Universität Wien FIND

150105 VO Introduction to the Japanese Language (2020W)

3.00 ECTS (1.00 SWS), SPL 15 - Ostasienwissenschaften

Registration for all classes, please (Introduction, Jap. Grammatik und Kommunikation Japanisch)


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: English, Japanese

Examination dates



COURSE TYPE: digital-asynchronous in principle; digital-synchronous and on-site elements possible

This is an intensive course (think of it as a full-time commitment), that runs from October 1st through 7th.
If we want/need to meet, online or offline, the time slot for that is 13:15-15:30 (except Sat., Sun.). The orientation in particular is on the 1st, starting at 13:15 sharp.


Aims, contents and method of the course

Please direct questions concerning registration for BJ1 to the SSS/SPL, not the lecturers.

The Introduction to the Japanese Language, Japanese Grammar I, and Japanese Communication are intended to be taken together in the same semester, please register for all three.

SARS-CoV-2: The course is online-only in principle, without a fixed time-slot (asynchronous). However, the lecturer reserves the right to revert to the normal mode of teaching (in-classroom, online-assisted) entirely or in part, and/or implement optional and/or mandatory elements involving physical presence, circumstances permitting.

This course will provide an overview of the features and structure of the Japanese language and writing system. Reading and writing of the hiragana and katakana (= kana) syllabaries will also be covered. It is designed to prepare students for Japanese Grammar I and Japanese Communication later in the semester. As such, it’s a prerequisite for both those courses.

* proficiency in English —you should obviously be comfortable with the idea of studying a foreign language in English, C1 strongly recommended
* no significant other commitments in the first week of October [the ECTS come out to almost 11 h/day of self-study time, but see below]
* advance registration
* textbook, see “reading list”
* being able to write hiragana and katakana beforehand is not required, but strongly recommended [it cuts down on the time requirement significantly and does give you a head start; see “reading list”]

At the end of this course students should
* know some basic information about the Japanese language and writing system;
* be able to read and write hiragana and katakana with some fluency;
* have some familiarity with studying kanji (and have some 30-50 under their belt already);
* be able to input Japanese on a computer or smart device;
* know a few basic Japanese words, phrases and short dialogues.

The lectures will be provided in fixed form on the e-learning platform alongside further reading and/or study material to aid in self-study, especially of hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions on the forum, chat, and/or in person (if possible).

Assessment and permitted materials

One exam at the end of the course.

If held online: primarily written but may include oral questions; computer (PC or notebook) with internet access required, as well as means of recording audio, and a scanner (in a pinch: decent camera); full open-book by necessity. The exam is synchronous: The assignment sheets will be made available via Moodle when it starts, then you'll have a certain amount of time (a little longer than normal, but in the same ballpark) to submit your answer document(s) the same way.

If held offline: written, no materials or aids are permitted.

There is a strict zero tolerance policy on cheating, plagiarism, and ghost-writing (in both cases).

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

More than 60 percentage points are required on the exam to pass the course (>60 → 4/D, >70 → 3/C, >80 → 2/B, >90 → 1/A).

Examination topics

Reading and writing hiragana and katakana including transcription using the modified Hepburn system. Everything covered in class and/or on the e-learning platform (Moodle), including, but not limited to, the presentations/slides, textbook, vocabulary & kanji lists, and forum discussions.

Reading list

Textbook: Bunka shokyū nihongo I. Tekisuto. Kaiteiban.
Available at Facultas bookshop in “Hof 1” on Campus.

Hiragana & katakana: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/learn-hiragana/ and https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/learn-katakana/ for a playful start [please ignore the recommendation to skip learning to write them!], https://realkana.com/ to practise reading; http://www.japanese-lesson.com/characters/hiragana/hiragana_drill/ and http://www.japanese-lesson.com/characters/katakana/katakana_drill/ cover writing and offer worksheets you can download and print out.
These are just suggestions, there are countless free kana learning resources on the internet, feel free to pick one that fits your preferred style of learning.

Additional material may be distributed in class and/or via the e-learning platform (Moodle).

Association in the course directory

JMA M1 for Ecos-students,
EC Wirtschaftskommunikation Japanisch I

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:19