Language at George School

Recognizing the increasing need for everyone to appreciate and understand cultures and ideologies different from their own, George School offers comprehensive language programs in Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish.

Our teachers are all native speakers or have a native-like command of the language they teach. As you progress through the levels (to level 5 and beyond, if desired), you will become proficient in speaking, listening, writing, and reading while developing respect for cultures as varied as ancient Rome and modern China.

Our Alumni

Sara Wolf ’99 received not only an education from George School, but also a new perspective on the world.

Language by the Numbers

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International trips to China, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and South Africa.

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Natively fluent faculty members, seven with advanced degrees.

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IB courses, four AP courses.

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Courses in Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish.

More to Explore

Summer Service Trips Provide Cultural Exploration

Students and faculty traveled to Arizona, China, Cuba, and Rwanda in June 2018 for service learning. The trips were opportunities for students to give back to communities and explore different cultures.

Language Courses

Chinese 1

This first year course in Mandarin Chinese teaches the mainland Chinese systems of Pinyin Romanization and simplified Chinese characters. Oral/aural communication and Chinese cultural context are emphasized. Reading and writing are introduced from the beginning of the course with a goal for mastery of 250 words by the end of the year. This course provides a solid foundation for listening, speaking, writing, and reading Chinese and cultivates a passion for the language through a highly interactive and dynamic cultural approach.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Chinese 2

This course begins with a review of key concepts and structures from Chinese 1. Oral/aural communication continues to be emphasized. Short reading selections and basic grammar are introduced. General conversation, reading, and writing will expand the Chinese character set to five hundred. This course promotes the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing through a dynamic cultural approach.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Chinese 3

This course begins with a review of key concepts and structures from Chinese 2 and expands upon these. It will continue to develop students’ language by introducing a variety of topics. More emphasis is placed on reading and writing exercises and students begin to apply language skills in more analytical and creative ways.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB Chinese 4

Building on the fundamentals established in earlier courses, students in this course become increasingly adept at expressing themselves in culturally appropriate ways in a wide variety of situations. The focus is on writing paragraphs, reading more extensive and involved passages than in earlier courses, refining inter-personal communication skills and broadening the student’s knowledge of contemporary Chinese culture and the historical context from which the culture has evolved. Videos, Chinese websites and other media are employed to reinforce the students’ language abilities. Juniors and seniors may, but
are not required to, sit for the IB Language B standard-level exam.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB Chinese 5

The goal of IB Chinese 5 is to take students to the next level in their proficiency. In Chinese 5, students will interact much more with authentic materials—both written and audio, from literature to culture—and be expected to be even more vocal, doing presentations, debates, and leading the class in discussions surrounding these materials and topics. In terms of producing Chinese, students will explore different and more sophisticated ways of expressing themselves and learn to use more advanced structures, particularly in their writing. Students will practice the process of writing short descriptive, reflective, and interpretive essays.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

French 1

Designed for students with little or no previous experience, this course introduces students to communication in French. Using an immersion method, students develop skills in speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Components include audio, video and grammar study along with short writing assignments. The class is conducted almost entirely in French.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

French 2

Students in this course continue with the immersion method. The course begins with a review of key contexts and structures from French 1 and continues to deepen students’ command of French language communication through study of video, audio and grammar components. This class is conducted almost entirely in French.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intensive French 2

Students in this course continue with the immersion method. The course begins with a rapid review of key contexts and structures from French 1 and continues to broaden students’ command of French language communication through study of video, audio and grammar components. Students begin to apply language skills in more analytical and creative ways and gain their first exposure to French literature through short selections. This class is conducted in French.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

French 3

This course focuses on transitioning from acquisition to application of language through the study of culture and literature. Following a review of key contexts and structures from French 2, the course continues to expand students’ knowledge and command of the language. Writing skills are further developed through short essays and weekly journal entries. Students study a selection of poems by Jacques Prévert. Students intending to continue on to IB French 4 will need to do independent reading and grammar work over the summer in addition to the French 4 summer reading assignments.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intensive French 3

This course focuses on transitioning from acquisition to application of language through the study of culture and literature. The course begins with a rapid review of key contexts and structures from Intensive French 2. Students extend their ability to use language skills in analytical and creative ways and also develop writing skills through short essays and weekly journal entries. Students study a selection of poems by Jacques Prévert and other short stories by other French authors. This course is a pre-IB course, preparing students for IB French 4.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB French 4

This IB course is designed for students whose interest is primarily in the contemporary French-speaking world. The class is conducted entirely in French and all students are fully expected to actively participate in class activities. Speaking and writing activities are based on cultural themes and contemporary issues are explored through movies, periodicals, songs of social, historical and artistic content, visual art, poems and short stories. Students may also work with literary texts. Review and continued refinement of grammatical structures are aimed at helping students develop their self-expression. Assignments are both written and oral. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required to, sit for the IB Language B standard-level exam at the end of this course.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB/AP French 5

Students enter this class experienced in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding French. This class is conducted entirely in French and active oral participation is key. Each year, the literary, grammatical, and cultural foci of this class may vary. Students read, interpret and discuss formal and informal prose and literature, listen to authentic audio and video recordings, develop speaking skills in a variety of settings, and write both formal essays and informal communications. It is expected that students in this course will take the AP French Language exam or the Higher Level IB French exam in May.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

IB HL French Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the French language and want to continue their study beyond IB/AP French 5. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year and can include preparation for the IB HL French B exam.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Latin 1

Latin 1 presents the framework of verb, noun, adjective, pronoun, and adverb forms and inflection patterns. Ample support is provided by numerous teacher-generated exercises. Through textbook readings and class discussion, students receive an introduction to the culture of the ancient Romans, their systems, and beliefs. Translations are both from Latin to English and English to Latin. Latin requires the development of many important skills, including mastery of grammatical concepts through programming the brain with vocabulary details, inflection patterns, and grammatical precepts, as well as analysis and reasoning in applying programmed information. Careful attention is paid to grammatical structures both in English and in Latin, and students practice extensive application of Latin word roots in English derivatives.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Latin 2

Where Latin 1 provides the framework of the language, Latin 2 adds color and contour. Latin 2 presents constructions such as subjunctive verb forms and uses of verbs, as well as advanced participle constructions and irregular verbs. By the end of the year, students should have the foundation to read prose of a Caesarian level of difficulty. Translations and vocabulary assessments are almost exclusively Latin to English. Review of Latin 1 is integrated in the early lessons, and increasing attention is paid to translation techniques. Open-book translations become more frequent as a significant tool for assessing students’ understanding of how Latin works, and the complexity and length of readings increase throughout the year as more constructions are mastered.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Latin 3

Because the majority of Latin grammar is covered in the first two years, the emphasis in the third year of Latin is on reading literature. Roman history and political development are featured in readings. The epic poetry genre and Trojan War cycle are explored through extensive readings from Book 2 of Vergil’s Aeneid. Literary devices critical to the understanding of epic poetry are presented. A methodical review of Latin grammar is included in the first term. Emphasis is on developing translation skills and an appreciation of ancient literature. Students who are interested in IB or AP Latin 4 should take Intensive Latin 3 rather than this course.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intensive Latin 3

This course features the same texts, readings, exploration of ancient literature, and review of Latin grammar as Latin 3, though students in Intensive Latin 3 are expected to master some additional constructions. Throughout the year, translation skills and the establishment of a strong vocabulary base are important. In addition to weekly vocabulary quizzes based on text and reading related lists, there are numerous “assisted” translations for which students have access to text vocabularies or dictionaries.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB/AP Latin 4

Students in IB/AP Latin 4 may pursue either the Latin Literature Advanced Placement or IB Standard Level curriculum with the expectation that they will take one of those tests. The IB standard-level readings include selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 4, and selected poems of Catullus and Horace. Each IB student chooses and completes an individual study, a research dossier, recitation, or Latin composition.

This course requires summer work.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB/AP Latin 5

This course allows students to prepare for the Latin Literature AP exam or for the higher-level IB Latin exam. Higher-level IB students read extensively from Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 4, and the poetry of Catullus and Horace. Higher-level IB students read much more extensively than standard-level students do. Each IB student chooses and completes an individual study, a research dossier, recitation, or Latin composition.

This course requires summer work.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Spanish 1

Spanish is the primary language of instruction in this introductory course, as students learn through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Classes also include exposure to the richness and variety of Hispanic cultures. Music, games, and projects are among the tools used to foster an environment of engaged language learners.

Students are expected to take an active role on a daily basis by working in groups, in pairs, or as individuals. Successful language acquisition requires systematic review and practice outside the classroom as well as diligent preparation of daily homework assignments. Homework can include listening, reading, writing, and speaking assignments. Evaluation is based on daily aural/oral and written assessments, quizzes, dialogs, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Spanish 2

Spanish 2 begins with a review of vocabulary and structures covered in Spanish 1 and expands upon those skills. Some of the highlights include narration in the past, daily routine, personal preferences, needs, and future time. Spanish is the primary language of instruction as students learn through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Classes also include exposure to the richness and variety of Hispanic cultures. Music, games, and projects are among the tools used to foster an environment of engaged language learners.

Students are expected to take an active role on a daily basis by working in groups, in pairs, or as individuals. Successful language acquisition requires systematic review and practice outside the classroom as well as diligent preparation of daily homework assignments. Homework might include listening, reading, writing, and speaking assignments. Evaluation is based on daily aural/oral and written assessments, quizzes, dialogs, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intensive Spanish 2

Following a brief review of the vocabulary and structures covered in Spanish 1, students expand upon the skills developed in Spanish 1. The course offers an in-depth study of these topics: narration in the past, daily routine, personal preferences, needs, and future time. Spanish is the primary language of instruction as students learn through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Classes also include exposure to the richness and variety of Hispanic cultures. Music, games, and projects are among the tools used to foster an environment of engaged language learners.

Students are expected to take an active role on a daily basis by working in groups, in pairs, or as individuals. Successful language acquisition requires systematic review and practice outside the classroom as well as diligent preparation of daily homework assignments. Homework might include listening, reading, writing, and speaking assignments. Evaluation is based on daily aural/oral and written assessments, quizzes, dialogs, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Spanish 3

Spanish 3 begins with a review of vocabulary and structures covered in Spanish 2 and expands upon those skills. The focus is on strengthening the skills acquired in Spanish 2. Short literary excerpts are introduced and writing exercises may include compositions or journal work. This course can prepare students for Intensive Spanish 4 if additional work is completed successfully over the summer. Spanish is the primary language of instruction as students learn through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Classes also include exposure to the richness and variety of Hispanic cultures. Music, games, and projects are among the tools used to foster an environment of engaged language learners.

Students are expected to take an active role on a daily basis by working in groups, in pairs, or as individuals. Successful language acquisition requires systematic review and practice outside the classroom as well as diligent preparation of daily homework assignments. Homework might include listening, reading, writing, and speaking assignments. Evaluation is based on daily aural/oral and written assessments, quizzes, dialogs, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intensive Spanish 3

Intensive Spanish 3 begins with a brief review of vocabulary and structures covered in Spanish 2. The focus is on strengthening the skills acquired in Spanish 2. Short literary excerpts are introduced. During Term 3, students are exposed to sophisticated readings from sources other than their textbooks. Writing includes frequent compositions or journal work. There is an emphasis on creativity and independent thinking. Spanish is the primary language of instruction as students learn through listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities. Classes also include exposure to the richness and variety of Hispanic cultures. Music, games, and projects are among the tools used to foster an environment of engaged language learners.

Students are expected to take an active role on a daily basis by working in groups, in pairs, or as individuals. Successful language acquisition requires systematic review and practice outside the classroom as well as diligent preparation of daily homework assignments. Homework might include listening, reading, writing, and speaking assignments. Evaluation is based on daily aural/oral and written assessments, quizzes, dialogs, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term. This course is a pre-IB course, preparing students for IB Spanish 4.

Open to: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB Spanish 4

This course focuses on strengthening students’ communicative skills in all four language areas—listening, speaking, reading and writing—as well as developing greater cultural awareness. A variety of media, including films, documentaries, web-based resources, songs, articles and literary selections, are used to build vocabulary, enhance listening skills, stimulate discussion, improve grammar, achieve greater linguistic proficiency, and make connections with a variety of Hispanic cultures. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and all students are expected to actively participate in class activities. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required, to sit for the IB Language B Standard Level exam at the end of the course.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB/AP Spanish 5

Students enter this class experienced in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Spanish. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and active oral participation is key. Each year, the literary, grammatical, and cultural foci of this class may vary. Students read, interpret and discuss formal and informal prose and literature, listen to authentic audio and video recordings, develop speaking skills in a variety of settings, and write both formal essays and informal communications. It is expected that students in this course will take the AP Spanish Language exam or the Higher Level IB Spanish exam in May.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

IB HL Spanish Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the Spanish language and want to continue their study beyond IB/AP Spanish 5. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year and can include preparation for the IB HL Spanish B exam or the AP Spanish Language exam.

This course has a summer assignment.

Open to Juniors and seniors