Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Students ‘Savor’ Language Tastings

A Yale language instructor exuberantly teaches while smiling students look on.
May 13, 2024

For Yale’s 3rd Language Tasting event, faculty offered Yale College students ‘samples’ of 9 languages. After a wildly successful pilot last spring, the Tastings have become a recurring collaboration between the Poorvu Center and Center for Language Study.

Photos by Melanie Stengel.

“It made learning a language I had no previous knowledge in less daunting, and it got me excited about the possibility of diving into languages I had not previously considered studying.” – Student participant

The primary goal of the Language Tasting is to provide students the chance to learn more about how language can be part of their Yale education as a whole, to take more ownership over their educational choices, and to engage more fully in the world beyond graduation.  

“I don’t mean to be cheesy, but [the Language Tasting] has actually changed the course of what I want to study at Yale.” – Student participant

“It was so much fun to feel like I was a student on the first day of class again. It was uplifting to see so many students who were truly interested in learning about languages and cultures different from their own.” – Student participant

Event organizer Lynda Paul said, “Language classes are a great way to find community and belonging here, both because the classes involve so much interaction among students, and also because the instructors are so passionate about teaching. Students often find that the number of resources available to them, and the steps necessary to use those resources, can be intimidating or overwhelming. This event shows students how supportive and approachable Yale’s language instructors and the Center for Language Study are, are and how much they care about the students’ learning experiences.”

So far, the 20-minute tastings have included: American Sign Language (ASL), Arabic, Bosnian-Serbo-Croation, Cherokee, Chinese, Dutch, Egyptian (Ancient), Finnish, French, German, Greek (Ancient & Modern), Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Spanish, Tamil, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Zulu.