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The Language Requirement

As always, when in doubt about the requirements for this (or any) major, check the CSULB Catalog. If there is a conflict between the Catalog and something written elsewhere, the Catalog is what counts.

Linguistics majors must reach 4th semester level proficiency in one language, or 2nd semester level proficiency in two languages. If you choose the two language option, one of the languages must be non-Indo-European.

Here are some questions that commonly come up:

Which courses are 4th-semester level?

4th semester level courses are usually numbered 200, 201B, 202, 211 or 250. There are exceptions, such as Latin. Check with the advisor if you are uncertain.

Note that CSULB has 6-unit courses which are taken in one semester, but cover material equivalent to two semesters. So, for example, you could take SPAN 100 in Fall and SPAN 200 in spring, and finish the language requirement in only one year.

I tested out of the first year of a language. Do I still have to take four semesters beyond that?

No. We consider the requirement completed once you have finished a fourth-semester-level course, such as SPAN 201B. So if you tested into SPAN 201A, for example, you only need two semesters.

I’ve taken language courses at CSULB, but they aren’t showing up in the language requirement section of my Academic Requirements Report in MyCSULB.

This will happen with students who declared the major earlier than Fall 2014. Let the academic advisor know, and she will enter the courses manually.

What if I studied a language at another university?

That counts, as long as it appears in your transfer record. However, the system may not recognize it automatically. Notify the advisor if this happens.

I am a bilingual. Is that enough to fulfill the language requirement?

This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We will need evidence that you are literate in the other language, and would prefer that you have some formal education (post elementary school) in the language.

If you have strong oral skills in another language but limited knowledge of grammar and writing, we recommend that you take one of CSULB’s courses for heritage speakers, such as SPAN 250: Spanish for Bilinguals. Similar courses exist for Chinese, Khmer, Arabic, Japanese (JAPN 385), and Vietnamese.

How can I test out of a language?

The RGRLL department offers online placement tests.
Note that if you want to use the online test to completely test out of a language, you will need to take it with a proctor. Contact the advisor to arrange this. A proctor is not needed if you plan to take a higher level course and are simply testing out of the lower levels.

Standardized test scores can also be used to test out. For example, the Catalog specifies the amount of credit given for each Advanced Placement exam score.

For languages where there is no standardized test or placement exam available, we sometimes make ad hoc arrangements to have students evaluated by a faculty member.

Does American Sign Language count for the language requirement?

Yes. It counts as non-Indo-European.

What other languages are non-Indo-European?

The ones offered at CSULB include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Khmer, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Arabic, Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, and Swahili.