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University of Pittsburgh

Summer Language Program—



Please click here for schedule chart of Summer Japanese courses (pdf file)


Instructors and students take a break from the intensive speaking practice of the “act” classes by learning some basic calligraphy skills.

For more than 15 years, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures has offered intensive language training in Japanese during summer months. Called Summer East Asian Language Studies (SEALS), it continues to offer a concentrated mix of intensive training in language and culture. We began offering Chinese in the summer of 2014.

These summer courses challenge your resolve but reward you with rapid language acquisition with a strong proficiency in aural comprehension and oral communication in addition to basic reading and writing skills.

In SEALS Japan, JPNSE 1061 First Year Japanese is equivalent to two semester of Japanese at Pitt (i.e., JPNSE 0001 and JPNSE 0002). Likewise, Second Year Japanese JPNSE 1062 is equivalent to second year Japnese courses at Pitt (i.e., JPNSE 0003 and JPNSE 0004). These two classes have a special ten-week span: it starts two weeks later than Pitt's regular 12-week summer term.

Please note: The third year Japanese class has been cancelled for the summer of 2014. Third year Japanese is taught as a sequence of two 4-week courses (JPNSE 1020 and JPNSE 1021). It meets six hours a day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

SEALS China offers two 5-week intensive beginning Chinese courses (CHIN 0001 and CHIN 0002). The class will meet 5 days a week. Students will work closely with teachers to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in Chinese. You do not need prior experience in Chinese to enroll. You can register for both sessions, which, combined, are equivalent to one academic year of Chinese at Pitt, or register for one session only (equivalent to one semester of Chinese at Pitt).

After taking CHIN 0001, you will be able to talk about simple topics of daily life and read and write short passages. Upon completion of CHIN 0002, you can conduct simple conversations, and read and write short passages on a variety of everyday topics such as transportation, dining, asking directions, lodging, travel, etc. Students will learn about 600 Chinese characters in the summer session.

Pedagogical Philosophy

We believe that a successful language program must have at least two components: explicit knowledge about the target language and culture and a large amount of practice in context. We address the first component through daily lecture on linguistic facts and through a series of cultural activities built into the curriculum. As for the second, we recognize that we do not acquire the full range of language use through studying the language by looking at example sentences in the textbook. All moves we make in language, including utterances and communicative behavior, must be securely pinned to the culture of that language. In Japanese, for instance, it is not enough for you to know that doomo may mean “hello,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry,” among other things; you must learn through repeated practice in actual situations how the conversational move of saying doomo is carried out. We make this learning possible by repeated practice in many permutations. When doomo is learned in this way, it will run in your veins and will come out instantaneously whenever you detect an appropriate situation.

Our faculty

Past SEALS Japan faculty included lecture teachers Junzo Oshimo (Assistant Instructor) and Sachiko Takabatake Howard (Assistant Instructor). In addition, three more drill class teachers led recitation classes. If you have a question, ask Sachiko T. Howard.

SEALS China will be taught by Juchun Wei (Assistant Instructor) and Fan Fan (Assistant Instructor), Wan-Ching Hsieh (Assistant Instructor), all native speakers of Chinese trained in language instruction. If you have a question about SEALS China, contact Yi Xu.

If you’d like to know more generally about the Japanese or Chinese language study at the University of Pittsburgh during the summer or academic year, contact David Mills, coordinator of the Japanese Language Program, or Yi Xu, coordinator of the Chinese Language Program.


Non-Pitt students apply to the University of Pittsburgh's Summer Sessions (Summer Sessions). Pitt students should simply register for the course, both lecture and recitation.