The East Asian Languages and Cultures department at Connecticut College offers you a unique opportunity to study and immerse yourself in East Asia and to become the kind of educated, global citizen on which our interconnected world depends. Through the study of Chinese or Japanese language and culture, you will develop a more balanced world view, and ultimately, will find a much broader range of potential career paths opened up to you.
Learn more from our major fact sheet about East Asian Studies.
And let us answer some questions about learning East Asian languages:
What is it like to learn Chinese?
Chinese has a relatively uncomplicated grammar. Unlike French, German or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation (i.e., tense inflection) and no noun declension (e.g., gender and number distinctions). For example, while you have to memorize different verb forms of “see/saw/seen” in English, all you need to do in Chinese is just to remember one word: "kan."
While you have to distinguish between "cat" and "cats" in English, in Chinese there is only one form: "mao." Also, the basic word order of Chinese is "SVO" (subject + verb + object), which is exactly like that of English.
Finally, remember these two facts: currently Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world, about one fifth of the global population; each year more and more non-Chinese native born students around the world are studying Chinese with enthusiasm. If they all can learn it, so can you!
What is it like to study Japanese?
Japanese has a simple, accurate grammatical system that is completely systematized. There is also no definitive or indefinite article. Did you know that Japanese is full of borrowed, transliterated vocabulary that makes mastery of sophisticated word fairly easy? The following are some examples, koohii (coffee), aisukuriimu (ice cream), konpyuutaa (computer), iimeeru (e-mail), Amerika (America), rooraa bureedo (roller blades), intaanetto kafe (internet café), Happii baasudee (Happy Birthday), and so on. Finally, Japanese pronunciation is not difficult. It has only FIVE vowels and fewer consonants than many other languages.
How long before I'm speaking Japanese or Chinese?
According to the Foreign Service Institute, achieving proficiency in Chinese and Japanese requires significantly more time for English-speaking learners than it does in the Romance languages such as French, German, Italian and Spanish. So if you undertake the study of either language at Connecticut College, you should expect to invest substantial energy and effort into this endeavor.
What are the rewards of the study of Japanese or Chinese?
Dedicated students will find their hard work and perseverance amply rewarded. If you complete the intensive four-year sequence in either Chinese or Japanese, work closely with EALC's dedicated language teachers, and take advantage of study abroad opportunities, you will be well prepared to put your language skills into use in the "real" world beyond Connecticut College.
Many students who participate in our program are selected for internships in China or Japan. Furthermore, while facing a fast changing contemporary world and highly competitive job market today, as an EALC graduate with proficiency in Chinese or Japanese, you will find open doors to many challenging and exciting career opportunities and be uniquely well-positioned for jobs in government, international relations, business, finance, tourism, entertainment, human rights, international law, translation, teaching and much, much more.