Department of French and other Romance Languages, 1939-1972


In 1939, the Department of French and the Department of Italian were combined to form the Department of French and Other Romance Languages. While the primary focus of the department was on languages derived from Latin-French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese-it also offered courses in Russian. The department provided students with opportunities to hone their language skills outside the classroom: at dining hall tables, French and Spanish dormitories, and on study-abroad programs to Italy and France. In 1972, the Department of French and Other Romance Languages became the Department of Romance Languages.

History of Department of French and other Romance Languages

In 1939, the Department of French and the Department of Italian were combined to form the Department of French and Other Romance Languages. In addition to the Latin-derived languages of French, Italian, and Spanish, the department also offered courses in Russian (after the 1966-1967 academic year, Russian courses were administered by the Department of German). Occasionally, a course in Portuguese was offered as well. The department offered classes in Linguistics and the Teaching of Modern Languages. In 1962, the curriculum expanded to include courses, taught in English, which focused on literary and artistic movements in France and Spain.

Whereas the original Department of French had concentrated on grammar and the translation of literary works, by the time the combined department was established an effort was made to introduce students to contemporary cultures. For example, the Advanced [French] Composition and Conversation course presented "lectures and extensive readings relating to French customs and institutions."

The Department provided students with opportunities to hone their language skills outside the classroom. There were French, Spanish and Italian tables in dining halls, at which students could interact with native speakers. Students could live in "French House" or "Spanish House" dormitories. Two study-abroad programs were instituted. The Tufts in Italy program lasted from the academic year 1964-1965 to 1967-1968. The Tufts in Paris program began in 1968-1969.

In 1972, the Department of French and Other Romance Languages became the Department of Romance Languages.