BA English Language and Japanese / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Our BA English Language and Japanese course is ideal for analytical minds who want to delve into the science of language - an everyday phenomenon which impacts our lives on an individual and a global scale.

English Language covers the history of the English language and the variation between English dialects in the UK and further afield.

You will acquire the skills required for analytical language study alongside the means to apply those skills to the study of historical and present-day English.

In addition, you will practise key transferable skills, such as essay writing and how to give a presentation.

The course allows students to develop their proficiency in Japanese and to study the language within its cultural and historical context. You will start as an absolute beginner and go through to an advanced level over four years.

Language study offers much more than just language fluency. You'll explore diverse aspects of the culture, society, history, politics and literature of Japan, helping you to develop intercultural awareness and communication skills - both highly valued by employers.

You'll benefit from excellent teaching, student support and cutting-edge study facilities, as well as from the vibrancy and cultural diversity of Manchester itself, Western Europe's most multilingual city.

With placement options available at partner universities and in professional environments in Japan, a compulsory third year abroad gives our undergraduate students unforgettable and invaluable personal and professional experience.

Special features

Study or work abroad

Your year abroad will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in Japan and further develop your language skills.

Learn from language experts

Language courses are mainly taught by native speakers of each language, giving you a richer learning experience.

Access outstanding resources

You'll have the opportunity to access cutting-edge resources, including one of the largest holdings of linguistics texts in the UK, and to conduct research using English manuscripts held in our prestigious Special Collections.

Get involved with interesting projects

Our students are encouraged to take an active role in funded teaching-enhancement projects, whose outputs benefit them individually and collectively.

For example, some of our students have developed an online atlas of dialect variation in the UK and storyboards for the use in fieldwork.

Enjoy cultural activities

Join the Japan Society North West for an exciting range of cultural events such as sushi-making demonstrations, Taiko drumming workshops, dining experiences and an annual Japan Day celebration.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars, and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

For every hour spent at university, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study.

You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations, or working in the University's Language Centre .

Applicants should be aware that learning Japanese is very intensive and that a great deal of time is required for this throughout the course (extending through the summer period between Years 1 and 2, particularly for beginners).

The first few weeks may be particularly intensive for those who have not encountered Japanese script, and we strongly advise all applicants to ensure that they have learned at least the hiragana script prior to Week 1 of teaching.

Guidance on materials to help with this can be obtained from language tutors.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • presentations;
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research).

Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

In your final year, you can choose to write a dissertation.

Course unit details

It is probably true to say that you will be doing more hours of study than many other students but if you put in the work your achievements will be correspondingly high. 

If you are concerned that Japanese is not the same as European languages in terms of workload then you should probably not be considering this course.

If you are planning to work part-time you must ensure that you are able to put in sufficient study hours. 

Hard work is essential for learning Japanese - especially the written language - but doing so is an extraordinarily rewarding experience that opens numerous doors and produces very high levels of satisfaction.

Course content for year 1

English Language

  • You'll study the foundations of English grammar and be introduced to the history of English and varieties of English in the UK and further afield. You may also choose additional optional units, including those in which you learn about the study of meaning or of sounds, or learn how to investigate English using corpus methods.


  • The first and second-year language courses include an Independent Language Learning Programme for post-beginners, from which you build a portfolio of independent work by making linguistic notes on, Japanese videos, satellite TV, or newspapers, for example. This enables you to develop not only your linguistic expertise, but also your skills in independent learning - a vital requirement in today's knowledge-based society.
  • The intensive language teaching programme puts a heavy emphasis on core language structures to provide secure foundations for progression to higher levels in subsequent years.
  • Students take core courses (with an external option for single honours) introducing them to academic skills and providing essential knowledge of history and society.

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
English Word and Sentence Structure LELA10301 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Japanese Studies JAPA10030 20 Optional
Japanese Language 1 JAPA51011 20 Optional
Japanese Language 2 JAPA51022 20 Optional
Japanese Language 3 JAPA51031 20 Optional
Japanese Language 4 JAPA51042 20 Optional
Language, Mind and Brain LELA10201 20 Optional
The Sounds of Language LELA10322 20 Optional
Study of Meaning LELA10332 20 Optional
From Text to Linguistic Evidence LELA10401 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

English Language

  • Tailor your degree to suit your interests. While studying two compulsory units in subjects like language change, sociolinguistics, stylistics or pragmatics, you may additionally choose from a wide range of optional units tapping into academic expertise in specialist fields such as phonology and experimental phonetics, and psycholinguistics.


  • The language courses in year 2 continue to build competence and the Independent Language Learning Portfolio and learning partnerships are central to this process.
  • In addition, students develop their studies of Japan via a choice of courses in areas such as Japanese history, religion, society and culture, and begin to prepare for residence abroad.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
History and Civilisation of Japan JAPA10111 20 Optional
Modern and Contemporary Japan: Social Dynamics JAPA20121 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20132 20 Optional
Religion in Japan JAPA20211 20 Optional
Japanese Language 3 JAPA51031 20 Optional
Japanese Language 4 JAPA51042 20 Optional
Japanese Language 5 JAPA51050 20 Optional
Language, Mind and Brain LELA10201 20 Optional
The Sounds of Language LELA10322 20 Optional
Study of Meaning LELA10332 20 Optional
From Text to Linguistic Evidence LELA10401 20 Optional
Phonology LELA20012 20 Optional
Analysing Grammar LELA20022 20 Optional
Typology LELA20032 20 Optional
Societal Multilingualism LELA20101 20 Optional
Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA20231 20 Optional
Semantics LELA20281 20 Optional
Pragmatics: Meaning, Context, and Interaction LELA20291 20 Optional
Experimental Phonetics LELA20341 20 Optional
The Changing English Language LELA20402 20 Optional
Variationist Sociolinguistics LELA20502 20 Optional
Psycholinguistics LELA20962 20 Optional
Stylistics of English LELA21512 20 Optional
Spanish Linguistics SPLA20772 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is spent abroad under approved conditions.

Our partner universities are

Chuo University, Dokkyo University, Fukuoka Women's University, Hiroshima University, Hitotsubashi University, Hokkaido University, Kanagawa University, Kansai Gaidai University, Keio University, Kobe University, Kyoto University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Meiji University, Meiji Gakuin University, Nanzan University, Ochanomizu University, Oita University, Osaka University, Rikkyo University, Ritsumeikan University, Saitama University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Waseda University, and Yamagata University.

Course content for year 4

English Language

  • Have complete freedom of choice among a wealth of different course options spanning subjects as diverse historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, child language development, formal semantics and syntax, and forensic linguistics.
  • You will also have the option of writing a dissertation, where you explore and write about a particular topic in depth.


  • Students will select from various Japanese modules in religion, historical, cultural and social science areas.
  • The language teaching programme continues to develop skills such as reading and writing Japanese and includes work on interpreting and on translation as practical skills.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Japanese Language 6 JAPA51060 20 Mandatory
Advanced Readings in Japanese Studies JAPA32000 20 Optional
Buddhism in Japan JAPA33082 20 Optional
Japanese Language 5 JAPA51050 20 Optional
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional
Dissertation LELA30000 40 Optional
Topics in the Study of Meaning in English LELA30032 20 Optional
Cognitive Linguistics LELA30182 20 Optional
Topics in Language Development LELA30672 20 Optional
Language Policy and Planning LELA30752 20 Optional
Historical Syntax LELA30962 20 Optional
Forensic Linguistics LELA31632 20 Optional
Romance Linguistics LELA32001 20 Optional
Quantitative Methods in Language Sciences LELA32011 20 Optional
Experimental Phonetics LELA32021 20 Optional
Computational Linguistics LELA32051 20 Optional
Discourse as Social Practice LELA32061 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units for year 4


As well as making use of the wider University library network, you will have access to the University Language Centre , a modern open learning facility where you can study independently and make use of a library and audio-visual resources.

There are also language laboratories and multimedia facilities.

For your English language studies, you will benefit from access to a wide range of technical facilities, online resources, and unique collections at the John Rylands Library.

Learn more on the facilities pages for  Linguistics and English Language  and  Modern Languages and Cultures .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: