Department of Spanish and Portuguese
The Spanish and Portuguese romance languages and literatures dominate the Iberian Peninsula, major parts of Africa, and the southern portion of the new world from Mexico to the Magellan Straits. Thirty countries have Spanish or Portuguese as an official or national language, with over 615 million speakers of these languages worldwide. Both languages are associated with a wide spectrum of cultural, linguistic, and literary variety that stands at the forefront of twenty-first century excellence and innovation, a linguist's paradise of dialects, rapid change, and development.
Such breadth, plus some 36 million speakers within the borders of the United States itself, gives multiple opportunities for developing skill in the spoken language, as well as in listening, reading, writing, and translation. Studying the Iberian roots of this large and important part of the population and learning about the people's perception of life also brings greater understanding of their values and their struggle for identity. A Spanish or Portuguese major makes for a demanding, intriguing, and rewarding experience.