Learning Goals

The joint major in Japanese & Linguistics provides an opportunity for students to combine the study of Japanese language, literature, and culture with the study of linguistics. Students graduating with a major in Japanese & Linguistics will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the fundamental questions that drive modern linguistic research concerning formal structure, universals, acquisition, historical change, variation, and social dimensions of use, along with foundational knowledge in the core areas of linguistic theory
  • the ability to identify and describe with precision the empirical patterns found in sets of language data, and to construct well-reasoned linguistic analyses by formulating, testing, and refining hypotheses about these patterns
  • linguistic mastery of some aspect of modern-day Japanese (e.g., phonetics, phonology, or syntax) or of the historical development of the language
  • a high level of proficiency in the Japanese language, with respect to reading, writing, speaking, and understanding of spoken Japanese, including oral proficiency at a minimum of Intermediate High and knowledge of at least 800 kanji characters
  • an understanding and appreciation of Japanese cultural and literary traditions, practices, genres, and great works
Major Requirements

The major consists of 13 courses, including 6 in Japanese, 6 in linguistics, and 1 course in Japanese linguistics. In addition to the requirements for the major, students must also satisfy general requirements of the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). An advisor can assist you in designing your program of study.

6 Japanese Courses
  • 2 advanced Japanese language courses (300+ level; e.g., CAS LJ 303 & 304)
  • 3 Japanese literature courses (e.g., CAS LJ 250, 251, 350, 351, 451, 460, 480, 481)
  • 1 advanced Japanese elective (300+ level) in the area of language, linguistics, culture, film, literature, or translation
6 Linguistics Courses
  • CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics
  • CAS LX 301 Phonetics & Phonology: Introduction to Sound Systems
  • CAS LX 321 Syntax: Introduction to Sentential Structure
  • CAS LX 331 Semantics & Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning
  • 1 advanced linguistics elective (300+ level)
  • 1 advanced general linguistics or Japanese linguistics elective (300+ level)
1 Japanese Linguistics Course, e.g.
  • CAS LJ 410 History of the Japanese Language
  • CAS LJ 510 Structure of the Japanese Language
Study Abroad

Students may also take courses to fulfill some of these requirements (with advance approval of their advisor) in the BU Study Abroad and Internship programs. For further information, see BU Study Abroad’s website:

Honors Program

In addition to the standard joint major, we also have an Honors Program in Japanese & Linguistics. For further information, see the Honors Program page:


Director of Undergraduate Studies