Sunday, August 31, 2008

Intertextually speaking

Japanese is so intertextual. Everything spoken relies on the listeners understanding of a wide range of cultural and social elements. Nouns and verbs are abbreviated without a thought, and grammatical sentences that are perfectly fine in Japanese would be nonsensical in English.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

JAPN 107 Readings in Modern Japanese

Purpose The course, Readings in Modern Japanese, aims to broaden the Japanese reading ability the student is expected to have acquired to this point, as well as bring up for discussion aspects of contemporary culture as seen through contemporary literary texts and essays. It will go beyond the grammatical lessons and pattern practices of basic Japanese and expose the student to "authentic" Japanese.

Requirements Every student must be registered in JAPN 107. No auditor is allowed. Prerequisite for the course is JAPN 008 or equivalent.

The course will offer shorts stories and essays of Murakami Haruki for reading and discussion concerning any socio-cultural insights. The student will be required to prepare, read and translate any portion of the text assigned. The student must also be prepared to discuss pertinent issues regarding any work assigned.

Class participation is mandatory; consequently, regular attendance is required. Student participation will be based on attendance and preparedness. You will be evaluated by obvious indicators of preparedness, such as your ability to read text smoothly, to recognize kanji readings, and to demonstrate a least a modicum of understanding of the text.

During the course of the semester, there will be weekly quizzes—on Tuesdays there will be vocabulary quizzes based on completed readings, and on Thursdays there will be text quizzes based on the readings. There will be occasional sight passage quizzes. One quiz may be made up for any (or no) reason. A second and third makeup quiz requires verifiable excuses—i.e. doctor’s note, accident report, police report—or is subject to a 10% penalty. No more than three makeup quizzes. A quiz must be made up within one week. The lowest quiz grade is dropped, excluding makeup quizzes. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of class. Each quiz will be collected promptly 15 minutes after the quiz is distributed, so do not be late for class; you will not receive extra time.

There will be two midterms, and an in-class final. There is no early final, so do not schedule a flight home during finals period except in case of emergency. There is no makeup for any exam except in cases of verifiable emergencies.

Text The instructor will provide reading texts. The following dictionary is required: 金田一春彦編、『現代新国語辞典』学研.

Tentative grading schedule The Final grade will be determined as follows: 10% class participation/preparation; 30% All quizzes and in-class assignments; 20% + 20% Midterm exam; 20% Final exam.

Blackboard All communications and schedule changes will be on Blackboard. Please go to, log on to this class. and familiarize yourself with it. Be sure to check Staff Information for my “real” email address.

Japanese Online Most computers can display and produce Japanese. In Windows, XP you need to install the Japanese in Regional Settings. On a Mac, you can activate Japanese under System Preferences => International.

If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact the instructor during office hours, after class or make an appointment.