The purpose of JAPAN 301: Japanese Reading and Culture is to help you acquire skills to speak, listen, read, and write Japanese. The text Toward Better Japanese is meant as an introduction to written Japanese for those who have mastered basic language skills. It should help your reading skills, particularly those related to dictionary use, information about kanji, and 520 Kyouiku kanji. The textbook and accompanying CD were put together to assist you in developing your Japanese language skills through articles dealing with Japanese culture and geography. Our purpose is not to require you to simply go through each lesson, but to help you learn skills to communicate with natives like a native. The lessons are prepared in accordance with the most recent findings in language teaching and language acquisition.
The textbook consists of three parts:
Parts 2 and 3 contain twenty lessons. Each lesson in Part 2 and 3 introduces appropriate kanji, vocabulary, and grammatical principles that you can learn as a module. They are introduced not in isolation but in context, which should help you retain the kanji longer. Studies have shown that content-based materials are essential to internalizing kanji and grammar as part of your language system. Be sure to use them in your discussions of the materials you read in conversation or in writing. We have no evidence whether or not the actual writing of kanji will enhance your kanji retention. However, there is a definite correlation between language attrition and the ability to produce writing symbols in Japanese. In other words, the more you remember how to write kanji, the longer you retain Japanese language skills. The exercises were prepared specifically for students who wish to memorize kanji by repeatedly writing them.
The text is also accompanied by a CD. The CD program has been developed to help you achieve maximum benefit from the materials. We recommend that you use all the resources available: the instructor, the CD, and the main text. We strongly encourage you first to contact the instructor to set an individualized study program before you begin the course so that you can take the best advantage of the program. The instructor can set a schedule and program with you so that you can develop language skills using all these materials.
Before you begin, please read the general philosophy behind the design of these materials.
This course assumes that you have basic abilities in speaking, reading, listening, and writing Japanese. You should be able to carry on basic conversations in Japanese. We assume you have learned Hiragana and Katakana, but have not yet learned kanji. If you score above 30 in the department’s basic grammar test, you have sufficient grammar skills to be successful in the course. However, the course will be quite challenging as the amount or material covered is considerable for non-natives.
When you complete the course, you will be able to:
Toward Better Japanese by Masakazu Watabe. Bunkyosha, 1979.
The text, Toward Better Japanese, consists of three parts. Part 1 introduces you to the study of Kanji. Part 2 and Part 3 each contain 10 lessons with stories to read. This course is divided into four units. After each unit, you will submit a portfolio of your written work for the unit. After you receive feedback on your portfolio assignment from the instructor, you will take a midcourse exam. To master the materials covered in each unit, you must complete the assignments and exercises contained in the textbook. Part 1 contains the information you need for the study of Japanese. Read it and do all the exercises, then turn them in to your instructor as part of your unit portfolio. For each of the 20 lessons in Part 2 and 3, you should follow this sequence of activities:
After studying with the CD, you should be able to read the story with no help: you should recognize all kanji except proper nouns and other special readings identified with furigana. For your reference, the following are the proper reading times for each story, calculated from previous data on students’ reading (in minutes with the figures under decimal representing seconds). Practice so that you are able to read the stories within these times:
You will submit written assignments to Independent Study electronically through your course. To make sure I can open and read your papers, please save them as a .RTF (rich text format) files. Here’s how to do it:
It’s very important that you submit all of the assignments for a portfolio at the same time. Here’s how to submit your completed portfolio assignments:
Remember: Do not submit any assignment until you have completed all of the assignments for the portfolio!
There are four computer-graded, proctored mid-course exams spaced throughout the course, and one final exam.
Your grade for this course will be based on the following:
|Unit Portfolio Assignments||48% (12% each)|
|Four Midcourse Exams||40% (10% each)|
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4 instructor-graded portfolios, may be resubmitted once for a fee.
5 computer-graded, proctored exams, may retake each once for a fee, must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.
Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.
Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.
All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.
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Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602-1514