East Asian Languages and Cultures | Japanese Language and Society
E270 | 1589 | Watt


This course offers a basic introduction to aspects of Japanese language that
reflect the culture and social structures of Japan. We will be asking
questions such as: Why are the concepts of "in-group" and "out-group" so
important in Japanese? To what extent has Japanese been influenced by
English? Why do men and women speak differently? What are common on-verbal
aspects of spoken Japanese? What is the role of silence in Japanese
communication?  Why do Japanese use honorific and humble expressions? How
are the concepts reflected in the language? The course aims at developing
students' understanding of the intimate relationship that exists between
language and society. Students are asked to reflect upon their own languages
and societies as they examine the Japanese case. Students will not only read
articles on a range of topics but also will view films, TV programs, and
other firsthand materials. Requirements include three short exercises (1-2
pages), midterm and final exams, and a paper (suggestions for paper topics
will be provided). Knowledge of Japanese is not required.