A serious understanding of Africa begins with language study. Indigenous African languages serve as road maps to understanding how social, political and economic institutions and processes develop, from kinship structures, the evolution of political offices, and trade relations, to the transfer of environmental knowledge. African languages are key to understanding how sub-saharan Africans understand, organize, and transmit essential knowledge to successive generations. All the African languages offered serve as lingua franca for large populations and are important in regional commerce, governance and development.
Course requirementsAfrican languages can be taken to fulfill the foreign language requirement for Harvard College and the African language requirement for concentrations in the Department of African and African American Studies.
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African languagesWith anywhere between 1000 and 2000 languages, Africa is home to approximately one-third of the world's languages.
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African language coursesThe African Language Program provides students flexibility in acquiring new languages or advancing their skills by offering both Half Course and Full Course options of language study.
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Language citationsStudents who have taken four half courses in an African language above the introductory level may be eligible to receive a Foreign Language Citation.
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The African Language Program and Social EngagementCourses in the African Language Program have a strong emphasis on the culture of their language. Learning the African culture of one's language of study is central to the ALP philosophy of empowering students with the necessary linguistic skills for effective social engagement in their endeavors.
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Online classrooms for language coursesALP language course websites provide language learning tools with features that facilitate communication and collaborative learning.
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Placement testsThe African Language Program administers placement tests for students seeking foreign language waivers and to determine appropriate proficiency level for course placement.
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