057.028 Syntax-based Japanese I
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2023W, VO, 2.0h, 6.0EC


  • Semester hours: 2.0
  • Credits: 6.0
  • Type: VO Lecture
  • Format: Hybrid

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to translate sentences of any complexity from Japanese into German. It is irrelevant whether it is a simple grammatical structure with only one predicate or compound technical texts with a variety of different Sino-Japanese characters (Kanji).

The 2 main skills taught are:

  • derive the Sino-Japanese characters by a mnemonic code in order to search a hierarchically based index comparable to a common alphabet with a code dictionary for the the German/English term.

  • the syntactic analysis of the elements of a sentence, whereby it is shown that each main or subordinate clause can be broken down into just 5 grammatical constructions and can ultimately be shaped into a precise translation with step 1.

The Japanese-German Code Dictionary with 12,000 terms and Japanese-English Code Dictionary with 80,000 terms already exist. The latter is particularly recommended for those who want to understand Japanese written technical information (instructions for use, manuals, abstracts, etc.) or who are interested in doing research in Japan. Around 22 postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers annually take advantage of the generous offer of the Japanese government to study abroad (see grants from the scientific exchange program). A computer supported sentence analysis of the Japanese language is still being researched on. However, the lessons are entirely oriented towards this new method of translation

The translation process is mainly intended in the direction of Japanese-German, whereby the content conveyed means that the reversal from German to Japanese based on the grammar is not a problem. This is also shown using examples.

Within the course around 100 pages of texts and leaflets are distributed for the understanding of the 5 grammatical constructions.

Subject of course

1) How to look up Japanese terms in seconds By means of a "mnemonic code", which can be derived from the structural form of the Sino-Japanese characters the Japanese words can be found in seconds in a so-called Code-Dictionary or by computer-aid. A Japanese-German Code-Dictionary with 12,000 words and a Japanese-English Code-Dictionary with 80,000 words are available. The latter one is strongly recommended for those, who want to be able to understand Japanese written technical information (operation manuals, guide books, abstracts, etc.) or who are interested to do research work in Japan. Yearly about 22 graduate and postdoctoral students respectively make use of the generous offer of the Japanese Government (see fellowships of the scientific exchange program). 2) How to read and understand Japanese sentences A research work on a computer-aided sentence analyzer of the Japanese language is still in progress. However, the lectures already fully contain the new methods of the translation. This language course imparts the basic knowledge of the Japanese grammar to the students in an easily understandable way, by reading simple texts of the daily life and not too difficult technical abstracts, as well. About 100 pages of selected texts and explanatory sheets will be distributed during the two semester program.

The exercises (UE) for this course take place weekly in form of homeworks.

Teaching methods

The basic knowledge of sentence analysis (grammar) is one of the main premis of the course. Instead of learning more than one hundred existing, pre-defined "sentence patterns" of the Japanese language, the complete grammar is explained by only five basic constructions.

Mode of examination


Additional information

🚨 The enrolment for the lecture will be available AFTER our 1st lesson. Details please see "Course registration".

⚠️ Our lecture is as a matter of principle intended to take place on site.

The course may be held via distance learning as alternative at short notice at any time, please check at TUWeL before.
An indication is provided by date and lecture at TUWeL's site  (⚫⚫🟢 lecture on site, ⚫🟡⚫ lecture on site not yet decided, 🔴⚫⚫ distance learning)
The access to the weekly stream takes place in TUWeL and is handled by Zoom. However, participants do not need a separate account for this.


👨‍🏫 Acess to the Zoom meeting via the respective link in TUWeL.


📑 General rules

Since an immanent part of the culture of a country is connected through and with the language, in the course of our teaching such contents are often explained from time to time. This includes adhering to rules that have great value in social coexistence in Japan. Therefore, the following points are essential for a successful passing:

  • There is compulsory attendance, which is controlled in each lecture (also online).
  • Apologies for being absent will only be taken into account in the case of timely announcement before the lecture or upon presentation of a corresponding confirmation, in case of an important prevention (eg illness).
  • The language of the course is German, the translation from Japanese must also be available in German during the examination.

Success can only be guaranteed if the lectures are attended continuously and homework is completed on time. Part of the exercises can also be worked out at home, which usually have a 2 weeks' schedule.

📝 Transfer into the summer semester and requirements to enter the exam

  • Attendance of the VO: ≥ 80% per list (this corresponds to a maximum of 2 VO per semester as absent) AND
  • Delivery of HA: ≥ 80% on time and positive (see information sheet on homework)

  • Deadline for WS: Last lecture in December
  • Deadline for the SS: First Lecture in June

At the deadlines, the two criteria will be evaluated. If the conditions are not already fulfilled here, it is not possible to transfer to the 2nd semester or to take the exam at the end of the SS. The re-entry is provided in such cases only in the next academic year. If the attendance is reduced or the deliver of homework in the rest of the lectures falls below the mentioned limit until the exam, the conditions are also not met.


Exceptions are only considered for valid reasons with appropriate proof (eg medical confirmation of a disease, etc.).
For more information, see the information sheet on the specified website.


📧 All inquires concerning the course directly christoph.guss@tuwien.ac.at



Course dates

Fri15:00 - 18:0006.10.2023 - 20.10.2023EI 11 Geodäsie HS - INF Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15:00 - 18:0003.11.2023 - 10.11.2023EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15:00 - 18:0024.11.2023EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15:00 - 18:0001.12.2023EI 9 Hlawka HS - ETIT Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15:00 - 18:0015.12.2023EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15:00 - 18:0012.01.2024HS 7 Schütte-Lihotzky - ARCH Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15:00 - 18:0019.01.2024EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Syntax-based Japanese I - Single appointments
Fri06.10.202315:00 - 18:00EI 11 Geodäsie HS - INF Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri13.10.202315:00 - 18:00EI 11 Geodäsie HS - INF Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri20.10.202315:00 - 18:00EI 11 Geodäsie HS - INF Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri03.11.202315:00 - 18:00EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri10.11.202315:00 - 18:00EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri24.11.202315:00 - 18:00EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri01.12.202315:00 - 18:00EI 9 Hlawka HS - ETIT Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri15.12.202315:00 - 18:00EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri12.01.202415:00 - 18:00HS 7 Schütte-Lihotzky - ARCH Syntax-based Japanese I
Fri19.01.202415:00 - 18:00EI 8 Pötzl HS - QUER Syntax-based Japanese I

Examination modalities

⚠️ This course is set up to be finished in 2 semesters.

The written exam and the issuing of the certificates will only take place at the end of the summer semester (for both semesters, ie WS and SS for VO and UE parts). The certificate of the UE part is only awarded upon successfully finishing the VO.

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
14.10.2023 08:00 03.11.2023 16:30 03.11.2023 23:00


Study CodeObligationSemesterPrecon.Info
066 445 Mechanical Engineering Not specified
TRS Transferable Skills Not specified


No lecture notes are available.

Previous knowledge

Some talent and interest to learn languages. Knowledge of the English language is of great advantage

Accompanying courses

Continuative courses