Sayaka Abe

Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies

 work(802) 443-5486
  Wed.1:00-4:00 p.m.,and by appt.
 FIC Freeman LF01E

Sayaka Abe teaches Japanese language and linguistics courses at Middlebury. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from University at Buffalo in 2007. Before coming to Middlebury, she held a research position at University of Trento and taught at various institutions, including Vassar College and Williams College. Her primary areas of research are cognitive semantics, pragmatics and language change. Her current projects include examination of how speakers’ subjectivity is encoded in Japanese text and speech. Other interests include corpus linguistics, applied linguistics and typology/cross-linguistic studies.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1437 - Language, Culture, Individual      

Language, Culture, and the Individual
How does language shape our experience of the world? What does pronunciation reveal about cultural identity? What can we learn about language from the way small children speak? How do communicative strategies vary across languages? Why do languages change over time? Through the lens of linguistics, we will explore the structure and usage of language in daily life. We will discuss speech and text samples from conversations, novels, advertisements, anime, children’s shows, and more. Languages discussed will include English and Japanese, but no background in any foreign language is necessary, as translations and transliterations will be provided. 3 hrs. sem. CW SOC

Fall 2015

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JAPN 0101 - First-Year Japanese      

First-Year Japanese
This course is an introduction to the modern Japanese language aimed at acquisition of the four basic skills speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. The emphasis is on thorough mastery of the basic structures of Japanese through intensive oral-aural practice and extensive use of audiovisual materials. The two kana syllabaries and kanji (characters) will be introduced toward the goals of developing reading skills and reinforcing grammar and vocabulary acquisition. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill LNG

Fall 2016

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JAPN 0102 - First-Year Japanese      

First-Year Japanese
This course is an intensive continuation of JAPN 0101. This course is required for those students wishing to take JAPN 0103 in the Spring. (JAPN 0101) LNG WTR

Winter 2017, Winter 2019

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JAPN 0103 - First-Year Japanese      

First-Year Japanese
This course is a continuation of the fall and winter terms with the introduction of more advanced grammatical structures, vocabulary, and characters. The continuing emphasis of the beginning Japanese course will be upon acquisition of well-balanced language skills based on an understanding of the actual use of the language in the Japanese sociocultural context. (JAPN 0101, JAPN 0102) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill LNG

Spring 2017

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JAPN 0210 / LNGT 0210 - Intro Japanese Linguistics      

Introduction to Japanese Linguistics (in English)
This course will provide an introduction to linguistics theories as applied to the study of Japanese. Through the exploration of a language that is very different from Indo-European languages, students will gain a better understanding of how human languages work and are structured. The relationship of language to culture will be a central theme in the course. Topics covered will include key concepts in linguistics, Japanese linguistics, culture, and pedagogy. This course will be taught in English; no Japanese language or linguistics knowledge required. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL NOA

Spring 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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JAPN 0301 - Third-Year Japanese      

Third-Year Japanese
This advanced course aims to increase the student's proficiency in modern standard Japanese, both spoken and written. A variety of written and audiovisual materials will be used to consolidate and expand mastery of more advanced grammatical points and vocabulary. Oral presentation, discussion, and composition in Japanese are also important components of the course. (JAPN 0202 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill LNG

Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018

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JAPN 0302 - Third-Year Japanese      

Third-Year Japanese
This course is a continuation of JAPN 0301. (JAPN 0301 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill LNG

Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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JAPN 0310 / LNGT 0310 - Variation & Change in Japanese      

Variation and Change in Japanese (In English)
What can linguistic change tell us about human cognition and behavior? How does the notion of “politeness” vary across communities? How do speakers of Japanese perform gender and other social identities? In this course we will address linguistic diversity and dynamism by examining the Japanese language. Topics include workplace discourse and change in honorific systems. Employing classic works in linguistics and addressing contemporary cultural materials such as manga and J-drama we will apply theoretical frameworks from (socio-)pragmatics, historical linguistics and linguistic typology to gain a deeper understanding of how and why Japanese has developed to its present forms and uses. Students with an interest in linguistics, or in teaching and learning language, or science in general, may also enjoy the analytical approach. (No prerequisites. JAPN0103 above or equivalent recommended). Heritage speakers are also welcome. 3 hrs. sem. AAL NOA SOC

Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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JAPN 0401 - Advanced Japanese      

Advanced Japanese
In this course we will read, analyze, and discuss advanced Japanese materials from a variety of modern and contemporary sources. (JAPN 0302 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Fall 2019

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JAPN 0500 - Independent Project      

Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken.

Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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JAPN 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
Students write a thesis in English with a synopsis in Japanese on literature, film, or culture. The topic for the thesis is chosen in consultation with the instructor. (JAPN 0475)

Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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LNGT 0500 - Independent Work      

Independent Work
(Approval Required)

Spring 2017

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Program in International and Global Studies

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