Associate Degree in Languages


Program Description

The goal of the LAC is to help the students make the most of their language learning at Irvine Valley College. Our tutoring and resources are available to all students enrolled in our half-unit language conference class.


The Chinese language (also called Hanyu, zhongwen, or huawen­) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. About one-fifth of the world speaks some form of Chinese as its native language, making it the most spoken language in the world.

IVC Chinese program teaches Standard Mandarin Chinese, known as common words or national language (pu-tong-hua, or guo-yu ­), which is based on the dialect of Beijing. Standard mandarin is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, one of the four official languages of Singapore, and one of six official languages of the United Nations. Standard Mandarin also corresponds to the written Chinese forms - hanzi (Chinese characters) used by all Chinese speakers around the world.

To Learn Chinese


Patience is the first key to your success. Exposing your ears to native Chinese speaking or using audio programs will help you to get used to this unfamiliar sound system. Don't be frustrated with yourself when you find that you can only understand a few words.


Practice is the second key. Activities such as practicing with a Chinese teacher, pairing with a language partner, or visiting a Chinese restaurant or market can help you to use the language, and create your own conversation.


Practice writing each character at least 7-10 times every day until you can remember it. Quiz yourself periodically to test your memory. As you write, think of the sound and meaning of the character, and say it out loud.


Read text, or short paragraphs frequently until you can read the characters without help of Pinyin. Don't be frustrated if you find some characters you do not understand, go back to practice more on the vocabulary, and read again.

ESL and Adult ESL (AESL)

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Department offers English language classes to nonnative speakers of English to help them succeed in college, at their jobs, and in the community. Students can take classes at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels during the day or at night.

Students from all ages, cultures and educational backgrounds enroll in our classes in order to improve their English to accomplish their own unique English goal. Some students take ESL classes to improve their English to succeed in other college courses, some take classes to find or keep a job, and some take classes to improve their communication with their family, neighbors, co-workers and community. The ESL Department is here to help students with all of their needs.

Our two English language programs are tailored to meet students’ educational goals.

Adult English as a Second Language (AESL)

  • English language and U.S. culture lessons to help at work, with family, in the community, or at school:
    • Speaking with people at your job or your children’s school
    • Writing personal or professional emails
    • Finding information online
  • Non-credit (0 units)
  • Costs: $19 Health Fee plus textbooks and materials
  • Classes meet 12 hours a week
  • Monday to Thursday, day and evening classes
  • Class schedules vary
    • Open entry: Students can enroll up to the 13th week of the semester
  • Beginning, intermediate and low advanced levels
English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Academic English preparation for a degree or certificate at IVC or to transfer to a four-year university:
    • Writing paragraphs and essays in MLA format
    • Learning academic vocabulary
    • Reading and analyzing texts
  • Focused skills courses in one area, such as conversation, grammar, pronunciation, reading or vocabulary
  • Credit (3 or 5 unit courses)
  • Costs: $46/unit (for CA residents) plus $19 Health Fee plus textbooks and materials
  • Classes meet 3-5 hours a week
  • Students need to enroll before the end of the second (2nd) week of the semester
  • Beginning, intermediate and advanced levels


The French Department at IVC emphasizes engaging and dynamic instruction. Our instructors are highly educated, experienced and passionate about teaching French language and culture. We believe that interaction is the ultimate means and goal of language learning. Instructors create a stress free, fun environment that make French approachable. Instructors use activities like listening, recognition, repetition, dialogues, skits, games, songs, and videos. This style of teaching is effective and by the end of the first semester of French, students are already able to communicate with native speakers on basic topics. Additionally, students enrolled in French classes enjoy considerable support from their instructors, in the Language Acquisition Center and in the mini-community of French learners the engaging class style creates. French 21, our French culture and civilization class is taught online, in English and introduce students to the basics of French culture.

  • French 1 and 2, our first year beginner French classes, focus on listening and communication and develop speaking skills in everyday life situations.
  • French 3 and 4, our second year, intermediate French classes continue to focus on communication while making room for more advanced grammar and vocabulary.
  • French 10 and 11 are conversation classes and provide opportunities for improving and practicing vocabulary, connect students directly with French and Francophone people and organizations in the community and allow for conversing freely in French.


The Japanese program at Irvine Valley College has been approved by California Community Colleges Chancellor in May, 2006, as one of the foreign language majors in AA degree. Currently, we offer three levels of classes, Beginning Japanese (JA1 and JA2), Intermediate Japanese (JA3 and JA4), and Advance Japanese (JA5); and conversation class, Intermediate Conversational Japanese (JA10).

In addition to language classes, we offer cultural classes, "Introduction to Japanese Culture" (JA21) and "Japanese Anime and Manga" (JA23) which are conducted in English and explores various cultural aspects of Japan. These classes are offered as DE (on-line) courses during the regular semester and have been very popular and students are encouraged to sign up early.

We have several adjunct instructors who use communicative methods and students who seek for Japan​ese major in AA degree can complete all required courses at Irvine Valley College in two years; JA1 through 4, and JA21 (culture class). Our beginning-level classes offer fun and spirited interactive Japanese learning experience and we try to make the learning process easy and enjoyable.

The language classes are conducted in Japanese, and students learn the Japanese writing and reading system in the first few weeks of the course. However, our emphasis is on speaking and understanding the Japanese spoken by the native speakers. We encourage students to speak to native speakers even though their grammar is not perfect. To enhance and widen the opportunity to speak to and hear the native Japanese speakers, the instructors enlist Japanese students to participate and assist the classroom activities. We also incorporate 'chat sessions' with the native speakers either before or after the class.

The understanding of culture is another important factor of language acquisition. During the class, students will also learn different cultural aspects that are closely related to language.

Sign Language

The department offers courses from the beginning through the advanced level in French and beginning through intermediate level courses in Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish. In addition, the department offers courses in American Sign Language at all levels for those wishing to develop receptive and expressive skills for communicating with the hearing impaired. All courses are designed to develop the student's listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills, as well as to provide a general overview of civilization and culture. Curriculum in all languages includes lower-division courses that are fully transferable to a four-year college or university.


Students who major in a foreign language at the lower-division level concentrate on learning to understand, speak, read, and write a foreign language. In the process, students develop a more profound understanding of the world and gain insights into its complexities—culturally, politically, economically, and socially. Of course, as our world grows increasingly interdependent and international travel readily accessible, the knowledge of a foreign language will prove of benefit to all.

Students at Irvine Valley College may choose to major in French, Japanese or Spanish. The faculty recommends that majors do not select a language course to meet the arts and languages general education requirement, but instead choose a course in one of the arts that is of interest to them.


The Spanish Department at Irvine Valley College invites you to become a part of our dynamic and interactive Spanish program. All of our classes are conducted in Spanish. Our professors are highly skilled at using images, objects, and sound effects to convey meaning without using English and utilizing music, games and pair or group activities to practice and review Spanish vocabulary. The only way to gain fluency in Spanish is to be surrounded by the sounds of the language and given many opportunities to both hear and speak it!

The emphasis in Spanish 1 and 2 is on learning to understand native spoken and written Spanish and to express yourself in basic situations. In Spanish 3 and 4 spoken Spanish continues to be a focus as more detailed grammar and more complex reading materials are presented. Spanish 10 and 11 are second year courses with a focus on conversation. Both of these courses use music, news media and film to enhance student appreciation of Hispanic culture and sharpen speaking skills.

Cost & Fees

ALL fees are subject to change. Registration is not complete until all required course fees have been paid.

Last updated Nov 2017

About the School

?Irvine Valley College (IVC) combines a small-college environment with more than 60 acres of modern facilities and equipment; dedicated staff; and an excellent faculty who combine knowledge and experi ... Read More

?Irvine Valley College (IVC) combines a small-college environment with more than 60 acres of modern facilities and equipment; dedicated staff; and an excellent faculty who combine knowledge and experience with a sincere commitment to learning. IVC offers day and evening classes, on campus or online. Read less