The Japanese language is spoken by over 130 million people. Its classification among related languages is a contentious issue; some scholars hold that the most closely related living language is Korean, but no academic consensus has been reached.
The writing system employed by Japanese is multifaceted. It is wholly character-based, with substantial borrowings from Chinese, from which it gained a writing system in the 5th century, but it also has a phonetic-based system used for both native words and loanwords. In addition, there is a Romanization system, similar in concept to Pinyin for Chinese, which is used by foreign students of Japanese, as well as by native speakers for computer input.
About the Curriculum
Japanese courses use a self-instructional language program format with enrollments limited to three to six students. Examinations in the language are half oral (administered by external examiners appointed by the University) and half written (administered by the course professor).
The following resources can be used to practice listening and reading comprehension skills and to gain a better understanding of the geography, history and popular culture relevant to Japanese language study.