Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs)

The center strives to support all languages on campus, including those that do not have a home department or program.

Courses are taught by instructors who are native speakers of the language. These instructors offer linguistic knowledge as well as a cultural perspective on the language.

We also host conversation tables and celebrations of holidays and festivals. This way, students may apply their language skills while learning about the culture where the language is spoken.

Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) courses have particular value for students who:

  • Plan to conduct research in a country or region where an LCTL is spoken

  • Wish to work abroad in a governmental agency or a nonprofit organization

  • Grew up speaking an LCTL at home and wish to further develop their proficiency in it

  • Intend to advance policies, education, or democracy in a country or region where an LCTL is spoken

  • Hope to expand their horizons by gaining proficiency in an LCTL

  • Plan to apply for the CSLC's Summer Language Abroad Grant to further your proficiency in an LCTL 


Hindi is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world and is the preferred official language of India. It is spoken there as a first language by 425 million people and as a second language by 100 million more. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Hindi is taught by a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from India. As enterprise continues to expand into India, opportunities to live and work there increase.


Quechua is an indigenous language spoken by approximately eight to ten million speakers, living primarily in the Peruvian Andes. Quechua will be taught by our Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Ecuador. 


Swahili is a widely spoken language in Africa, and is the national language of Kenya, Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are between 50 and 100 million speakers spread across different countries in eastern and southeastern Africa where it is a lingua franca. The CSLC offers Swahili with an instructor from one of the Swahili-speaking countries, Kenya. Knowledge of Swahili is a valuable skill for researchers, summer program students, and tourists.

Did you know?

The U.S. government seeks speakers of less commonly taught languages—or critical languages. This is because these languages are important to U.S. national security.

Learning Swahili has not only been an intellectual highlight of my experience at Notre Dame, it has opened a world of possibilities for me. As an anthropology major, I now have the skills to undertake future fieldwork in East Africa. Swahili has been the launchpad to get me to Zanzibar where I am now, continuing to learn the language through the CSLC's SLA program. It has enabled me to conduct original research for my senior thesis, an important step for a future PhD program.
-Nyakeh Tuchscherer ‘21

LCTL Offerings in 2020-2021

Winter Session

CSLC 10156/60156: Unlocking India, Kenya and Ecuador's Languages and Cultures

Offered for the first time in the Winter 2020 session, this new course gives students the key to India, Kenya, and Ecuador's languages and cultures. Three of the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures' Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) from these countries will teach language for basic communication in their native languages of Hindi, Swahili, and Kichwa (Quechua) as well as share unique, fascinating details about their countries and cultures. The course will be split into three sections, each week focusing on one language and culture. Enroll to continue on the path toward being a global citizen. The CSLC offers courses in these three languages and cultures every semester.

Spring 2021

CSLC 10102/60002 Beginning Swahili II
CSLC 20201/60201 Intermediate Swahili I
CSLC 40003 Advanced Conversational Swahili II
CSLC 17001/60155 Beginning Hindi I
CSLC 10154/60154 Beginning Hindi II
CSLC 10151 Beginning Quechua (Kichwa) I
CSLC 10152 Beginning Quechua (Kichwa) II

Fall 2020

CSLC 10101/60001 Beginning Swahili I (online)
CSLC 40001 Advanced Conversational Swahili (online)
CSLC 10151/60155 Beginning Quechua I (online)
CSLC 17001/60155 Beginning Hindi I (online)