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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Basic Japanese 1 (PG)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate . . . 

  • knowledge and understanding of basic Japanese grammar
  • knowledge and understanding of basic Japanese vocabulary
  • knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Japanese structures and expressions in a given context
  • the ability to understand short passages in written Japanese on limited everyday topics
  • the ability to produce short passages in written Japanese on limited everyday topics
  • the ability to understand spoken Japanese and to engage in short spoken discourse on limited everyday topics
  • the ability to learn Japanese autonomously through independent language-based activities (additional learning outcome for PG students)


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 3 hours per week in language classes. 10 hours will be spent in seminars/tutorials over the 22 week period.

Scope and syllabus

The course provides an introduction to Japanese language with both practical written and spoken Japanese, with an emphasis on the former. The three types of script, hiragana, katakana and 188 Chinese characters will be introduced.
Individual/group tutorials provided specifically for PG students introduce the students to work on a language learning portfolio and assist the students to pursue required components, such as listening/writing/translation tasks. The language learning portfolio enables the students to take the initiative to learn the language, which is the essential additional aspect of the PG language acquisition course.

The course provides students with a basic knowledge of Japanese and practice of using Japanese in limited everyday situations. It will allow students to interact with Japanese speakers in Japanese within the level covered in the course with some help. The insight to Japanese language will provide students with a basis to approach research topics relating to Japanese language and the histories, societies and cultures associated with Japanese.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%), a ten-minute oral examination (10%), continuous assessment (20%) and a language learning portfolio (20%) comprising of assignments and weekly termly tests.

Suggested reading

Suggested reading

From Monday of Week 1 of your study, you will be using the hiragana script (not Romanization). Our Japanese lectors will of course be giving you guidance about using and writing Japanese scripts in Week 1, but you will benefit from familiarizing yourself with the script before coming to class. Please read here for more information.

Additional Reading
  • Minna no Nihongo Shokyu [2nd version] Vol.1 Textbook
  • Minna no Nihongo Elementary Japanese I: Translation & Grammar Notes-English [2nd version]
  • Supplementary material: Workbook