This course is meant to give students a better understanding of the phonetic, phonologic, morphologic, syntactic, semantic, historical, political, and sociological aspects of spoken and written languages in Japan. While the majority of the focus will be on modern written and spoken forms of Japanese, students will also be introduced to bungo (Classical Japanese), as well as kanbun (Chinese used by people in Japan), Ainu Itak, Ryukyuan, Korean, and localized English creoles. In doing so, we will analyze unique and shared features of these languages, while familiarizing ourselves with basic notions and terminology used in Japanese linguistics. Learners of the Japanese language will benefit from this course by gaining a better understanding of linguistic features and learning about how society and history have transformed the languages of Japan. The course will be taught primarily in English, however the prerequisites include an introductory course in linguistics and/or rudimentary knowledge of Japanese and modern phonetic scripts (katakana & hiragana). Significant emphasis will be placed on reading, processing, and discussing academic works on language. Each week two or three students will be asked to present the readings for that week, before we go into a discussion. Grades will be based on presentations of readings and a final research paper of 18-25 pages in length.