Explore Languages

Over the past few years, Normandale has served hundreds of adult learners through our languages courses, helping them gain new skills and enrich their lives.

Featured Programs

American Sign Language

These courses develop your ability to converse in American Sign Language and build confidence in your skills. Contact us for current offerings.



Mandarin Chinese becoming the first choice as second language. http://tinyurl.com/9jvaz9l
Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan, and is one of the official languages of Singapore and the United Nations.

Youmei Hou
has been a language instructor for 20 years. She taught in Zhaoqing College in China for 11 years, and was an exchange instructor in 2000. In 2002, she returned to the United States and enrolled in classes for her master's degree at North Dakota State University. Youmei is also an interpreter working in the Twin Cities.

What our students say about Youmei:

» "Youmei is delightful and  makes learning fun.
» "It is a very good course. I enjoyed it and learned a lot."
» "I really enjoyed this class and will continue to learn more."
» "From my previous experience with trying to learn Chinese, I thought that this would be really hard to do. The class was all adult learners and a lot of us were initially nervous. However, Youmei Hou (the instructor) immediately created a relaxed setting and was always there to help us. Every year, I travel to China for my business and now feel much more confident because of the knowledge I gained in this class." - Nancy Peterson, CEO Display Sales

English Speaking

Since 2006, students from more than 45 countries have participated in our accent reduction classes!


Being confident that you'll be understood is an essential component of learning, successful employment, and community involvement. At Normandale, we have several options to help you improve your English speaking skills in a warm, safe and fun environment. Instructor Claire Tokar describes each class as "a temporary world family, where learners can connect with each other." Having overcome a learning disability herself, Claire knows first-hand how challenging it is to spell and pronounce unfamiliar words. "It takes courage to work on speaking skills. I admire the learners who do this, and it is an honor to teach them."

Claire Campbell-Norman
has been teaching pronunciation skills for over 25 years as a speech and singing teacher. Her work with ESL began about 15 years ago with one on one coaching for professional people from Asia, Africa, and South America. Claire is a language consultant for an international PR firm, coaching their foreign clients. She applies the same techniques that are successful in private sessions to small classes of learners with international backgrounds thorough Normandale.


Learn French phrases that are comonly used in airports, hotels, restaurants, and among your French colleagues.

Rose Mingo is from Haiti and a native French and Creole speaker. She has been teaching for Normandale for more than 10 years.


» "She is a great instructor! Fast paced and very informative."
» " Learning was extremely easy with Rose. She puts things in perspective & makes it practical."
» " I learned a lot and enjoyed it."


Whether you are interested in art, opera, history or architecture, learning Italian will lead you to a deeper understanding of these and many other expressions of Italian culture.

Each Italian course has a bonus online classroom (at Sophia.org) where your instructor will post recaps of each week's lesson. An access code will be provided on the first day of classes.

Paola Foresti Faul
is a native Roman who traveled often as a child and became interested in foreign languages and cultures. She was an exchange student for a year at a Minnesota high school and holds a degree in English and Biology from St. Olaf College. She has nearly completed a degree in English, Spanish, linguistics and language teaching at the University of Rome. Paola has taught conversation in Japan for three years and in Italian high schools for 7 years, and became a tenured high school teacher of English Conversation in Trezzo sull'Adda (Milan), Italy before relocating to the United States. She has volunteered for the bilingual children's program at the Italian Cultural Institute in Minneapolis/St. Paul and is passionate about teaching and sharing her interest in foreign cultures with her students.


You will learn the practical, communicative and essential language patterns used in everyday life. Learn how the old and new coexist, and become familiar with the culture in a way that'll help you communicate more effectively with native Japanese speakers.

Michiko Kato Dressen
is a native of Oita City, Japan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Voice and Music Education in from Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and her Master's degree in Education/Human Development from the University of Minnesota. She joined the Japanese Language & Cultures project at Intermediate District 287 in Plymouth, Minnesota and taught at various High Schools in the Hennepin County area for over 20 years. She has also taught Japanese language classes at the Minnesota Japanese Saturday School; Metropolitan State University; and was an adjunct professor for the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.


» "The instructor was so engaging and easy to follow. It was thoroughly enjoyable to come to class."
» "The class was very well done and Michiko was great. She made learning fun and interesting. I would definitely take more classes taught by her!"
» "By far Michiko is the best language instructor I have ever had."


Our Beginning Spanish program is designed for beginners whose goal is to eventually become fluent. These classes help learners build a solid foundation of Spanish grammar and an extensive vocabulary to equip them for a continuing, in-depth study of the language.


LeAnn Taylor has been teaching Spanish to adults since 1994 and teaching for Normandale since 2001. She really enjoys teaching the Continuing Education classes because the students are so self-motivated. Her approach is to teach vocabulary and grammar and then provide many opportunities for practice using games and conversation. LeAnn likes to tap into all of the different ways that the brain learns, hoping to help all learning styles succeed. Students have a lot of fun in every class.

Paulino Brener was born in Santo Tomé, Santa Fe, Argentina. In addition to teaching Spanish to learners of all ages, he has been doing theater and dance in the Twin Cities since 2001. Paulino's previous teaching experience includes Concordia Language Villages, Macalester College, Spring Hill Waldorf School and City of Lakes Waldorf School. He is passionate about languages and cultures, teaching, performing, technology, Social Media and doing craft.