Skip Navigation
UMass Amherst Back to LLC Site

Spanish and Portuguese, Deparment of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


About Spanish at UMass Amherst

A major in Spanish, one of the most widely spoken languages globally, provides the student not only with the communication skills, but also with an integrative and cross-disciplinary exposure to a wide variety of literatures and cultures within the Spanish-speaking world: the regions of Spain influenced by Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions, the many countries of Latin America where European, African and Amerindian peoples interacted to form rich and complex cultures, and the Latino communities in the United States with their rapidly growing populations and increasing prominence.

The faculty is fully committed to passing on to students the intellectual benefits to be gained from comprehensive knowledge of these diverse cultures, which have contributed greatly to the ideas, values and accomplishments that have profoundly shaped the global community.

About Portuguese at UMass Amherst

Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world. It is the language of over 200 million people in many different countries, such as Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor, and parts of India and China. Portuguese is the language of Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago and of Machado de Assis, the most famous Brazilian writer. It’s also the language of world-famous Brazilian musicians, sports figures and film makers.

There are important communities of Portuguese speakers in various regions of the United States. Luso-Americans (Americans with Portuguese, Brazilian or Luso-African origin) can be found in all states and there are sizable Luso-American communities in Massachusetts (where Portuguese is the most widely spoken language after English), and also in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Delaware and Virginia. According to data from the 2000 census, the members of this community amount to more than 1.5 million Americans.

About Catalan at UMass Amherst

Catalan is one of the four languages of Spain (together with Castilian, Euskera and Galician). It is the national and official language of Andorra and co-official language of Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. It is also spoken without official recognition in Southern France, in Aragon (in La Franja) and in the Italian island of Sardinia (in the city of Alghero). About 10 million people speak Catalan in Spain and about 10 million more in the rest of the world.

The presence of Catalan instruction at UMass offers an oportunity to reflect upon the multiculturalism of Spain. Spain is not one, but multiple, and Catalan is an important aspect of its culture. Even for students who focus exclusively on improving their competence in Spanish, a first-hand encounter with a non-Castilian culture enhances their understanding of Spanish society and history.

Furthermore, Catalan is an important tool for students who are specializing in Romance literatures. In the Middle Ages, Catalan was a variant of Occitan. It was the vehicle for the poetry of the troubadours. To students of Hispanic linguistics the knowledge of another Iberian language allows them to undertake research projects that compare and contrast different structures of those languages.


Who should I contact in Spanish in Portuguese?


You should contact this person if you want information about ...
Leah Dodson Graduate Program, financial matters, faculty requests, etc.
Mary Ellen White Maynard Undergraduate classes and course schedule
Carole Cloutier Spanish language classes (100 and 200 levels), Spanish language placement.
M.A.T. and STEP programs.
Luiz Amaral M.A. and Ph.D programs (Graduate Program Director)
Patricia Gubitosi Undergraduate Program Director
Guillem Molla Catalan language and culture
Alberto Ameal Spanish Minor: Last Name from A-L
Meghan Armstrong Spanish Minor: Last Name from M-Z
Emma Rivera-Rábago Spanish Major - class 2013
José Ornelas Spanish Major - class 2014
Emma Rivera-Rábago Spanish Major - class 2015
Albert Lloret Spanish Major - class of 2016
Patricia Gubitosi Spanish Major - class of 2017
José Ornelas Portuguese Major and Minor
Barbara Zecchi The Spanish and Portuguese unit (Program Director)