Asian Languages and Literatures

The department of Asian Languages and Literatures offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses in Chinese and Japanese language, plus a variety of courses in traditional and modern Chinese and Japanese literature and culture in English translation and some linguistics courses related to Asian Languages. Accommodation can be made for students who can speak, but cannot read or write the languages. At the intermediate level, students are encouraged to participate in one of several approved academic programs in China or Japan. A major in Chinese or Japanese is available by petition.

Language Houses: Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language by living in the Parish International House. The Language Associate is a native speaker, and students organize and participate in numerous cultural activities in the house.

Requirements for the Chinese Minor

A total of six courses (36 credits), passed with a C- or better from the following two categories:

  • Four or five language courses beyond CHIN 204 including CHIN 205, CHIN 206 and any 300-level course except CHIN 310.
  • One or two content courses in English from CHIN 282, any Chinese courses numbered 230-270, ASLN 111, ASLN 260

Appropriate language courses taken on overseas programs can apply.

Requirements for the Japanese Minor

A total of six courses (36 credits), passed with a C- or better from the following two categories:

  • Four or five language courses beyond JAPN 204 including JAPN 205, JAPN 206 and any 300-level course except JAPN 310.
  • One or two content courses in English from any Japanese courses numbered 230-270, ASLN 111, ASLN 260

Appropriate language courses taken on overseas programs can apply.

Asian Language Courses (ASLN)

ASLN 111 Writing Systems The structure and function of writing systems, with emphasis on a comparison of East Asian writing systems (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) to Western alphabetic systems. Topics covered include classification of writing systems, historical development, diffusion and borrowing of writing systems, and comparison with non-writing symbol systems. 6 credits; SI; Not offered 2017-18
ASLN 260 Historical Linguistics Concepts and techniques of historical linguistics, especially methods used in the discovery of family relationships between languages and the reconstruction of ancestral forms. Other topics include grammatical, semantic, and lexical change, processes of sound change, language contact, and the use of linguistic evidence in cultural reconstruction. In addition to the more familiar Indo-European languages, data will come from Western Pacific and Australian languages, and especially East Asian languages. Prerequisite: Previous experience in linguistics or instructor's permission. 6 credits; SI; Winter; Mark Hansell

Chinese Courses (CHIN)

CHIN 101 Elementary Chinese Introduction to Chinese sentence structure and writing system, together with the development of basic aural/oral skills, with attention to the cultural context. Students who have learned spoken Mandarin Chinese at home or in another context, but who are unable to read or write, are encouraged to register for Chinese 280. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Mark Hansell, Lei Yang
CHIN 102 Elementary Chinese Continuation of Chinese 101. Prerequisite: Chinese 101 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Mark Hansell, Lei Yang
CHIN 103 Elementary Chinese Continuation of Chinese 101, 102. Prerequisite: Chinese 102 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Mark Hansell, Lei Yang
CHIN 204 Intermediate Chinese Expansion of vocabulary and learning of complex sentence forms, with equal emphasis on the development of the four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Prerequisite: Chinese 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Zheng Wen
CHIN 205 Intermediate Chinese Continuation of Chinese 204. Completion of this course with a C- or better fulfills the language requirement. Prerequisite: Chinese 204, Chinese 280 or placement. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Zheng Wen
CHIN 206 Chinese in Cultural Context This course advances students' proficiency in oral and written Chinese, at the same time integrating elements of traditional Chinese civilization and modern Chinese society. Emphasis is on cultural understanding and appropriate language use. Prerequisite: Chinese 205 or equivalent. 6 credits; Spring; Zheng Wen
CHIN 240 Chinese Cinema in Translation This course introduces to students the drastic transformation of Chinese society, culture, and politics over the past three decades through the camera lens. We will examine representative films from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Particular attention will be paid to the entangled relationship between art, commerce, and politics, as well as the role digital technologies and international communities play in reshaping the contemporary cultural landscape in China. This class requires no prior knowledge of Chinese language, literature, or culture. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 245 Chinese Vision of the Past in Translation China—the modern nation—never escapes the influence of the past. But why do Chinese literature and movies like discussing and presenting the past? Do these works truly reflect the past? How is the past presented? What techniques impact the narration of the past and the audience’s perceptions? Through comparison of historic texts and fictional retellings of the same stories, students will gain a better understanding of representation of the past and develop critical reading, analysis, discussion, and writing skills. Sources include historical narratives and biographies, classical texts, poems, fiction, and film. No knowledge of Chinese language required.

  6 credits; LA; Spring; Lei Yang

CHIN 248 The Structure of Chinese in Translation This course uses linguistic methodology to examine the structure of Modern Standard Chinese. Its purpose is to give students a greater insight into the systems and logic at the heart of the Chinese language, both to help them better appreciate the beauty and elegance of language structure, and to help them more effectively learn the language. Topics covered will include the sound system, word formation, syntax, and semantics. No prior experience with linguistics is necessary, but students should have studied at least a year of Chinese or its equivalent. Readings and discussion will be in English. Prerequisite: Chinese 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; SI; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 250 Chinese Popular Culture in Translation This course (taught in English) provides an overview of Chinese popular culture from 1949 to the contemporary era, including popular literature, film, posters, music, and blog entries. The course examines both old and new forms of popular culture in relation to social change, cultural spaces, new media technologies, the state, individual expressions, and gender politics. Throughout this course, special attention is paid to the alliance between popular literature and the booming entertainment industry, the making of celebrity culture, and the role digital media plays in shaping China's cultural landscape. The course requires no prior knowledge of Chinese language, literature, or culture. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 280 Chinese Literacy This course is aimed at fluent Mandarin speakers who have not learned to read and write. Students will intensively study the same characters as taught in Chinese 101, 102, 103, and 204. Successful completion will allow students to register for Chinese 205 in the winter term. Prerequisite: Near-native fluency in oral Mandarin. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Mark Hansell
CHIN 310 Chinese Maintenance This course gives students at the 300 level a chance to continue to practice their reading, speaking, and listening skills when a 300-level course is not available. Class will meet once a week to discuss readings, and students will have conversation practice opportunities with tutors. Does not count toward major or minor. Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall; Mark Hansell
CHIN 347 Advanced Chinese: Reading the News This course uses internet readings of various Chinese language news sources to learn about multiple Chinese perspectives on current events, and to become conversant in the prose style that is a model for formal written Chinese. Emphasis is on vocabulary expansion, text comprehension strategies, and differences between colloquial and written usage. Active use of the language (including oral discussion and regular written compositions) will be stressed. Students will learn to become savvy, independent consumers of Chinese-language news media. Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 348 Advanced Chinese: The Mass Media This course introduces to students major milestones in the development of Chinese cinema since 1980, with additional materials including popular television shows and online materials. Emphasis will be on culturally appropriate language use, and on discussion of the social issues that are implicitly and explicitly addressed on the Chinese-language media. The course aims to increase students' fluency in all four aspects of Chinese language learning (listening, speaking, reading , writing) and to deepen students' understanding of China as a transitional society. Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 349 Advanced Chinese: Social Commentary This course will focus on increasing students' ability to read, write, and speak about contemporary social issues through readings, essay writing, oral presentations, and class discussion. Readings will be from leading twentieth century Chinese reformers and social critics. 6 credits; HI; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 355 Contemporary Chinese Short Stories This advanced Chinese language course focuses on contemporary short stories. The course is designed to help students enhance reading skills, expand students' mastery of advanced vocabulary, and prepare students to analyze authentic materials. The historical, cultural, and literary forces that shape these cultural works also will be examined. Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 360 Classical Chinese This course introduces to students the essentials of classical Chinese through a close reading of authentic materials. A wide range of genres, including prose, poems, idioms, and short stories, will be introduced to enrich students’ understanding of various writing conventions and styles. The historical, cultural, and literary forces that shape these cultural works also will be examined. Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2017-18
CHIN 361 Advanced Chinese: Readings in Twentieth Century Literature Students will read, discuss, and write about major literary works from twentieth century China in order to both improve their language abilities and increase their understanding of the artistic and intellectual milieu in which the works were produced. Readings will include selections from modern and contemporary Chinese literature, including poetry, fiction, novels, and letters in the original Chinese.  Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA; Winter; Lei Yang
CHIN 363 Conversation and Composition: The Liberal Arts in Chinese Carleton students receive a broad education, their ability to express themselves in Chinese should be equally broad. This course will provide instruction and practice in speaking, reading, and writing about fundamental concepts from natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. Students will learn to read and discuss the kind of non-specialist works that any well-educated speaker can comprehend, and will also receive a foundation that can lead to more specialized work. Specific topics to be covered will depend on the interests of students in the class. Prerequisite: Chinese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Mark Hansell

Japanese Courses (JAPN)

JAPN 101 Elementary Japanese Introduction to the Japanese sentence structure and writing system, together with the development of basic aural/oral skills, with attention to cultural context. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Mariko Kaga
JAPN 102 Elementary Japanese Continuation of Japanese 101. Prerequisite: Japanese 101 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Noboru Tomonari
JAPN 103 Elementary Japanese Continuation of Japanese 102. Prerequisite: Japanese 102 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Mariko Kaga
JAPN 105 Art History in Kyoto Program: Introduction to Japanese Language and Culture Through Language Study Students with no prior Japanese language study can enroll in this course, which is designed to introduce basic pattern and vocabulary with a special emphasis on topics related to everyday life in Japan and interactions with people. Students will also learn both forms of the Japanese phonetic script, hiragana and katakana. Prerequisite: OCS ARTH program. 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 204 Intermediate Japanese Emphasis is on the development of reading skills, especially the mastery of kanji, with some work on spoken Japanese through the use of audiovisual materials. Prerequisite: Japanese 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Fall; Miaki Habuka
JAPN 205 Intermediate Japanese Continuation of Japanese 204. Completion of this course with a C- or better fulfills language requirement. Prerequisite: Japanese 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Miaki Habuka
JAPN 206 Japanese in Cultural Context This course advances students' proficiency in the four skills, of speaking, listening, reading and writing in Japanese. The course also integrates elements of traditional Japanese civilization and modern Japanese society, emphasizing cultural understanding and situationally appropriate language use. Prerequisite: Japanese 205 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Miaki Habuka
JAPN 231 Japanese Cinema in Translation This course examines the extraordinary achievement of Japanese cinema, from the classic films of Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Kurosawa to the pop cinema of Kitano and the phenomenon of anime. The films will be studied for their aesthetic, cultural, and auteur contexts. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship of the film to traditional arts, culture and society. This course is conducted in English and all the course materials are in English translation or in English subtitles. 6 credits; LA; Fall; Noboru Tomonari
JAPN 243 The Other in Modern Japanese Literature and Society in Translation This course is a study of major works of fiction, non-fiction, and cinema from 1906 to the present. We will trace the representations of minority characters in Japanese literature and cinema and also explore the rich diversity of minority voices in the field. Authors include Shimazaki Toson, Sumii Sue, Yu Miri, and the film directors include Sai Yoichi and Hashiguchi Ryosuke. The texts are all in English and films are shown with English subtitles. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 244 The World of Anime in Translation This course examines the extraordinary achievement of anime (Japanese animation), from the modern classics by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Mamoru Oshii, to more recent anime directors. The anime will be studied for their aesthetic, cultural, and auteur contexts. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship of the anime to traditional arts, culture and society. This course is conducted in English and all the course materials are in English translation or in English subtitles. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 245 Modern Japanese Literature and Manga in Translation This course is a study of major works of modern fiction in Japan and their recent adaptations in manga. We will pay particular attention to cultural, aesthetic, and ideological aspects of Japanese literature in the twentieth century and to the relationship between the text, the author, and the society. We will also read their adaptations in manga. Manga has become the most popular literary medium during the last century and we will consider the relationship between modern Japanese literature and manga. This class requires no prior knowledge of Japanese language, literature, manga, or culture. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 254 World of Japanese Manga in Translation This course will examine manga (Japanese comic books that first appeared in post-World War II Japan). Manga are avidly read in Japan as a main component of Japanese popular culture. They have a huge influence on other media such as films and anime. The genre has greatly expanded its readership outside of Japan during the last decade. We will read a variety of manga aimed at different gender and age groups, in English translation. The texts will be interpreted as a means of understanding the world-views of the Japanese, and how Japanese society has evolved in recent decades. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 310 Japanese Maintenance This course gives students at the 300 level an opportunity to continue to practice their reading, speaking, writing and listening skills when a 300-level course is not available. Class will meet once a week to discuss readings or discuss topics students are interested in. Students will have conversation practice opportunities with tutors. Does not count toward major or minor. Prerequisite: Japanese 206 or equivalent. 2 credits; NE; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 345 Advanced Reading in Modern Japanese Literature: The Short Story Introduction to modern Japanese short fiction in the original, with exposure to a variety of styles. Some practice in critical analysis and literary translation. Prerequisite: Japanese 206 or the equivalent. 6 credits; LA; Spring; Noboru Tomonari
JAPN 351 Advanced Japanese through Documentary Film In this course we will subtitle in English a Japanese documentary film and also read the script and/or other related materials. The course aims to improve understanding of spoken Japanese at a natural pace, to improve the skill in reading of Japanese texts, and to comprehend some aspects of contemporary Japan. Students are expected to participate actively in the discussion of the film and the subtitles. Prerequisite: Japanese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 352 Advanced Japanese through Manga and Contemporary Materials Reading and discussion of advanced Japanese materials that include classical and recent manga. The materials are to be determined by both the instructor and the students. Prerequisite: Japanese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2017-18
JAPN 353 Thinking about Environmental Issues in Japanese This course explores various environmental issues, pollution, recycle, etc., in Japanese using newspaper clips, internet, and other authentic written texts. We will examine what kind of environmental issues Japan faces and how the government and communities are dealing with them. Then students are expected to explore how their communities are dealing with environmental issues. The purpose of the course is to encourage students to think about issues, contents, in Japanese rather than study purely language, grammar and vocabularies. Students are expected to write a short research paper in Japanese and do class presentation at the end. Prerequisite: Japanese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Mariko Kaga
JAPN 354 Japanese Food Culture This course explores Japanese food culture: its history, variety of ingredients, influence from other cultures, and other topics. We will examine what has created "washoku=Japanese cuisine," what "bento" means to Japanese people, and different ideas about food among cultures, etc. Students are expected to take the initiative in exploring Japanese food culture, find what interests them, and share their findings in class. The purpose of the course is to encourage students to think about Japanese food culture in Japanese, rather than to purely study language, grammar and vocabulary. Students are expected to research for their compositions and class presentations, and experiment with the Japanese food experience. Prerequisite: Japanese 206 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE, IS; Not offered 2017-18