As noted in the syllabus there are two parts to the final grade for this course, participation (30%) and a final essay (70%).
The ‘final essay’ portion is made up of three pieces of work which you will submit in the latter half of the semester;
This section offers some general advice that I hope will help when you come to propose a topic for your final essay. For this piece of work you should submit a short document (about 4-500 words?) which:
Below are some general hints that might guide your thinking:
It is often tempting to compare groups of people. One of the most common essay proposals I get is ‘the difference between people in Kantō and Kansai’. If you are thinking of writing an essay which compares groups then bear in mind the following:
If you decide to write about language then you will need to acquire some basic knowledge of linguistics. We talk briefly about certain aspects of linguistics but CAC is not a linguistics course and to get up to speed you will have to look through an introductory text; for instance, something like…
Coulmas, F. (2005). Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
might be useful if you are interested in the ways language and societies (people in groups) inter-relate. If you are planning to write about language-related matters talk to me about finding appropriate sources.
Examples of titles from previous student essays
Feel free to look ahead to the remaining sessions to look for topics that might interest you, the readings should all be there already to get you started.
• Multiculturalism in Japan: Focusing on Kanagawa and Kyoto
• What is ‘Cultural Appropriation’ and why is it important?
• Does Fast ‘Pace of Life’ Have a Positive Impact on People?
• Emojis as a Cross Cultural Communication Tool
• The Effects of Nihonjinron on Contemporary Japan: Japaneseness, self-image and discrimination
• Why most people in the world are and want to be multilingual?
• The development of Non-verbal Language (Sign Language)
• How did Linguistic Imperialism affect language formation in Hawai’i?
When choosing a topic (a research question) make sure you can answer a few basic questions:
Choose 5 resources (books, papers, websites etc) that you will use when you write your essay. Explain briefly how you will use them, ie, do they provide a theoretical approach that you will use, or data about the subject of your essay, or a review of the relevant literature for your chosen area?
Try to write a paragraph or two (300-400 words) summarising the relevant content and explaining how this resource will help you write your final essay. Remember to include accurate APA-style references for your chosen resources.
You should also show that you understand the different ‘informational roles’ of different types of resources; information from, for example, a newspaper website can be used safely in certain ways but is inappropriate in other situations, likewise information taken from a company website, campaign organisation, or any body with a specific ‘agenda’ has to be dealt with in a different way to information you might get from an article in an academic journal.
This is an argumentative or analytical essay on a subject of your choice, it will require you to;
Refer to the online APA style guide to remind yourself how to cite the various types of material you will need to refer to.
Plagiarism and AI checks
All essay-related assignments will be checked for plagiarism and use of AI using the Turnitin software. At the end of the 2023 Spring Semester, across all the courses I taught, about 20% of students had submitted work which alerted the Turnitin AI detection function. This returns a percentage value which estimates what proportion of the text is AI-generated text; the figures I saw ranged from 10%-ish all the way up to 100%. After this information was included in the general assessments for each class, about 10 students (not in CAC!) were given F grades due to their use of AI in their submitted work.
If you want some more general advice on essay writing, please have a look at my ‘top tips’ slides.