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JPN1065 : Level A (HE Entry Level) Japanese I

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Etsuko Suda
  • Other Staff: Ms Fumika Cartlidge
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module establishes a basic foundation in the language systems (grammar, orthography, and phonetics) of Japanese, while beginning to develop reading, listening, writing and speaking skills. You will learn how to recognize and produce Japanese phonetic scripts (hiragana and katakana) and approximately 150 characters (kanji). By the end, you will be able to communicate, both orally and in writing, in simple situations.

The aims of the module are:
(1) To establish the most basic foundation in the language system, upon which students can build language competence for further study;
(2) To allow students to begin to develop receptive (reading and listening) and productive (writing and speaking) skills;
(3) To begin to provide students with skills necessary to become better language learners.

Outline Of Syllabus

Every week you will have eight contact hours, six of which are timetabled synchronous teaching hours. They are divided as follows:

1. Grammar & Speaking (4 hrs): present in person seminars.

We shall cover the grammatical points listed in the syllabus, which include: particles,
demonstratives, interrogatives, predicate, verbs (verb groups, inflections, transitive, intransitive, etc.), adjectives, numbers, counters, polite style of speech, desiderative, “te” form, affirmative, negative, past, non-past. All points will be explained through the analysis of sentence patterns (bunkei) and will be reinforced by speaking practice such as role-play and pair work.

2. Writing & Reading (1 hr): present in person seminar.

One hour will be devoted to developing skills in reading and writing, using the grammatical points, sentence patterns and vocabulary studied from our core textbook earlier on each week. Kanji will be taught thoroughly in class to enhance students’ learning. Translation of basic sentences (English into Japanese and Japanese into English) will also be practised.

3. Reading (1hr): online seminar
We shall cover extra reading tasks using a reading textbook to reinforce your reading skills. You will be guided by the teacher as to how you should complete tasks and submit your work.

Also, every week you will have two structured guided learning hours:

1. Listening (2 hrs)
We shall provide you with weekly listening task sheets to enable you to practice the grammatical points and
sentence patterns through listening exercises. You are expected to complete the task sheets, check the answers and conduct reflective learning before online submission. The teacher will monitor your progress every week throughout the year and conduct occasional feedback/guidance/Q&A sessions online.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching551:0055:00Present-in-person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Scheduled online seminar
Guided Independent StudySkills practice221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1121:00112:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Key grammatical structures, sentence patterns and vocabulary are practised using an integrated communicative approach in 4 hours of practical classes delivered in seminar style. Oral and aural skills (i.e. speaking and listening) as well as writing and reading are practised throughout the course in task-based activities.

Vocabulary tests, grammar tests and kanji tests will take place regularly up to 5 times a week and will be assessed online.

In order to ensure that 112 hours of independent guided study takes place, each contact hour is followed by homework assignments. Many derive from the compulsory workbooks accompanying the core textbook. Additional materials may be distributed in class and are considered an integral part of the homework assignments. There is a minimum homework submission requirement of 70%, with this percentage being calculated every 6 weeks. Where appropriate, individualised formative feedback is provided (e.g. for writing assignments involving a creative element).

This module is taught and assessed in English and Japanese (including hiragana, katakana and kanji scripts). English will be applied for the following activities:
1. Explanation of grammatical structures;
2. Translation from English to Japanese and from Japanese to English.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination501M80Teaching week 11. Written assessment in the classroom: kanji/vocabulary/grammar, reading comprehension of unseen text, and writing
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M20Writing assignment in the classroom and weekly online vocabulary/grammar/kanji tests
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Regular vocabulary, grammar and kanji tests are necessary in order to allow students to acquire competence in a steady and growing fashion. It also gives students the possibility to have constant feedback on their performance.

The writing assignment set in the middle of the semester in the classroom ensures students make a full output in the form of writing of grammar and hiragana/katakana/kanji script learning. Alternative to this assignment is 24hrs Take Home assignment online.

The 50 min written examination set in the last teaching week (Week 11) in the classroom enables the assessing of the overall performance of the student in each of the knowledge and skill outcomes. Alternative method for this assessment is 24hrs Take Home assessment online.

Reading Lists