Summer East Asian Language Studies (SEALS)

For more than fifteen 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. Enrollment permitting, we also offer SEALS Chinese and SEALS Korean.

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.

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 Japanese 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. JPNSE 1020/1021 Third Year Japanese is an eight-week program.

Past SEALS Japan faculty included lecture teachers Junzo Oshimo and Sachiko T. Howard. In addition, three more drill class teachers led recitation classes. If you have a question, contact Stephen Luft.

EALL has a small number of tuition scholarships to enable first and second year students to take SEALS Japan. 

Pedagogical Philosophy

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 dōmo 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 dōmo is carried out. We make this learning possible by repeated practice in many permutations. When dōmo is learned in this way, it will run in your veins and will come out instantaneously whenever you detect an appropriate situation.