Languages, Literature and Composition at USC Upstate

Languages, Literature and Composition Current Students

Why Languages?

Online Textbook Supersite Getting Started

Online Textbook Supersite Technology Requirements

Online Textbook Supersite Support

Online Textbook Supersite How-To Videos

Know Your Target Goals

Students studying the U101 and U102 courses in world languages should develop survival skills at the novice level that allow you to begin to communicate across languages. Check out our guides:

Skills for Beginning to Communicate (Novice Mid) in World Languages U101 

Skills for Beginning to Communicate (Novice High) in World Languages U102

Get the Book Right Away and Do the Online Language Lab Every Day

Communicating in world languages is a skill, not a set of content that you can learn by cramming for a test. Babies learn languages by hearing languages in the world around them. Your brain is wired to learn language through practice, so use the resources provided in your class to make learning easy. Check out this easy guide to getting started through the online Portales or Sag Mal Supersites. 

Study Every Day! 

Think of learning a language like developing muscle memory for fitness. The more you study, the more you learn. The more often you study, the easier it is to learn. 

Space Your Study Time

Study in 15-30 minute blocks throughout the day and break up the minutes over different sections: 10 minutes for grammar, 10 for new vocabulary, and so on. Make sure you add in practice time, too! Online lab components of your course textbooks can make practice fun, and free programs and apps like Duolingo can remind you to practice in 10-minute blocks. 

Class Time Matters

Your class time helps you practice what you study with live feedback from expert professors. World language professors are trained to know what it is like to learn a new language, including mispronouncing or mixing up vocabulary. They are excited to see you try--even if you aren't perfect the first time around. Show up, pay attention, and participate!


Classmates are your study buddies. Get to know them and the professor so that you will become more comfortable practicing and testing out your growing language skills.

Grammar Is Important, No Matter the Language

Go over your English grammar through sites like Grammarly and Purdue University's Online Writing Lab, and your world language grammar will be easier to understand. Compare what you do with nouns, verbs, pronouns, direct objects, adjectives, and adverbs across the languages you know. 

Practice, Practice, Practice, for Those Tests

Practice makes perfect so practice what you need, especially for tests! Learn what will be on your test, like writing, speaking, vocabulary, or particular sentence structures. Then try different ways to study, like making up your own test questions or using flashcards (many online textbook applications have built-in flashcards for vocabulary). 

Attitude Counts

Think of all the good reasons to learn a language and to find out more about the cultures that are part of our Upstate community, our international business climate, and our world. Set positive goals for yourself: Do you want to work in one of the 600 international businesses in our area? Do you want to be better at reaching future clients, students, patients who come from other cultures and speak other languages? Or do you just want to know all the words to your favorite Luis Fonsi song? Every lesson is one step closer to reaching those goals.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Whether it's with your professor, a study partner or group, or a language tutor, be ready to ask for help if you don't understand. Have you ever googled a text abbreviation in the urban dictionary or asked a friend what an obscure sports term means? That's how we build our language skills in life. The same is true with a second language. 

Remember to Play, Laugh, and Explore the Joy of Words

Watch a younger sibling or a child make up funny rhymes or sing silly songs with words, and you can see how fun language can be. Take a break from vocabulary lists by looking up songs, tongue twisters, or jokes in the language you are learning, and you'll find those songs and rhymes help you remember details at test time. 

Are You Using Portales or Sag Mal?

Remember that your Portales or Sag Mal Supersite has great built-in help and support until midnight most days of the week. Be sure to check out the technical requirements for using Portales, and remember that the USC Upstate library has a 24-hour computer lab with updated computers available for students all semester long.  The VHL Supersite offers a quick list of how-to videos for students including screenshots that show how to submit a range of assignments. And don't forget, you can always ask your professors for help as well.