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Modern Languages & Literatures

MLL Class

Department Overview

At Swarthmore, students learn to understand, speak, think, and dream in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Russian. The study of literatures, languages and cultures broadens and intensifies the perspectives from which we view our own culture and gives us a greater understanding of our increasingly interconnected world.

With faculty representing almost 20 countries and speaking at least a dozen languages, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL) creates a tangible plurilingual and multicultural environment. The faculty of the department believe that the development of culturally nuanced communications competencies is the best way to prepare students to become engaged global citizens.

Tips and Tricks for Learning a Foreign Language

Learn more about studying a foreign language at Swarthmore College by checking this helpful guide.

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Courses Taught in English

Explore a language or culture beyond what you've already experienced, consider taking a literature or culture courses taught in English.

Additional courses offered

Comparative Literature

Swarthmore's Comparative Literature Program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature, using different languages to study works from distinct eras. The study of comparative literature is perfect for students who love literature, have a strong background in foreign languages, and are interested in interdisciplinary study.

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Alumni Reflections

Learn more about our department through the experiences and insights of our alumni.


Honors Program

For nearly 100 years, the Honors Program has embodied Swarthmore's commitment to dedicated learning and the life of the mind.

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Study Abroad

Swarthmore College strongly encourages its students to spend a semester or year studying abroad as an important part of their degree programs.

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Best Practices for Language Learning

Short video outlining best practices for studying and learning a new language. 

Choose a Language Program

Language Study in the Age of Globalization

This brochure by the Modern Language Association is directed primarily to college students. It​ explains how knowing other languages enriches students’ personal lives, expands their range of professional opportunities, and increases their power to act as citizens of the world.


Language Media Lab

The Language Media Lab provides resources to enhance the study of foreign language, literature, and culture at Swarthmore College. Students have access to audio/video materials required for foreign language classes. The lab's resources include 12 Macbook Pros, 8 iMacs, an extensive library of foreign films, video cameras, and audio recorders. The space is a unique, adaptable, multimedia-friendly place to study, practice and develop language skills. 

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