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HUM Seminar Introduction to Japanese Linguistics


Admission requirements

This course is only accessible for BA Japanstudies students.


This introductory course examines linguistic aspects which characterize the Japanese language. We do this by exploring how adult learners acquire these aspects. The scope of the linguistic areas dealt with in the course will be limited to the sound system, vocabulary and word-formation, pragmatics and multi-modal communication. General issues that will be discussed include the role of native language in acquiring the Japanese sound system, the acquisition of Japanese-specific expressive words (mimetics), bilingual identity and language use (gendered language), and the co-occurrence of speech and gesture by mono- and bilinguals.

Course objectives

  • To foster understanding in issues that relate to second language acquisition and use.

  • To develop the ability to think critically about research findings in the field, and present opinions and arguments in written and oral form.

  • To raise awareness of one’s own language learning, and cultivate the ability to relate one’s own learning situations to theories and findings in the field.

  • To develop skills of finding a proper research topic/question, analysis and argumentation when writing an academic essay.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:

  • Participation elements (participation, presentation, assignments): 30%

  • Analytical paper and final essay: 70%


The final grade is established by determining the weighted average of all elements. In order to pass the course, all elements must receive a passing grade (6 or higher).


There is a two-deadline policy for all papers; for those who miss this deadline, this means they have failed on the first attempt. Those who fail on the first attempt—whether by not submitting a paper by the first deadline, or by submitting an inadequate paper—will have one more (second and last) chance to submit their paper by the second deadline.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

P. Lightbown & N. Spada (2013) How languages are learned (fourth edition). New York: Oxford University Press.

Other readings will be announced in class.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


Not applicable.