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LL Seminar Japanese Linguistics


Admission requirements

For students majoring in Japan Studies, it is useful to have a BA2 Language & Linguistics Seminar conducted in the first semester. Background in linguistics is a plus. Only elementary knowledge of Japanese will be assumed in order to make the course accessible for students outside the Japan Studies program.


In this course, we will discuss various aspects of Japanese Linguistics more or less comprehensively. Topics include phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, typology, dialectology, historical linguistics and socio-linguistics.

What are the grammatical patterns of Japanese that make it different from Dutch and English? Conversely, what are some properties of the Japanese grammar that look surprisingly similar to that of Dutch and English? How did the Japanese language change over time? How is Japanese related to other languages in the area? How are dialects in Japan different from each other? How have the Japanese society and the Japanese language influenced each other? We will discuss these basic issues of Japanese Linguistics through examining concrete examples and empirical puzzles available in the current literature.

Unlike language acquisition classes, our approach is not prescriptive (“how speakers should use the language”), but it is descriptive (“how speakers use the language in reality”). That is, we will treat various phenomena of Japanese as objective facts to be described, rather than something to be judged as right or wrong.
h3. Course objectives

1) To acquire basic knowledge of Japanese Linguistics.
2) To become familiar with basic linguistic terms and concepts.
3) To be able to think critically about issues relating to the structure, historical change and variation of the Japanese language.
4) To develop oral and writing skills to express certain aspects of the Japanese language.


The timetable is available on the Japanstudies

Mode of instruction

The lecturer will lead the discussions on various empirical problems in Japanese linguistics. Students are required to actively participate in these class discussions and prepare for them through reading assignments and working on exercises.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Classes: 2hours x 12 = 24 hours

  • Reading assignments: 28 hours

  • Assignments and preparation for weekly quizzes: 30 hours

  • Preparation for the presentation: 16 hours

  • Work on the final research paper: 42 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation (with a minimum attendance of 70%): 20%

  • Assignments and weekly quizzes: 30%

  • Oral presentation of the final project: 10%

  • Final research paper (2.000 to 2.500 words): 40%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average


Resit will be composed of similar sub-tests (ie a combination of written assignments, a review of the work and an exam).


Blackboard will be used for all relevant information relating to the college, including course content, assignments, literature and links. All students must log in to Blackboard.

Reading list

The following textbook (Tsujimura 2014) will be used. The students have to purchase either the paperback version or the e-book version prior to the beginning of the course.

  • Tsujimura, Natsuko. 2014. An introduction to Japanese Linguistics. Third Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. W. Uegaki