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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.

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international trips to explore language, history, and culture

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faculty members 89% with advanced degrees

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advanced IB and AP Language Courses

35+

courses in Chinese, French, Latin, and Spanish

Language Department Courses

Our teachers are all native speakers or have a native-like command of the language they teach.

Chinese 1

This first year course in Mandarin Chinese introduces Chinese systems of Pinyin Romanization, basic Chinese characters, and basic sentence structures. Oral/aural communication and Chinese cultural context are emphasized. Reading and writing are introduced from the beginning of the course with a goal of mastering two hundred characters by the end of the year. This course develops conversational, reading, and writing skills at a sentence level, while cultivating cultural awareness through a highly communicative and dynamic approach.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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 sentence structures will be expanded from the previous year with a goal of masterung four hundred characters. Students begin to develop short paragraph writing skills on familiar topics. This course promotes the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing through a student-centered approach.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 1 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Chinese 3

This course begins with a review of key vocabulary and sentence structures from Chinese 2 and continues to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills by introducing more complex sentence structures. Students start to apply the vocabulary and sentence structures they have accumulated to compose short essays. More supplementary media and reading materials will also be added to encourage students to explore and understand Chinese culture.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 2 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Chinese Society & Culture

This module provides students an opportunity to continue sharpening their Chinese language skills, especially oral skills, while at the same time broadening their knowledge of contemporary Chinese society and culture. A wide range of topics such as family relationships, the urban and rural divide, and social justice and more are discussed in this course. In addition to reading and discussing articles that involve social and cultural issues, students watch selected Chinese TV shows and movies to deepen their understanding of Chinese society and culture. All students who have reached Chinese level 3 proficiency are welcomed to select this fun and culturally rich module.

(This course will not be offered in 2022-23.)

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 3 (C) or Chinese level 3 proficiency

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Chinese 4

Building on the fundamentals established in earlier courses, students in this course are introduced to a variety of topics including personal relationships, education, community, food health, holidays, and travel through a content-based and immersive curriculum. The focus is on reading more extensive articles, writing different types of texts, refining interpersonal communication skills, and broadening the student’s cultural understanding. Videos, Chinese websites, and other media are employed to reinforce students’ language skills.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 3 (B-)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB SL Chinese ab initio

In this course, students read authentic texts on a variety of topics and compose in a variety of different formats including notices, advertisements, blogs, and speeches in Chinese.

Ab initio students take an IB Chinese preparation mod in 12th grade, together with either Chinese 4 or Advanced Chinese (CHI500), depending on their level of proficiency. For those students in Advanced Chinese, the second mod of Advanced Chinese is optional but recommended.

Students in this course will usually take the IB Chinese ab initio exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 4.0-6.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 3 (B-)

Open to: 11, 12

Advanced Chinese

The goal of Advanced Chinese is to take students to the next level in their proficiency. Students interact much more with authentic materials—both written and audio, from literature to culture—and are expected to be even more vocal, making presentations, debates, and leading the class in discussions surrounding these materials and topics. In terms of producing Chinese, students explore different and more sophisticated ways of expressing themselves and learn to use more advanced structures, particularly in their speaking and writing. Advanced Chinese can be taken multiple times.

There are 2 mods specific to this course. Students who would like 3 credits in the course should select Chinese Society as the third mod.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 4 (B-)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB SL Chinese B

In this course, students read authentic texts on a variety of topics and compose in a variety of different formats including notices, advertisements, blogs, and speeches in Chinese.

This course consists of 3 mods of Chinese 4 (CHI400A), 2 mods of Advanced Chinese (CHI500) and 1 mod specific to IB Chinese preparation. The IB module will help students expand the topics they have learned in previous courses, while helping them sharpen the language skills to prepare for the IB SL Chinese B exam. Advanced Chinese and the IB Chinese mod must be taken in the year the student is sitting for the IB SL Chinese exam.

Students who register for this course are required to take the IB SL Chinese B exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-6.0

Prerequisite: Chinese 3 (B-)

Open to: 11, 12

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.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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 the study of video, audio, and grammar components. This class is conducted almost entirely in French.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: French 1 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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. This class is conducted in French.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: French 1 (B)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: French 2 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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 short stories by other French authors. This course is a pre-IB course, preparing students for IB French 4.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: French 2 (B and approval of department head) or Intensive French 2 (C)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Intensive French 4

This course is designed for intermediate level students and will aim at further honing their reading, writing and speaking skills. The class is conducted entirely in French and active oral participation is expected. 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. Review and continued refinement of grammatical structures are aimed at helping students develop their self-expression.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Intensive French 3 (C) or French 3 (B-)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB SL French B

IB SL French B is designed for students whose interest is primarily in the contemporary French-speaking world. The class is conducted entirely in French and active oral participation is expected. Speaking and writing activities are related to the contemporary world and prepare the students to a variety of tasks (oral description of a visual stimulus, writing letters, blogs, diaries, emails, etc.). Cultural themes and contemporary issues are explored through varied sources and correspond to the IB Themes. 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.

IB SL French consists either of 3 mods of Intensive French 4 (FRE451A) plus the IB SL mod, or at least 2 mods of Advanced French (FRE550A) plus the IB SL mod. Students must have at least two mods of French (including the IB-specific mod) in the year they sit for the exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-4.0

Prerequisite: Intensive French 3 (B-) or French 3 (B-)

Open to: 11, 12

Advanced French

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 varies. 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.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: IB French 4 (B-) or Intensive French 4 (B-)

Open to: 11, 12

IB HL French B

IB HL French B consists of 3 mods of either Intensive French 4 (FRE451A) or Advanced French (FRE550A) in 11th grade, followed by at least 2 mods of Advanced French (FRE550A) or French Seminar (FRE650A) and the IB HL mod in 12th grade. Students may elect to include the IB SL French mod in 11th grade if they would like to sit for that exam before deciding whether to continue with HL French in 12th grade.

Students in this course must sit for the IB exam in May of 12th grade.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 5.0-8.0

Prerequisite: Intensive French 3 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

French Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the French language. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year. While this class will be an asset for those students who wish to take the AP exam, it is not an official preparatory course for the AP exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: IB/AP French 5 (B-), IB SL French (B-), or Advanced French (B-)

Open to: 11, 12

Latin 1

This course introduces students to Latin, the language not only of ancient Rome, but also the European Middle Ages and the fields of early modern math, science, and philosophy. We will use Suburani, a story-based introductory Latin textbook that shows the diversity of the Roman empire and addresses issues important to students. Students will learn the essentials of grammar and vocabulary through reading and writing Latin. They will also increase their English vocabulary and learn about the history and culture of Rome. Course objectives include learning to communicate in Latin through reading and writing; gaining a basic knowledge of the daily life of the ancient Romans, of some famous Roman individuals, and of historical and geographical facts; recognizing Latin words and derivatives in modern English; and understanding basic patterns of English as they relate to the structure of Latin. The course grade will be determined by regular progress checks and proficiency assessments, including open-book assessments.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Latin 2

This course continues the introduction to Latin grammar and Roman culture begun in Latin 1. We continue reading about our friends from Suburani while reviewing the basics from Latin 1 and learning the remaining grammatical structures needed to start reading authentic texts in Latin 3. The course grade will be determined by regular progress checks and proficiency assessments, including open-book assessments.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Latin 1 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Latin 3

Latin 3 introduces students to the excitement that is reading authentic Latin texts written by real Romans over two millennia ago. Course objectives include developing a proficiency for reading authentic Latin, identifying the use of literary devices in context, learning to scan Latin poetry, learning to efficiently use a Latin lexicon, recognizing Latin words and derivatives in modern English, and improving your ability to communicate, both in Latin and in English. The course grade will be determined by regular progress checks and proficiency assessments, including open-book assessments.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Latin 2 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Latin 4

Latin 4 helps students advance from merely translating Latin to reading it and appreciating it as literature. The readings change from year to year, but often include selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Vergil’s Aeneid, and poems of Catullus and Horace. Students increase their Latin reading comprehension, translation ability, and literary analysis skills. The course grade will be determined by regular progress checks and proficiency assessments, including open-book assessments.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Latin 3 (B)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB SL Latin

Students begin their study of IB SL Latin by taking 3 mods of Latin 4 (LAT400A), followed by a mod that is focused on preparation for the IB SL Latin exam. The IB standard-level readings change from year to year, but often include selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Vergil’s Aeneid, and poems of Catullus and Horace. Students increase their Latin reading comprehension, translation ability, and literary analysis skills. Each student chooses a research topic and completes a research dossier using primary sources from the classical world. Assessments in this course are based on the questions found on the IB exam.

There is a summer assignment for this course.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-4.0

Prerequisite: Latin 3 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

Advanced Latin

This course is for advanced students who have completed Latin 4 and wish to continue their engagement with the rich and entertaining literature of ancient Rome or perhaps even those of Medieval Europe. Students have some freedom in the choice of author and texts to be studied. Assessments will include regular progress checks, translations, and literary analyses.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-2.0

Prerequisite: Latin 4 (B) or IB SL Latin (B)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB HL Latin

Students begin their study of IB HL Latin by taking 5 mods of Latin 4 and Advanced Latin over the course of 11th and 12th grades, followed by a mod that focuses on preparation for the IB HL Latin exam. The IB higher-level readings change from year to year, but often include selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Vergil’s Aeneid, and poems of Catullus and Horace. The HL level curriculum also expects students to do outside reading on the ancient texts in English. Students increase their Latin reading comprehension, translation ability, and literary analysis skills. Each student chooses a research topic and completes a research dossier using primary sources from the classical world. Assessments in this course are based on the questions found on the IB exam.

Students are required to take the IB HL exam in May of 12th grade.

This course requires summer work.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 5.0-6.0

Prerequisite: Latin 3 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

Vergil’s Aeneid (in Rome)

This immersion term course in Rome is cross-listed as ENG930R (English) and MUL930R (Extradisciplinary). A travel-abroad course, it requires parental consent. See MUL930R (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog for description.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: Latin 2 and a 10th grade English class

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Spanish 1

In this course, 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. Spanish is the primary language of instruction in this introductory course.

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, dialogues, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each mod.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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 includes listening, reading, writing, and speaking assignments. Evaluation is based on daily aural/oral and written assessments, quizzes, dialogues, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each mod.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Spanish 1 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Intensive Spanish 2

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, dialogues, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Spanish 1 (B)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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, dialogues, skits, and a test following each chapter. A cumulative exam is administered at the end of each term.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Spanish 2 (C-)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

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, dialogues, 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.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Spanish 2 (B+ and approval of department head) or Intensive Spanish 2 (C)

Open to: 9, 10, 11, 12

Spanish: Current Events

This course is designed for students seeking to further their Spanish-language experience. Conducted entirely in Spanish, the focus in class is active communication. Written projects and assignments, however, are completed throughout the course. Through news sites, podcasts, videos, documentaries, advertisements, entertainment and other current media, students learn about the world today, in Latin America, Spain and beyond. The news perspective is not merely one from this country, rather one from across the globe. This course is a potential pathway to Intensive Spanish 4.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Spanish 3 (B) or Intensive Spanish 3 (C)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Intensive 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.

Mod 1: Social organization and experiences
Mod 2: Identities and human ingenuity
Mod 3: How we share the planet (intermediate speaking proficiency skills)

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 3 (C+) or Spanish 3 (B)

Open to: 10, 11, 12

IB SL Spanish B

For students taking the IB SL exam in May 2024 or later, the IB SL Spanish course consists of either 3 mods of Intensive Spanish 4 (SPA451A) plus the IB SL mod, or at least 2 mods of Advanced Spanish (SPA550A) plus the IB SL mod. Students must have at least two mods of Spanish (including the IB-specific mod) in the year they sit for the exam.

Students in this course must sit for the IB exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-4.0

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 3 (C+) or Spanish 3 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

AP Spanish

Students can prepare for the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam by taking 3 mods of Intensive Spanish 4 (SPA451A) along with an additional mod that focuses on AP exam preparation. 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 Spanish exam in May.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 4.0-4.0

Prerequisite: 3 mods of Intensive Spanish 3 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

Advanced Spanish

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.

The course includes two mods focused on literature and cinema.

This course has a summer assignment.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 4 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

IB HL Spanish B

The IB HL Spanish course consists of 3 mods of either Intensive Spanish 4 (SPA451A) or Advanced Spanish (SPA550A) in 11th grade, followed by at least 2 mods of Advanced Spanish (SPA550A) or Spanish Seminar (SPA650A) along with the IB HL mod in 12th grade. Students may elect to include either the AP Spanish mod or the IB SL Spanish mod in 11th grade if they would like to sit for one of those exams.

Students in this course must sit for the IB exam in May of 12th grade.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-7.0

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 3 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

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 Advanced Spanish. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year. Past topics have included current events, literature, arts, history, and science.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Prerequisite: IB/AP Spanish 5 (B) or Advanced Spanish 5 (B)

Open to: 11, 12

Peruvian Past and Culture

This summer travel-abroad course is cross-listed as MUL820P (Extradisciplinary). See MUL820P (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog for description.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 3 and parental consent

Open to: 11, 12

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