both in New York City, and around the world.