French & Italian

French & Italian

French | Italian

For centuries, French and Italian have been pre-eminent languages of literature, philosophy, science, and the arts. French and Italian authors such as Petrarch, Dante, Ariosto, Descartes, Voltaire, Sand, Pirandello and Sartre, to name but a few, have been among the most important writers in the West.

Both France and Italy are foundational to the history of music, theater, visual art, and cinema; both have played significant roles in shaping Western and global history, and both continue to be centers of cultural and industrial innovation. It is natural to study French and Italian culture together: both languages developed from Latin, and since antiquity, both civilizations have participated in a dialogue (and often a rivalry!) from which they have both been greatly enriched. To study French and Italian together is to gain deep insight into the evolution of Western culture.

Today, both languages have a global reach. French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with 110 million native speakers and 110 million secondary speakers around the globe. It is the official language of many international organizations. France has the 22nd largest population in the world and the 10th largest economy. Italian is spoken by 65 million people as a native language and by another 20 million around the world as a secondary language. Italy has the 23rd largest population in the world. Knowledge of French and Italian is therefore important for anyone interested in studying the many fields of the humanities, the sciences or the social sciences, or in pursuing an international career.

The School of International Letters and Cultures offers courses in French and Italian language, literature, theater, cinema, urban history, and linguistics. Offerings cover all periods from the Middle Ages to the present.

The school offers opportunity to study abroad in France, other Francophone (French-speaking) countries, Italy and other Italophone countries for the summer, semester, or year. French and/or Italian are a perfect complement to other majors, whether in the humanities, arts, business, sciences or social sciences. Whether you are considering a career in science, technology, education, fashion, the arts, music, cinema, finance, cuisine or tourism, French and Italian will open doors and offer opportunities you would not otherwise have.