The study of Japanese opens a door to non-Western culture and provides insight into a student's own culture. Earlham's Japanese language curriculum offers courses in which students develop skills necessary to communicate in various forms, to understand linguistic and cultural structures that are different from their own, and to appreciate the writing system and cultural practices.
Based on National Standards for Foreign Language Learning, Japanese courses are designed to fulfill the 5 "Cs": Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities, and organized by the current pedagogical principles for all language learning while recognizing the unique features of Japanese.
Basic to advanced level courses apply a variety of approaches to integrate linguistic skills, enhance students' strengths, encourage individual learning styles, and monitor closely their individual progress and outcomes. Basic and intermediate level courses aim at developing linguistic and cultural proficiencies. Advanced courses, focusing on the further development of language skills, discuss cultural issues and expressive arts from different angles using written and audio/visual materials.
Seminars on special topics such as Japanese language and culture provide advanced students in-depth study of Japan-related topics. Courses on teaching Japanese as a second language combine theory and practice while providing native and non-native speakers of Japanese experience as tutors, working with Japanese language students on campus and elementary school children. Courses taught in Japanese and English such as linguistics and translation provide interdisciplinary connections between Japanese, other languages and fields.
Recent graduates in the Japanese Language Minor or those focusing on Japanese linguistics or language teaching have traveled to Japan to improve their language skills while teaching English. After returning to the United States, they go into the business sector, teach Japanese in secondary schools, attend graduate school or work in various fields.
A language fellow, a native speaker of Japanese, is a vital part of the Japanese curriculum. The fellow lives in Japan House, introduces the house members and Japanese language students to contemporary Japanese culture and assists in basic courses.
General Education Requirements
The Department offers two courses that fulfill the Language component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, JAPN 101 and 102, and four that fulfill the International component of that requirement, JAPN 382, 422, 430 and 431.
Focus Two under the Japanese Studies Major is on Japanese Language and Linguistics. See Japanese Studies for details.
The students who are majoring in programs other than Japanese Studies, and who fulfilled the General Education Language requirement by taking the basic Japanese courses may continue their Japanese language study. The Japanese Language Minor enables such students to incorporate Japanese into their major in another field.
The Japanese Language Minor requires five courses at the 300-level or above which include:
- Two advanced Japanese language courses,
- One Japanese linguistics course,
- One Japanese independent study integrated with a student's major, and
- One Japanese Studies course, excluding language skill focused courses.
Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:
- (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
- (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
- (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
- (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
- (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
- (D-I) = Diversity - International
- (D-L) = Diversity - Language
- (ES) = Earlham Seminar
- (IE) = Immersive Experience
- (RCH) = Research
- (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
- (W) = Wellness
- (WI) = Writing Intensive
- (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year
*JAPN 101 BASIC JAPANESE I (5 credits)
An outcome-based, interactive approach to basic Japanese that emphasizes the development of the linguistic and cultural competence needed to communicate with native speakers. Communication skills — interpretative, interpersonal and presentational — are developed gradually. Requires active participation in- and outside of class. (D-L)
*JAPN 102 BASIC JAPANESE II (5 credits)
A continuation of Basic Japanese I. (D-L)
JAPN 201 INTERMEDIATE JAPANESE I (5 credits)
A continuation of Basic Japanese I and II to build further language skills and cultural literacy.
JAPN 202 INTERMEDIATE JAPANESE II (5 credits)
A continuation of Intermediate Japanese I.
JAPN 301 ADVANCED JAPANESE I (4 credits)
Focuses on the further development of language skills and cultural literacy. Emphasizes acquiring an advanced level of expressions and patterns to prepare for Advanced Japanese II.
JAPN 302 ADVANCED JAPANESE II (4 credits)
Continues the acquisition of overall advanced language skills, enhancing the comprehension of Japanese culture and developing its connections with global issues.
JAPN 351 TEACHING JAPANESE AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (3 credits)
Introduction of basic current principles of language learning and teaching, and unique features of Japanese. Students practice teaching in drill sessions in Basic and Intermediate Japanese courses on campus and/or teaching in elementary schools. Taught in Japanese and English. Prerequisite: Advanced language courses or consent of the instructor.
JAPN 352 TEACHING JAPANESE AS A SECOND LANGUAGE: PRACTICUM (1-3 credits)
Students develop further pedagogical skills through teaching practice. Prerequisite: JAPN 351. (IE)
*JAPN 382 TOPICS IN JAPANESE (3 credits)
Investigates several aspects of Japanese language and culture through a variety of media, literatures and films. Students engage in projects and build independent research skills. Taught in English and Japanese. Reading materials in English and Japanese. Prerequisite: Advanced language skills or consent of the instructor. (D-I)
JAPN 383 JAPANESE CULTURE AND SOCIETY (3 credits)
This course is designed for advanced Japanese learners who further desire to develop language and research skills at a higher level, and to build skills to present their research studies both orally and in written form in Japanese. Researching their specific topics relating to Japanese culture and society in Japanese is the focus of the course. The course will be conducted entirely in Japanese. Prerequisite: JAPN 382 or consent of the instructor.
JAPN 407 TRANSLATION: THEORY AND PRACTICE (3 credits)
Studies several theoretical approaches and addresses a variety of issues. In addition to readings, discussion and research on particular aspects of translation, students design and carry out individual and group translation projects. Prerequisite: Advanced level reading skills or consent of the instructor. (AY)
*JAPN 422 JAPANESE LINGUISTICS (3 credits)
Investigates the origin, writing system, sound system, word formation and structure of Japanese language as well as the relationships between language and culture. Taught in Japanese and English. Prerequisite: Advanced language courses or consent of the instructor. (D-I)(AY)
*JAPN 430 JAPANESE LANGUAGE IN SOCIAL CONTEXT (3 credits)
Examines Japanese language in a social context to develop students' understanding of and critical thinking about the dynamic relationship between language use and society with particular reference to Japan. Topics include aspects of Japanese language and the society and interaction between them, the concept of social group, gender differences, politeness, influence of foreign languages on the Japanese language and popular culture. Taught in English and Japanese; reading materials in English and Japanese. Prerequisite: Advanced level of language skills in Japanese or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)
*JAPN 431 LITERACY IN JAPANESE (3 credits)
Examines the writing system of Japanese from psycholinguistic and pedagogical viewpoints. Includes an overview of writing systems around the world and their evolutions. (RCH, D-I) (AY)
JAPN 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
Self-designed study to accommodate an individual student's needs and interests. Intended mainly for an advanced student's investigation of a special topic.