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Modern Language

The Modern Language Department’s mission is to educate students to be linguistically and culturally prepared to function as global citizens. The department offers courses in Hawaiian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish.

We focus on “The Five Cs” of language learning as outlined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL): Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.

Communication emphasizes what students can do with the language beyond knowledge of the language.

Cultures develop a better understanding and appreciation of the relationship between language and culture, including each student's own culture(s).

Connections underscore the interdisciplinary nature of modern language instruction; while learning a language, our students also are learning art, geography, history, and science.

Comparisons demand that students contrast new languages and cultures with their own. Through comparison, students often come to understand their native language and culture even better than they did originally.

Communities extend the learning experience beyond the classroom, including our host languages and cultures in Hawai'i, as well as those of our international students. In a world of growing interdependence, it is imperative for global citizens to develop the skills necessary to understand and to be understood.


Available Courses

Hawaiian I

1.0 credits

This course teaches basic communication and vocabulary for reading, writing, and conversational speaking. Hawaiian I will give students the opportunity to study Hawaiian culture as the context for language acquisition. Emphasis for learning is placed on language use. Homework will be assigned regularly and will involve review, written exercises, reading/listening activities, and vocabulary practice. Student progress will be assessed during classroom participation as well as achievement quizzes and tests. Proficiency activities will also be used to determine how well the student can communicate using the vocabulary and language structures practiced throughout the class. There is no prerequisite for this class.

Hawaiian II

1.0 credits

This course will expand on the language skill, and the cultural knowledge students bring to the class. Students from all backgrounds of Hawaiian language study are encouraged to enroll in Hawaiian II to further their knowledge of the language. Emphasis for learning is placed on language use. Homework will be assigned regularly and will involve review, completion of written exercises, reading/listening activities, and vocabulary practice. Student progress will be assessed during classroom participation as well as achievement quizzes and tests. Proficiency activities will also be used to determine how well the student can communicate using the vocabulary and language structures practiced throughout the class. The prerequisite for this class is Hawaiian I.

Hawaiian III

1.0 credits

his course will expand further on the language skill and cultural knowledge. Students enrolled in this class have taken Hawaiian II, or hold a level of Hawaiian language knowledge that is deemed sufficient. Emphasis for learning is placed on a more rigorous use of the language in the form of presentations, dialogue, and study of literature. Aside from language, cultural practice in the form of protocols and crafts will be explored. Homework will be assigned regularly and will involve review, written exercises, reading/listening activities, and vocabulary practice. Student progress will be assessed during classroom participation as well as achievement quizzes and tests. Proficiency activities will also be used to determine how well the student can communicate using the vocabulary and language structures practiced throughout the class. The prerequisite for this class is Hawaiian II.

Hawaiian IV Honors

1.0 credits

This course will further develop a higher-level usage of Hawaiian language. More emphasis will be put on language study as seen in various literature sources, as well as transcribing recordings of native speakers. More clarity will be placed on the difference between written and spoken language. Along with language studies, this honors class will look at the history of Hawaiʻi, and the significance Hawaiʻi has on an international stage. Cultural protocols and crafts will continue to be of importance, while keeping language acquisition as the main point of emphasis. Homework will be assigned regularly and will involve review, written exercises, reading/listening activities, and vocabulary practice. Student progress will be assessed during classroom participation as well as achievement quizzes and tests. Proficiency activities will also be used to determine how well the student can communicate using the vocabulary and language structures practiced throughout the class. The prerequisite for this class is Hawaiian III and teacher recommendation.

Japanese I

1.0 credits

The level I class is designed to obtain fundamental sentence structure and vocabulary for reading, writing, speaking and listening on topics closely surrounding the student. The student is exposed to basic cultural aspects of Japan. Hiragana (46) and Katakana (46) characters are introduced and mastered. The students are expected to have the capability to learn a foreign language. Student progress is assessed by quizzes and tests to determine knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Speaking proficiency activities are used to assure how well the student can communicate. There is no prerequisite for this class.

Japanese II

1.0 credits

The level II class expands knowledge of grammar structure and vocabulary for reading, writing, speaking and listening. Emphasis is placed on developing fluency and competency. The student is exposed to more in-depth cultural knowledge of Japan. Essential grammar such as past, present and future tenses, and negative tenses are introduced frequently. New Kanji characters (132) are introduced and practiced. Student progress is assessed by quizzes and tests to determine knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Speaking proficiency activities are used to assure how well the student is able to communicate. The prerequisite for this class is Japanese I.

Japanese III

1.0 credits

The level III class intends to stress the importance of how to incorporate new vocabulary, tenses and sentence structures to communicate effectively. Further fluency and competency in listening, speaking, reading and writing Japanese is expected. Additional Kanji characters (142) will be introduced and practiced. Traditional and modern Japanese cultural characteristics will be highlighted. Student progress is assessed by quizzes and tests to determine knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Speaking proficiency activities are used to assure how well the student is able to communicate. The prerequisite for this class is Japanese II.

Japanese IV Honors

1.0 credits

The level IV class emphasizes the cumulative knowledge of more complex sentence structures and vocabulary. Acquisition of advanced skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing are expected. Additional Kanji characters (150) will be introduced and mastered. Broader aspects of Japanese culture will be analyzed and compared. Most of the lessons will be conducted in Japanese. Student progress is assessed by quizzes and tests to determine knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Speaking proficiency activities are used to assure how well the student is able to communicate. The prerequisite for this class is Japanese III and teacher recommendation.

Japanese V Honors

1.0 credits

The level V class summarizes and underlines the cumulative knowledge of Japanese levels I through IV. New sentence structures and vocabulary are also introduced. The lessons are primarily conducted in Japanese. Proficiency in all aspects of language learning is encouraged and expected. The students will practice communication by presenting information, discussing personal ideas and defending points of view in speech and in writing. Students will master all 410 Kanji characters required in AP Japanese Exam. Student progress is assessed by quizzes and tests to determine knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Speaking proficiency activities are used to assure how well the student can communicate. The student has the option to take the SAT 2 Japanese Exam in November and/or the AP Japanese Exam in May. The prerequisite for this class is Japanese IV Honors and teacher recommendation.

Mandarin Chinese I

1.0 credits

In the level I course, students will learn to communicate at basic levels with speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Students will learn listening, speaking, reading and writing through real-life dialogues. Vocabulary and grammar will be learned in context and understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture and traditions will be incorporated throughout the course. Pinyin (the most widely used Chinese phonetic system) will be taught as a tool to learn the spoken language. Students will also learn Chinese characters in order to be able to communicate effectively in real Chinese situations. There is no prerequisite for this course.

Mandarin Chinese II

1.0 credits

In the level II course, students will learn to further develop their comprehension and expression in Mandarin Chinese. All skills will be incorporated into new thematic units of study and vocabulary and grammatical control will be expanded upon. Students will continue to explore the richness of Chinese culture and traditions throughout the course. The prerequisite for this course is Mandarin Chinese I.

Mandarin Chinese III

1.0 credits

Mandarin Chinese III focuses more on reading and writing essays, short stories, and dialogues in Mandarin Chinese. All skills will be incorporated into new thematic units of study and vocabulary and grammatical control will be expanded upon. Students will continue to explore the richness of Chinese culture and traditions throughout the course. The class will be conducted in Chinese approximately half the period. The prerequisite for this course is Mandarin Chinese II.

Mandarin Chinese IV Honors

1.0 credit

The level IV class emphasizes the cumulative knowledge of more complex sentence structures and vocabulary. Acquisition of advanced skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing are expected. Broader aspects of Chinese culture will be analyzed and compared. Most of the class will be conducted in Chinese. The prerequisite for this class is Chinese III and teacher recommendation.

Spanish I

1.0 credits

Spanish I teaches basic sentence structure and vocabulary for reading, writing, speaking, and listening on topics closely surrounding the student. They also learn cultural aspects of the Hispanic world. Emphasis for learning is placed on practice activities. There is no prerequisite for this course.

Spanish II

1.0 credits

Spanish II expands students’ knowledge and use of structure and vocabulary through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They learn the fundamentals of past, present, and future tenses. Emphasis is placed on practice activities. Students also strengthen their ability to communicate about topics pertinent to their lives and draw comparisons to other Hispanic countries. The prerequisite for this course is Spanish I.

Spanish III

1.0 credits

Spanish III teaches students how to incorporate new vocabulary, tenses, and sentence structures into increasingly original and interesting ways to communicate. Students broaden their abilities to read, write, speak, and listen with comprehension to themes including communities at home and abroad, peoples of different backgrounds, selected social and cultural issues, and Hispanic art and artists. The prerequisite for this course is Spanish II.

Spanish IV Honors

1.0 credits

Spanish IV Honors begins with an intensive review of grammar, followed by a study of the literature, and music of Hispanic countries to continue to develop reading and listening skills. Writing and speaking skills are developed through presentation of information, discussion of personal ideas, creative writing, and defending points of view, with an emphasis on comparing and contrasting hispanic cultures with the students’ own cultures. The class is conducted entirely in Spanish. The prerequisite for this course is Spanish III and teacher recommendation.

AP Spanish Language and Culture

1.0 credits

AP Spanish Language and Culture incorporates the cumulative knowledge of Spanish attained in levels I through IV. It provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency in the interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes of communication. It is designed to provide students with a rich and rigorous opportunity to study the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world at a level equivalent to an upper-intermediate university Spanish course. It takes a holistic approach to language proficiency and recognizes the complex interrelatedness of comprehension and comprehensibility, vocabulary use, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. Students will learn language structures in context and use them to convey meaning. The course promotes fluency and accuracy in language use, and is consequently conducted entirely in Spanish. It engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts, by developing their awareness and appreciation of the products, practices, and perspectives of Hispanic culture. The course culminates with the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam in May, which students are required to take. The prerequisite for this course is Spanish IV Honors and teacher recommendation.

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