Before you begin this course, you must install the Japanese language pack for your operating system. This will allow you to view the appropriate kanji for this course.
Intermediate Reader: Japanese History and Culture is meant as a continuation of Toward Better Japanese. This text introduces another 367 kyouiku kanji, plus approximately 258 jouyou kanji (called “advanced kanji” in the lessons). The materials were put together to assist you to develop your Japanese language skills through reading materials dealing with Japanese history and culture so you can speak, listen, read, and write Japanese. The purpose is not just to go through each lesson, but to help you learn skills necessary to communicate like a native with native Japanese speakers.
The course consists of twenty stories organized into fourteen lessons and divided into four units. Each lesson introduces the appropriate amount of new kanji, vocabulary, and grammatical principles which you can learn as a unit. They are introduced not in isolation but in context, which should help you retain the kanji longer. Studies have shown that using new materials is essential to internalize kanji as a part of your language system. Be sure to use them in your discussions of the materials you read—in conversation as well as in writing. We have no evidence whether or not actual writing of kanji will enhance your kanji retention. However, there is 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 your Japanese language skills. The workbook was prepared specifically for the students who wish to memorize kanji through the repeated exercise of writing them.
The text also includes a CD. The CD program has been developed to help you achieve maximum benefit from the materials. I recommend that you use all the resources available: the instructor, the CD, the main text, and the workbook. I strongly encourage you first to contact the instructor to set a program of study 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 following 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 and ask the instructor in Japanese what you do not understand. You should be able to read basic reading materials using approximately 500 essential characters. If you score above 30 in our reading proficiency test, you have at least sufficient reading skills to be successful in the course. However, the course will be quite challenging because the number of kanji covered is considerable. Non-natives will have difficulty in catching up to near-native proficiency.
The text Japanese History and Culture: Intermediate Reader was selected to help you improve your reading skills as well as give you the cultural and historical information you need in order to talk intelligently with Japanese natives. It also introduces kanji in a systematic way together with its companion text Toward Better Japanese (a text you should have used in Japan 202 or 221). By the time you finish these two texts, you should know 1,143 kanji, including jouyou kanji, and be able to read the same materials as educated Japanese natives, such as newspapers, short stories, and novels with the help of a dictionary.
The Morton text was selected to give a brief overview of Japanese history. This short text has sufficient information for you to obtain background information for the Japanese textbook. The information you read in English will supplement the Japanese reading articles you are required to read.
Intermediate Reader: Japanese History and Literature consists of four units. To master the materials covered in each unit, you will complete the assignments and exercises contained in the workbook, Intermediate Reader Workbook. After you complete each unit, you will take a Speedback exam.
For each lesson in each unit, you should follow the following sequence of activities:
A successful study session will include the following sequences for each lesson:
For your reference, here are the proper reading times, calculated from previous data on students' reading (in minutes). Practice so that you can read the stories within these times:
Japanese is a difficult but fascinating language. You have chosen to take this course through independent study, which will require self-discipline and effort, yet give you more flexibility. You will find the tasks fairly simple once you start. To complete the course successfully, you should make a schedule balancing the coursework with employment and other activities. Spread out the work evenly over the time you have planned, and do the assignments as regularly as possible. I suggest that you plan to complete one article per week. If you do so you should finish this course in four months.
In each lesson, you will be given a quiz from Japan: Its History and Culture. You will type your answers to these quizzes in a word processing program (such as Microsoft Word), save them to your computer, and submit them with your portfolio when you are instructed to do so.
Each quiz is followed by a series of reading assignments and writing assignments. Most of the writing assignments ask you to print out a worksheet or write kanji out by hand. For these assignments, you will scan the completed worksheets and save them to your computer and then submit them when instructed.
After the assignments section in each lesson is a Self Check. These are brief quizzes that will not be graded, but they are there to help you test yourself on your mastery of the course material. Make sure you can answer all of the questions correctly in preparation for the Speedback and Final Exams.
At the end of each lesson is a Portfolio Assignment page, which is a summary of all the work you should have completed throughout the lesson. You should finish all assignments listed for the portfolio before you proceed to the next lesson. You will submit all portfolio components at the end of the unit.
The 作文 assignment involves writing your opinion about Japanese history and culture in Japanese after watching video clips on the CD. You may use a dictionary, but you are not allowed to consult others for help. Either computer word processing or handwriting is fine. If you use a computer, each response should be two pages double-spaced, in 12-point MS-Mincho font. Send the portfolio assignments as instructed below.
You will submit your completed portfolios to Independent Study electronically through your course. To make sure that I can open and read your paper, please save it as an rich text format (.RTF) file or Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file. For typed assignments, here’s how to do it:
For handwritten worksheets or similar assignments, follow these instructions:
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 mid-course exams at the end of each unit which covers materials from that unit. The final exam is multiple-choice format, like the mid-course exams, and includes listening comprehesion, kanji, and grammar.
Your final course grade will be determined by a combination of the scores you receive on the instructor-graded portfolio assignments for each unit and the five examinations. The course components are assigned the following weights:
|Unit 1 Portfolio||16% (4% each)|
|Unit 2 Portfolio||12% (4% each)|
|Unit 3 Portfolio||12% (4% each)|
|Unit 4 Portfolio||16% (4% each)|
|Four Midcourse Exams||28% (7% each)|
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4 instructor-graded portfolios, may be resubmitted once for a fee.
4 computer-graded mid-course exams, one final exam; 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.
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.
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Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602-1514