Universität Wien FIND

150105 VO Introduction to the Japanese Language (2021W)

3.00 ECTS (1.00 SWS), SPL 15 - Ostasienwissenschaften

Registration for all classes, please (Introduction, Jap. Grammar I und Jap. Communication)


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


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

COURSE TYPE: online-only; asynchronous (in principle), with synchronous elements.

This is an intensive course (think of it as a full-time commitment), that runs from October 1st through 11th.

Your virtual presence may be required between 17:00 and 18:30, please see to it that you’re free then. The orientation in particular is on the 1st, starting at 17:00 sharp. (Note that the exam uses a different time slot, see there.)

Friday 01.10. 17:00 - 18:30 Digital
Monday 04.10. 17:00 - 18:30 Digital
Tuesday 05.10. 17:00 - 18:30 Digital
Wednesday 06.10. 17:00 - 18:30 Digital
Thursday 07.10. 17:00 - 18:30 Digital
Friday 08.10. 17:00 - 18:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

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

This lecture is a prerequisite for both Japanese Grammar I and Japanese Communication. However, passing the exam does not guarantee a spot in those courses. Regardless, they are all intended to be taken together in the same semester, please register for all three from the start.

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 syllabaries will also be covered. It is designed to prepare students for Japanese Grammar I and Japanese Communication later in the semester.

* 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
* stable broadband connection, PC, technical means for tele-conferencing and high-quality voice recording and image scanning
* advance registration
* textbook, see “reading list”
* being able to write hiragana and katakana beforehand is very strongly recommended [it cuts down on the time requirement significantly and gives you a head start; see “reading list”]

N.B. The Introduction can be taken entirely remotely, but the follow-up courses may require you to physically attend classes in Vienna.

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 and in chat.

Assessment and permitted materials

One synchronous online exam at the end of the course. Primarily written, but may include oral questions; full open-book by necessity.

N.B. Because of the tight timing, you effectively need to sit and pass the exam at the first opportunity to have a shot at getting into Grammar I and Communication this semester.

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).

There is a strict zero tolerance policy on cheating, plagiarism, and ghost-writing (including machine-translation).

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. Bonjinsha 2013 [ISBN 978-4-89358-858-6]
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