This book offers a systematic overview of the Japanese language from the perspective of the English-speaking learner. It deals with the essential points of pronunciation, the writing system, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse, and aims to complement Japanese language courses by bringing the various components of the language together in a general framework. Sample topics include English loanwords in Japanese, word- and phrase-accentuation, the role of the various Japanese scripts, vertical and horizontal writing, semantic contrasts between Japanese and English words, honorifics, numeral classifiers and grammatical "particles," and male and female speech and social formulas. The book also discusses practical issues such as the role of romanization and the use of character dictionaries, and gives due attention to the informal style. Addressed primarily to undergraduate learners, the book will also be of interest to teachers and to other readers who wish to obtain a general picture of this increasingly important language.