UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Japanese Level 1

Prerequisite for entry

For complete beginners.

Term duration

10 x 2-hour classes.

Aims and objectives

The aim of the course is to enable students to function at a basic everyday survival level (basic vocabulary, grammar and phonetics). Students should be able to communicate in and understand Japanese on a number of practical everyday matters.  Language learning skills, including autonomous learning and how to approach some authentic material will be enhanced.  Also, students should develop their ability of reading and writing Hiragana. Cultural awareness will be developed.


  • Greetings and introductions
  • Asking about a location of a thing
  • Asking for prices
  • Asking for or giving a telephone number
  • Expressing time
  • Asking someone to do something together
  • Talking about daily routines
  • Reading and writing a memo

Course content

Main topics/themes to be covered:

  • Countries, nationalities and languages
  • Occupation
  • Numbers
  • Days of a week and time
  • Shopping
  • Travel and transport

Linguistic structures/ Phonetics

Basic rules of the pronunciation of Spoken Japanese.


  • Noun sentences
  • ko/so/a/do words (demonstrative words)
  • Words to make a question
  • Negative form of desu (です)
  • Questions with interrogatives
  • Particles (mo, ne, no, yo, ni.. etc)
  • The masu form of verbs
  • Past tense of the masu form
  • Negative form of the masu form
  • masho / masenka  

Learning resources


  • Course book: Minna no Nihongo (shokyu 1) (Lesson 1 – Lesson 6)  published by 3A Corporation
  • Other material: Minna no Nihongo 1 Translation & Grammatical Notes (Lesson 1 – Lesson 6)  published by 3A Corporation

Bilingual Dictionaries

Oxford Beginner’s Japanese dictionary (Oxford University Press)  

Useful websites

In addition there is a wide range of language learning materials for self-study in the Self-Access Centre.