Mentored Language Program

Study of key less commonly taught languages with a professional mentor or tutor.

The Five College Mentored Language Program (MLP) was founded in 2004 to offer students the chance to study a group of critical languages—Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Swahili, and Urdu—in greater depth with the support of a professional language tutor/mentor.

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Features of Mentored Language Program Courses

  • Daily guided independent study
  • Weekly one-on-one tutorials with a language mentor and small group conversation sessions
  • Weekly written homework and self-assessment reports Written and oral evaluations
  • Emphasis on all four languages skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing
  • Offerings for beginning, intermediate, advanced, and heritage learners
  • Ability to take one or two levels at a time Learn more in the Program FAQ. 

Hindi-Urdu

Taken together, Hindi and Urdu are some of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with about 544 million total speakers. Hindi has been influenced by Sanskrit as well as by the hundreds of regional languages of the Indian subcontinent, while Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and has been influenced by Persian and Arabic. Hindi and Urdu use different scripts and different literary or specialized vocabulary, but are closely related and mutually intelligible, especially in everyday use. Speakers of one language can easily pick up the other. The Five College Hindi and Urdu program is led by our language mentor, Karla Carruth, and supported by native/fluent conversation partners. The Hindi-Urdu course sequence is:

  • Introductory: Levels I, II, III, IV
  • Intermediate: Levels V, VI
  • High Intermediate: Levels VII, VIII (students choose topics of interest)
  • Advanced: Health and Human Services, other special topics
  • Speakers track: For students who already speak Hindi or Urdu at a high intermediate or early advanced level and need to develop reading and writing skills and/or more advanced or specialized spoken language.

View recent Hindi syllabi and Urdu syllabi.

Turkish

Turkish is the official language of Turkey and is also widely spoken in Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, and Northern Cyprus, and in the European Turkish diaspora. Turkish belongs to the Altay branch of the Ural-Altaic linguistic family. It is considered a critical language by the U.S. government. The Five College Turkish program is supported by a post-baccalaureate Fulbright teaching assistant, Betul Iscan, and undergraduate native/fluent conversation partners.
The Turkish course sequence is:

  • Introductory: Levels I, II, III, IV
  • Intermediate: Levels V, VI, VII, VIII
  • Advanced: Students choose topics in consultation with program director

View recent Turkish syllabi.

Persian

Persian/Farsi is spoken by over 100 million people in Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. There is also a large population of Persian speakers in "Tehrangeles" in California. Persian for centuries was the lingua franca from Central Asia to India and Iran. It has strongly influenced Urdu and Turkic languages, and because of that, it is easy for a Persian speaker to learn Urdu and Turkish. Though they belong to different language families, Persian has borrowed thousands of words from Arabic. Our Persian program is led by a graduate student teaching assistant, Mohsen Jalali, and supported by native/fluent speaker conversation partners.
The Persian course sequence is:

  • Introductory: Levels I, II, III, IV
  • Intermediate: Levels V, VI, VII, VIII
  • Advanced: Special topics (students choose topics of interest)
  • Speakers track: For students who already speak Persian at a high intermediate or early advanced level and need to develop reading and writing skills and/or more advanced or specialized spoken language.

View recent Persian syllabi.

Swahili

Swahili is the lingua franca of east and central Africa. It is widely used in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and spoken by more than 50 million people. Part of the Bantu family of languages, Swahili has influenced and been influenced by a variety of other languages, including Arabic, Portuguese, and German. Swahili is the flagship language of the Five College Mentored Language Program. Alumni have completed theses related to East Africa, started businesses, joined the U.S. Foreign Service, and gone on to receive CLS, Fulbright, and Boren fellowships. The program is led by Dr. Agnes Kimokoti, who has taught Swahili in the Five Colleges since 2003, and supported by a post-baccalaureate Fulbright teaching assistant, Scholastika Massawe.
The Swahili course sequence is:

  • Introductory: Levels I, II, III, IV
  • Intermediate: Levels V, VI, VII, VIII
  • Advanced: Multiple courses available, including Development Policy, Health Policy, Human Rights, Senior Research, other special topics
  • View recent Swahili syllabi.

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