SOAS University of London

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

Issues in Japanese language learning

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2019/2020
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

The module introduces students to Japanese-specific areas of the field of language learning. It guides students to research on and in Japanese language regarding a number of topical issues in the field, theoretical frameworks, approaches, methodologies.


For students on MA Applied Linguistics (Language Teaching pathway) this module is required for students specializing in Japanese along with 15PJKC031: Japanese Language Teaching Practice

For students on MA Japanese Studies you can only take this module if you are taking a language acquisition module in Japanese.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the main themes, issues and debates in the field of language learning with particular reference to the features of Japanese
  2. Demonstrate some familiarity with theoretical and empirical research in the field, both in Japanese and English
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the specific challenges in the learning of different aspects of the Japanese language, and how these relate to different levels of linguistic analysis
  4. Demonstrate awareness of the language learner’s point of view, as well of some self-awareness, regarding processes, issues, challenges involved in using a second language


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

The following syllabus is indicative and will be updated regularly.

  1. Introduction to issues in Japanese language learning: Views (and stereotypes) of Japanese language and Japanese culture – what is there to learn
  2. Japanese language acquisition/learning: Acquisition of Japanese as a first, second, or foreign language; language socialization
  3. Japanese language acquisition/learning – 2: Levels of linguistic analysis: Japanese phonetics/phonology, morphology, lexicon and their learning
  4. Japanese language acquisition/learning – 3: Levels of linguistic analysis: Japanese speech acts, cultural features and their learning
  5. Psycholinguistic vs sociocultural approaches to Japanese language learning: Conceptual frameworks and terminology
  6. (Psycho) linguistic perspectives on Japanese language learning: Acquisition sequences: acquisition of Japanese verbal morphology; modal markers; case particles
  7. Sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on Japanese language learning: Pragmatic features: speech acts
  8. Sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on Japanese language learning 2: Pragmatic features: sentence final particles; gendered language
  9. Sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on Japanese language learning 3: Pragmatic features: honorification
  10. Student presentations: REFLECTIONS on language learning experiences (learner diaries; observations)

Method of assessment

An essay of 2500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 9, in the term of teaching (40%); an essay of 2500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, in the term following teaching (40%); an oral presentation of 10-15 minutes duration (20%).

Suggested reading

Selected articles from the following books/journals
  • DuFon, M. A., & Churchill, E. (2006). Language learners in study abroad contexts. Clevedon, England, Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters. Ebook Central Academic Complete.
  • Freed, B. F. (1995). Second language acquisition in a study abroad context. Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: J. Benjamins. Ebook Central Academic Complete.
  • Minami, M. (2016). Handbook of Japanese applied linguistics. Boston, [Massachusetts] ; Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter Mouton. Ebook Central Academic Complete.
  • Mori, J., & Ohta, A. S. (2008). Japanese applied linguistics: Discourse and social perspectives. London: Continuum.
  • Pizziconi Barbara and Miriam Locher (eds.) (2015). Teaching and learning (im)politeness. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Satō, S., & Doerr, N. M. (2014). Rethinking language and culture in Japanese education: Beyond the standard. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  • Seedhouse, P., Walsh, S., & Jenks, C. (2010). Conceptualising 'learning' in applied linguistics. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Taguchi, N. (2009). Pragmatic competence. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • East Asian Pragmatics
  • Intercultural Pragmatics
  • Issues in Applied Linguistics
  • Japanese language and literature
  • Japanese Studies
  • Journal of pragmatics
  • Language Learning
  • Multilingua
  • Nihongo Kyoiku


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules