SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

The Structure of Japanese 1

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/2018
Year of study:
Year 2 of 4 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1


None. (No prior knowledge of linguistics is required).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should have gained comprehensive knowledge and methodology of the general theoretical/formal issues in Japanese syntax. Students are expected to uncover fundamental linguistic properties of the Japanese language by comparing it with English and some other languages. This module also enables students to observe the Japanese language in a systematic way and to develop overall skills of analysis and argumentation when writing an academic essay. Obligatory class discussion, book/article presentations and problem-solving exercises will help equip students with greater confidence in arguing their own points with others.  This module provides students opportunities to develop their idea for further independent project in linguistics (e.g, Independent Study Project or BA dissertation).


A total of 11 weeks teaching with a 2 hour lecture per week.

Scope and syllabus

This module introduces students to the studies of Japanese syntax from the generative grammar point of view. The topics in this module are: configurationality, reflexives, passives, causatives, and etc., comparing with those in English and other languages. Class time is two hours per week. During the first one-hour session, students will present a summary of the relevant part of the text/article and discuss the problems raised in class. The other one-hour session will consist of lectures and group work on problem-solving exercises. Full student participation is expected in these discussions. Students are also required to read texts or to prepare for presentations in advance.

Method of assessment

One-two hour written examination taken in May/June (70%) and one coursework essays of 2,500 words due at the end of Term 1 (30%).

Suggested reading

A reading list for this module will be given to students at the beginning of the module.

Required reading: Tsujimura, Natsuko. (2006) An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules