Multilingualism is the norm for a majority of the world’s population. Proficiency in a second or even third language is an invaluable life skill, and one in which graduates of US colleges and universities are too often deficient. The University of Pittsburgh’s Less-Commonly-Taught Languages (LCTL) Center, housed in the Department of Linguistics, exists to broaden the range of options in foreign language study for Pitt students by offering courses in over a dozen languages not traditionally offered by foreign language programs in the US. We currently offer instruction in American Sign Language, Amharic, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hungarian, Irish, Greek, Persian/Farsi, Quechua, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. In addition to mastering receptive skills like listening and reading, and productive skills like speaking and writing in a new language, you will gain access to a myriad of unique cultures, conventions, and worldviews through our classes. We invite you to open your mind to different ways of thinking and communicating, make new friends, and travel the world without leaving the Cathedral of Learning!
And if broadened horizons, fascinating friends, world travel, and greater self-knowledge aren’t cause enough, study of a less-commonly-taught language also has tangible cognitive and career benefits. Not only will you bring a unique skill to prospective employers, demonstrating dedication, curiosity, and open-mindedness, you will also potentially earn more. Research has demonstrated that bilingual employees earn 3-7% more than their monolingual peers (Christofides and Swidinsky 2010). It is also becoming more and more apparent that study of a second, third, or even seventh language has far reaching cognitive benefits: “Regular physical activity and a healthy diet are important factors in maintaining physical health. In the same way, the learning of languages and their regular use provide essential mental exercise, leading to a better brain health and an increase in ‘cognitive reserve’ resulting in a later onset of dementia and an improved cognitive outcome after a stroke” (Mehmedbegovic and Bak, Healthy Linguistic Diet).
We offer minors or certificates in most LCTL Center languages, and many scholarships and awards are available to facilitate your language study, including FLAS Fellowships, Boren Awards, CLS Scholarships, Fulbright Awards, and Nationality Room Scholarships. Study of LCTL Center languages can also fulfill requirements for other Pitt credentials like UCIS Certificates. In some of our language programs you may have the chance to travel abroad with your Pitt instructor. In other programs, various Study Abroad opportunities exist that will allow you to immerse yourself in another language and culture for the summer, the semester, or, even better, for a full academic year.
Join us in the LCTL Center and connect with the world, rediscover your heritage, change the course of your life forever, or just try something new!