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Modern Languages

College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Modern Languages Program

What are Modern Languages?

Language is a learned, arbitrary system through which human beings communicate and interact in terms of their own culture. Language, therefore, is best seen as a communication system with vocal and written modes. Modern languages are those ‘living' languages that are currently used within a particular cultural or national group. These languages contrast to ancient or ‘dead' languages which might well be studied, but are no longer spoken within a culture. Examples of modern languages would be French, Spanish, and Japanese. Examples of dead languages would be Latin, ancient Greek, and Anglo-Saxon.

To study a modern language is, therefore, to study the currently used verbal system of a particular group's written and spoken communication. Spoken languages always reflect living, breathing culture, a culture which has traditions, politics, religion, and a history. Consequently, the full appreciation and understanding of a language should involve the study of the language within the context of its cultural elements as well as its linguistic structure.


Modern languages at the University of Guam

At the University of Guam modern languages are taught as supplements to other programs. Thus a student who is interested in Spanish history could take Spanish language courses to supplement his or her major in History. Likewise, a student who is interested in French philosophy might take a Philosophy major and add the study of French to his or her program. To understand another culture it is important to have some knowledge of that culture's language. The program of Modern Languages at the University of Guam could potentially enable students to add to their studies in this valuable way.

Among the modern languages offered here are lower division courses in Chamorro (the indigenous language of Guam and the Mariana Islands), Chinese, French, Japanese (which is also offered as a major and minor in the Japanese Studies program), Spanish, and Tagalog (the main language of the Philippines ). After two semesters (eight hours), the student can expect to have a basic working knowledge of the chosen language. In four semesters the student can expect to achieve proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing the language. Two semesters of the same language are required for graduation from the University of Guam .

Unique to language studies at the University of Guam is the Chamorro Language Competition, which is held during the University's annual Charter Day. The participants come from middle and high schools Chamorro classes and clubs from the Mariana Islands: Guam, Saipan, Rota , and Tinan. Competitions often involve:

Poetry recitals, Oratory Choral reading, Chanting, Song with dance, Dance with song Dramatic cultural interpretation, Language proficiency

At the end of the day these competitions are followed by an awards ceremony.




Dr. Yuka Iwata
Associate Professor of Japanese
PhD, University of Mississippi


Dr Toyoko Kang
Associate Professor of Japanese
PhD, University of Texas at Austin


Dr Masumi Kai
Associate Professor of Japanese
PhD, Osaka University of Foreign Studies


Rufina F. Mendiola
Part-time Faculty, Instructor of Chamorro
BA, University of Guam


Mila A. Alcazaren
Part-time Faculty, Instructor of Tagalog
BSc, Far Eastern University, The Philippines


For further information on the Modern Languages Program contact


Modern Languages
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
University of Guam
UOG Station
Mangilao, Guam 96923
Telephone: (671) 735-2808
Fax: (671) 734-7930


Chamorro Studies Program

Chamorro Studies Program Advisement Form.pdf 


Or contact the Division of Humanities Secretary,
Julie Cruz: Telephone: (671) 735-2800
E-mail: julcruz@uguam.uog.edu