The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures offers courses in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages, literature, film, theater, and culture.
When you enroll in our department’s courses, you will be taking them from teachers who are nationally recognized as experts in their fields. In our highly rated language classes, you will learn to develop all language skills and use them with fluency and accuracy.
We recognize that linguistic skills alone are not sufficient; you also need to learn about culture and how to behave appropriately in that culture. Moreover, you will learn about other equally important cultural frameworks through the non-language courses offered in our department and other departments on campus.
Why you should study foreign languages and cultures
- Studying these languages poses a great deal of intellectual challenge, which provides a seed for personal growth. If you value challenges and thrive on them, choose one of our languages.
- In career planning, too, a facility in our languages gives you a professional advantage over those who have not studied languages and an additional edge over those who have studied a more commonly taught European language, such as Spanish or French.
- Studying a foreign language facilitates your developing an intercultural sensitivity, which enables you to gain a valuable perspective on the culture of the United States. We do not live alone; in the contemporary world, we must learn about peoples and cultures outside of the United States.
- Asia is the wave of the future! Consider the following facts:
- Chinese is spoken by one out of four people in the world; it ranks first in terms of the number of speakers. Japanese ranks ninth in the world; Korean ranks 16th. A total of 1.2 billion people speak one of these languages.
- China and Korea are two of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Japan is an economic power, third only to the United States and China in size.
- Asian, especially Japanese, companies are everywhere—in consumer electronics, automotive industry, computers and information technology, and music and entertainment.
- The United States makes huge direct investments in China.
- East Asia requires our attention, both culturally and politically, since:
- China is the cradle of one of the oldest civilizations in the world.
- China, Korea, and Japan all offer fascinating insights and a similar yet distinctive introduction to non-Western culture, including the arts, literature, politics, society, and cinema.
- Popular culture from Asia is very relevant to our lives in the United States.
- Understanding Asia is crucial for issues relating to international security.
Why you should major in an East Asian language
Interested in becoming a person with an international perspective and a well-informed understanding of the East Asian region? Do you have an eye toward a future career in politics, business, government, law, computer science, military service, or engineering? Then you should seriously consider majoring in Chinese or Japanese. Regardless of your major, competence in one of our languages will distinguish your list of job credentials.
If you are not so sure about majoring in one of these languages, but would like to add an East Asian perspective on your career, you may wish to minor in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, and enroll in the Asian Studies Certificate Program. Since we are a small department, we can offer what many larger departments cannot—a good deal of personal advising.
To gain firsthand exposure to this part of the world, you will have a good chance of obtaining financial assistance from Pitt. Every year, more than a dozen of our students receive financial assistance to study in Asia. You may also apply for internship positions in Asia or in companies in the United States where you can use the skills and knowledge you will acquire in our department.
The Robert Henderson Language Media Center provides services related to language study with its multimedia computer and lecture rooms. In addition, all of our classrooms are technologically up to date, which makes it a snap to incorporate the Internet, computer projection, or DVDs into class activities.
The Hillman Library is the home of one of the largest East Asian libraries in the United States, with a total collection of over 420,000 Chinese, Japanese, and Korean books and periodicals. In addition, Hillman Library Media Center has a large collection of East Asian films, videos, and DVDs, numbering over 5,600 titles.
The University of Pittsburgh is one of the leading centers of study relating to East Asia. Our Asian Studies Center promotes, coordinates, and supports a variety of activities, including conferences, workshops, cultural events, research, and teaching on campus and in the region.
As a department that offers courses on East Asia, our department is central to ASC’s activity. You may be surprised to know that 45 Pitt professors teach and do research on Asia. Pitt offers more than 200 Asia-related courses on a regular basis, with a yearly enrollment of 2,500 students.
If you are interested in meeting our faculty, come and visit us. The department is located on the first floor of Old Engineering Hall, 3942 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Please contact Paula Locante to make an appointment. See Google Map.