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World Languages Placement Test

Our current offerings include: Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish. All four of our language programs offer the opportunity for qualified students to enroll in Accelerated or AP level work starting sophomore year.

Each student at Sage Hill School must fulfill two criteria to meet the foreign language requirement for graduation: 1) three years of study and 2) completion of Level III of any language. Most of our students follow their course of study for their first three years and many continue for a fourth.

For those students who do not have any prior academic and/or real-life experience in the language that you choose, please sign up for a Level I course. You will not be required to take a placement test.

For those students who have taken a foreign language in middle school and wish to continue either in Level II or III, you must take an online placement test, which will be administered on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Registration for the placement test is at www.sagehillschool.org/languages. Please RSVP before May 1 2020.

If you feel that your skills exceed the descriptions of Level I or II courses, but you will not able to attend the placement test day, you must email the Department Chair, Ms. Analaura Brophy, at brophya@sagehillshchool.org, and the appropriate teacher will contact you to arrange for a placement exam that will take place after the conclusion of our courses in June.

If you are a heritage speaker (bilingual or native) of any of our languages and plan on enrolling in that program, please contact us about placement. Depending on your proficiency level, we might suggest that you take another language and then enroll in one of our Accelerated or AP courses at a later time. Please note that freshmen are not eligible to enroll in Accelerated or AP world language courses.

If you or your parent(s) still have questions regarding placement, you may contact the teacher listed for each language below or contact Ms. Brophy.

World Languages

List of 8 items.

  • Chinese I

    Chinese I is an introductory course designed for learners without prior knowledge of the Chinese language. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of Standard Mandarin, known as “pu tong hua” (普通话) in China, or “han yu” (汉语) in academia. All levels of Chinese at Sage Hill School are taught in simplified characters. Students who have already taken Chinese I should be able to introduce themselves, their family members and friends, describe people, tell time, count from 1-100, give dates, respond to simple instruction given in Chinese, and comprehend approximately 150-200 high-frequency characters without pinyin. An essential part of our Chinese program is devoted to developing an appreciation for and understanding of Chinese culture. Students in past years have prepared their own tofu and dumplings from scratch, learned techniques of Chinese calligraphy, made their own paper shadow puppets, made masks of classic Beijing opera characters and collaborated with a troupe of Chinese dragon dancers to celebrate the New Year.

    Please contact Joanne Chen at chenj@sagehillschool.org or 949.270.2311 if you have any further questions.
  • Chinese II

    Chinese II is the continuation of Chinese I and requires successful completion of the latter. In additional to helping students consolidate their knowledge of Chinese obtained in Chinese I, this course aims to focus on oral proficiency and vocabulary knowledge. Students who have already taken Chinese II should be able to make an appointment with others, give a campus tour and show someone around a house, explain daily class schedules, talk about extracurricular activities, and respond to basic instructions given in Chinese and comprehend approximately 250-400 high-frequency characters without pinyin. Students speak Chinese in every class, take regular written and oral assessments, and research different aspects of Chinese culture, such as the holidays, inventions, poems, idioms and major historical events. In additional to the Huanying textbook and workbook, supplemental reading materials are used in all levels of Chinese classes. An essential part of our Chinese program is devoted to developing an appreciation for and understanding of Chinese culture.  Students in past years have prepared their own tofu and dumplings from scratch, learned techniques of Chinese calligraphy, made their own paper shadow puppets, made masks of classic Beijing opera characters and collaborated with a troupe of Chinese dragon dancers to celebrate the New Year.  

    Please contact Joanne Chen at chenj@sagehillschool.org or 949.270.2311 if you have any further questions.
  • French I

    French I is a course that introduces the alphabet, basic phonetics, fundamentals of grammar, and covers the regular and irregular verb conjugations of present tense verbs. Thematic units are presented on family, school, shopping, food, clothing, sports, and modes of transportation. Students learn to discuss these topics both in written work and in conversation. Students also study various cultural elements of the Francophone world. There is a balanced approach; equal emphasis is placed on speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. A student who has already taken French I should be able to introduce and talk about themselves and others, comprehend descriptions of people and objects, use the simple future (aller + infinitive), tell time and talk about the weather, count from 1-1000, give dates, and respond to classroom instructions given in French.  Students periodically do PowerPoint presentations using basic French language.

    Please contact Nadine Phares at pharesn@sagehillschool.org if you have any further questions.
  • French II

    French II builds on a fundamental knowledge of the French language and the cultures of French-speaking world. The course continues to emphasize effective, confident communication. French II covers cultural themes including talking about yourself and others, weekend activities, meals and food shopping, free time and entertainment, sports and health, and house and home. French II also covers new major language structures such as the irregular present tense verbs, the past tense, idiomatic expressions, the reflexive tense, the imperfect tense, relative pronouns, and direct/indirect object pronouns. Students sustain simple conversations on topics in present, past, and future tenses, understand the same material when spoken by a native speaker, and read more difficult passages from authentic materials. They also expand their knowledge of the culture of France and other French-speaking countries. Students speak French in every class, take regular written, listening and oral assessments, conduct research on aspects of French culture, and perform short dialogues. In addition to the textbook and workbook, supplemental materials including music, film and poetry are studied.

    Please contact Nadine Phares at pharesn@sagehillschool.org if you have any further questions.
  • Latin I

    Latin I immerses students into a living language experience, wherein speaking, reading and translating play a primary role. Latin I students, delving into language, derivatives, history, culture, mythology and other topics related to the classics, use the layered framework of the Cambridge Latin Course as their guide (Stages 1 to 15). Writing, presenting and analyzing are also valuable experiences in a course designed to build the knowledge, interest and confidence of its students from the first “salve” (hello) to the last “vale” (goodbye).  Acquiring a facility to read and comprehend Latin is at the heart of each student’s experience, and thus a foundation of 500 vocabulary words is a focus. Along the way, students will master the basic morphology of verbs (four conjugations, three active tenses), and know well the declension and syntax of nouns (1st to 3rd), basic pronouns (personal to relative), and most adjective types and degrees — according to all cases but the locative. Students will also become familiar with three verb moods (infinitive, imperative and indicative) and some dependent clauses (adverbial, relative, etc.). Thus, the end goal of the course is to have offered a carefully orchestrated balance of language and classical literacy so that its students emerge that much richer and alive with a new set of classical skills for use and enjoyment in the modern world. Enrolling students are not required to possess any knowledge of Latin.

    Please contact Jeffrey Feland at FelandJ@sagehillschool.org or 949.270.2329 if you have any further questions.
  • Latin II

    Latin II continues the immersive language experience of the first year, wherein reading aloud, writing, translating and some speaking all play a part. Parallel to language development, the course offers consistent exposure to classical history, culture, mythology and derivatives so as to maximize connections and analytical discussion. The Cambridge Latin Course is the source of most subjects, and the measure of pacing vocabulary and grammar. The course will start around Stage 15 or 16, and strive to reach Stage 24 or 25. At this point, the student’s two-year, cumulative vocabulary base will reach about 1,000 words. As vocabulary and syntax increase, so will the opportunity to read small but authentic passages from such authors as Catullus, Caesar, Jerome, Plautus, et al. Throughout this “living Latin” approach, we expect students to pronounce Latin comfortably in the classical Roman style. Latin morphology takes on a bigger role in Latin II, as students must have the facility to reproduce and identify nouns, pronouns, conjugated verbs, verb moods, and verbal nouns. For mythology and classical history, topic specific textbooks will continue to provide a rich array of stories, aetiological summations, literary devices, and topics for discussion. Similarly, research and presentations of classically based terms, phrases and items concludes the effort of the class to make its students “classical.”

    Please contact Jeffrey Feland at FelandJ@sagehillschool.org or 949.270.2329 if you have any further questions.
  • Spanish I

    Spanish I is a course that is designed so a student is able to talk about himself/herself in a variety of ways. By the end of Spanish I, a student is expected to have knowledge of sufficient vocabulary and grammar in order to greet others appropriately, talk and write about the activities they enjoy or dislike, describe their daily routines, describe their family members and friends including ages and birthdays, and talk about the courses they take at school. Fundamentally, the individual student becomes the central theme of the course. Students are expected to know how to conjugate and use regular, irregular and stem-changing verbs in the present tense and in the present progressive.  They should not only know how to conjugate verbs but also to know what the verbs mean.  They should be familiar with gustar-type verbs, know the uses of ser and estar and differentiate them and to use the direct and indirect object pronouns in simple sentences.  In terms of vocabulary, they should be able to navigate number operations such as counting, expressing prices, time and dates.  They should be familiar with vocabulary to describe family relationships, school subjects and weather expressions, and to understand and respond to questions using interrogative words.  We emphasize speaking and writing in our classes and students should feel comfortable responding to questions using Spanish and speaking at the sentence level. 

    Please contact Diego Izurieta at IzurietaD@sagehillschool.org or 949.270-2321 if you have any further questions.
  • Spanish II

    The students in Spanish II will broaden their understanding and use of the Spanish language, building on the fundamental knowledge acquired in Spanish I.  In addition, they will expand their knowledge of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Spanish II emphasizes effective communication using all four basic skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The thematic units covered in Spanish II include clothing and shopping, celebrations, food and nutrition, health and wellness, and technology. These themes are studied through the lens of cultural practices and traditions from around the Spanish-speaking world. Grammatical structures include: reflexive verbs, past tense verbs (contrast and use of preterit and imperfect to narrate), gustar-type verbs, comparisons, superlatives, double object pronouns, adverbs and informal commands. Students can sustain simple conversations in Spanish on topics in the present and past tenses and understand the same material when spoken by a native speaker. Students read passages in Spanish at their level and can comprehend more challenging readings of authentic materials. Students speak Spanish in every class, take regular written, listening, and oral assessments, conduct research on aspects of Spanish culture, and perform short monologues and dialogues. In addition to the textbook, workbook and online supersite, supplemental materials include music, film and other authentic resources in Spanish.

    Please contact Diego Izurieta at IzurietaD@sagehillschool.org or 949.270-2321 if you have any further questions.

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