During the current cycle, the Center for Global Studies will focus on three less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) of global importance – Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi. We have chosen these languages for their strategic connection to global studies research and for our ability to enhance these LCTLs through collaborative work with the Asian Studies and Comparative Literature departments.
Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken language with over one billion speakers. China is quickly becoming one of the most important markets in the world, and China’s expanding role in world geopolitics is unquestioned. A working knowledge of Chinese is an asset to students interested in careers in international business, government, NGOs, or education.
A major world language, modern Arabic includes Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), the international form that is widely taught and used for public and official communications, and the colloquial or spoken Arabic of African countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.
Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world (according to ethnologue.com) and the official language of India. India plays a major role in South Asia; learning Hindi opens up opportunities for students looking to do business, non-profit work, or careers with political organizations. Hindi is one of the 13 critical needs languages identified by the U.S. Department of State.
Penn State currently offers three semesters of Hindi language instruction with a fourth semester available based on student interest. Each course attracts 10 – 20 students with non-Hindi speaking heritage students making up approximately 50% of the class.
The recently-developed Hindi 110 (fourth semester) will be offered for the first time in Spring 2016.