Texas Tech University

Japanese Language & Area Studies

THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE is the ninth most widely spoken primary language in the world with more than 125 million speakers. The vast majority live in Japan and the Okinawa island group. About two million or so live abroad, mostly in Brazil, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Millions of additional near-native or otherwise fluent speakers of Japanese reside within Korea, China, or other parts of Asia. In America Japanese is the sixth most studied foreign language.

Grammatically Japanese is very unlike English. For example, Japanese nouns have no gender and number; verb conjugation is not affected by the gender or number; and Japanese verbs have only the present and the past tenses. Japanese pronunciation and grammar also are very different from Chinese. In particular, Japanese is not a tone language.

Basic character sets used in writing modern Japanese are kanji (several thousands of Chinese characters) augmented by katakana and hiragana (two syllabaries of 46 characters each). Japan did not have its own writing system before adapting the Chinese one. When introducing the Chinese characters, kanji are used for verbs, adjectives, and nouns; but unlike the Chinese language, Japanese cannot be written entirely in kanji. For grammatical endings and words that cannot be written in kanji, the other two syllable based writing systems are used. Japanese texts can be written horizontally like western texts or in the traditional vertical from right to left manner.

TTU offers both courses and a minor in Japanese. Courses are Beginning (JAPN 1501, 1502) and Second Year (JAPN 2301, JAPN 2302) Japanese language courses as well as a repeatable advanced course (JAPN 4300).

The minor in Japanese consists of 22 hours of Japanese Language courses: JAPN 1501, 1502, 2301, 2302, and two 4000-level courses, one of which must be taken in residence at TTU.

  • Japanese Language Courses can be used to satisfy TTU Foreign Language Requirements.
  • Japanese Language Courses can be used to complete minors in Japanese or Asian Studies.
  • These courses also can prepare you for exotic and exciting study-abroad opportunities. (see www.studyabroad.ttu.edu)

For more information, contact Stephanie Santos, CMLL Academic Advisor


  • JAPN 1501 - Beginning Course in Japanese I
  • JAPN 1502 - Beginning Course in Japanese II
  • JAPN 2301 - Second Course in Japanese I
  • JAPN 2302 - Second Course in Japanese II
  • JAPN 4300 - Individual Problems In Japanese