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What You Should Already Know

You should have taken JAPAN 041 or one semester of high school Japanese before taking this course.

What You’ll Learn To Do

  1. Learn new vocabulary to discuss a variety of topics, including weather and nature, animals, hobbies and sports, travel, and the Japanese money system.
  2. Use vocabulary and grammar used in Japan 41, and expand upon that to increase communication and reading skills.
  3. Identify key facts about the Japanese culture.
  4. Use Japanese with confidence and thought rather than reproducing rote memorization.

You may also be interested to know there are many books, videos, and websites that will help you learn the language and culture of Japan. The more you research on your own, the more valuable the knowledge from this course will become to you.

Course Materials

To successfully complete this course you will need the following:

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How This Course Works

This course manual is your text and consists of seven progressive units. The text is written with the perspective that your native language is English and that you learned English in America. I recognize that not all my students have learned American English, but since I teach mostly Americans, the songs, phrases, sayings, and stories that I use connect to an American’s grammatical background and thought process in English.

There will be times throughout this course that a phrase translated from English to Japanese isn’t exactly like a native Japanese speaker would say it, and if you know a Japanese person, they will likely tell you so. However, the process of learning a second language involves connecting the new language with what you already know as you take time to develop the appropriate linguistic, social, and cultural nuances of the target language. Developing basic interpersonal communication skills in a new language often takes approximately two years, so it doesn’t usually happen in the first year of a course. The examples used in this course are as authentic as possible, but I leave a great deal of room for creativity as you create a foundation in the new language that will last a lifetime.

This course is written for both the left – and right-brain learner. You will see both vocabulary lists and grammar patterns outlined so that you can just plug in the correct component. You will also see many short dialogues and uses of the language that will help the right-brain learner assimilate the language more like a child. This course will use creative and sometimes nonsense sentences to teach principles. I do this because the right-brain learner remembers the sentence patterns better when something absurd is plugged in as the component. The units build upon each other, enhancing your ability to retain information and use it naturally for both types of learners—left brain and right brain. You will come across words and phrases throughout this course that may not have been introduced in a formal vocabulary list. This is okay, because it will simulate real life more closely. You are always learning new vocabulary, even in your native language. Vocabulary is learned through the context of a sentence, whether spoken or written. Don’t get too wrapped up in having to know everything exactly—that makes language learning very stressful. Have fun and enjoy your adventure.

Each of the units consist of an introduction, unit lessons, vocabulary, pictures, discussion material, examples, and practice. The audio provides a native Japanese speaker to help you with correct pronunciation and flow of the language. The units will instruct you to cue the audio to a named track. Units 1–7 include self check questions with their corresponding answers.

Course Organization

This course consists of seven units and a final exam. The units will be taken from concepts in the book and from this course manual. There are two important facts that will be extremely helpful to you if you remember them and apply them in your learning of the Japanese language. First, the units and final exam are focused on your application of the language. Second, and most important, is that languages build. This means that what you learn tomorrow builds on what you learn today. Hence, it would be wise to learn the concepts and then not forget them. Keep using the skills you gain so they won’t get rusty, and you will do great.

You must complete the orientation quiz before continuing in the course. More information is available on the Orientation Quiz page.

Other Resources

There is a course discussion board at the end of the course, as well as a course wiki. The discussion board is designed for students to connect, discuss course-related matters, and share ideas with each other. The wiki is designed for the instructor to post information that may provide enrichment or relevant information for the course to the students.

Other Technical Considerations

This course functions best in a web browser other than Internet Explorer. If you only have Internet Explorer, you can download other browsers (e.g., Firefox, Safari, etc.) for free online. If you have trouble doing this, contact Technical Support at 1-877-897-8085 or istech@byu.edu.


Self Checks

There are self check “quizzes” in each unit intended to help you review the material covered in that unit. If you're not satisfied with the grade you received on a self check, take it over again until you are. Your self checks count toward the participation aspect of your grade. Self checks are designed to be taken over and over as many times as you wish, to help you gain greater mastery of the concepts or skills being tested. If you find that you do not know or are not certain about an answer, go back to the unit material and reread the section pertaining to that question. The self checks count toward 10% of your final grade.

Unit Quizzes

Every unit has a unit quiz. Each quiz is similar to a test and reflects the knowledge you learned in the unit and how you are retaining information from one unit to the next. Please do the unit quizzes without using your text or notes. If you do this, it will be a better assessment of your ability to master the simple concepts of this course. The final exam is a comprehensive unit quiz, and you may not use notes of any kind. These unit quizzes count toward 20% of your final grade.

Writing Assignments

Every student will be required to complete the writing assignment in each unit. These should be submitted electronically in the unit and will be graded by the instructor/teaching assistant. Graded assignments will be returned with comments. These assignments count toward 10% of your final grade.

Conversation Café and Speaking Appointments

The Conversation Café is a virtual room where conversation practice and speaking appointments take place. Minimal English is used in the Café. Activities are moderated by a TA/instructor. Hours of the Café are posted on the Communication and Conversation Café page. Spend as much time as possible in the Café, practicing the concepts you learn! Before you complete your speaking appointment, you must spend some time practicing in the Conversation Café. You must complete the first Conversation Café to move on in the course.

Speaking appointments are graded oral assessments. You will be required to complete certain language tasks or have a dialogue with the TA/instructor during your speaking appointment. A speaking appointment is a required part of every unit and must be completed before you move on to the next unit. TA-graded speaking appointments are completed on a first-come, first-served basis (no scheduling) in the Conversation Café room. The second, fifth, and final exam speaking appointments will be scheduled with your instructor and will take place in the instructor’s virtual room. These appointments require a photo ID and a webcam. If you are not able to keep your scheduled appointment, you must reschedule or cancel at least 24 hours before the appointment. If you fail to show up at your scheduled time, you will receive a 0.

A grade will be posted within 24 hours of the appointment. The lowest score from all of your speaking appointments will be dropped. (This does not include the final speaking appointment.) See “Grading” below to see what percentage of your final grade the speaking appointments are on.

We strongly encourage you not to use notes during your speaking appointments. That will help you be better prepared for the final speaking appointment where no notes are allowed. Note: You should complete all speaking appointments in the correct order. For more specific information about each speaking appointment, please refer to each assignment in the course.


The final exam will consist of your final speaking appointment and one instructor-graded exam. Both speaking appointment and instructor-graded exam will be comprehensive, dealing with material presented throughout the entire course. This final exam accounts for 30% of your final grade. You must pass separately both the oral and the written portion of the final exam with at least a 60 percent in order to pass the course. Notes will not be allowed during your final speaking appointment. If you use notes during the final speaking appointment, you will receive a 0 grade and fail the course. 

Due to the nature of this course’s learning outcomes, the exams are only available in a paper format. Please plan for shipping time.

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Your final course grade will be determined as detailed below.

Assignments and Exams Percent of Grade
Self Checks 10 %
7 Speaking Appointments 30 %
7 Unit Quizzes 20 %
7 Writing Assignments 10 %
Final Exam (speaking appointment and cumulative exam) 30 %
Total 100 %
Grading Scale
A 93-100%
A- 90-92%
B+ 87-89%
B 83-86%
B- 80-82%
C+ 77-79%
C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
D+ 67-69%
D 63-66%
D- 60-62%
E (fail) 59% or below*

Note: You must pass separately both the oral and the written portion of the final exam with at least a 60 percent in order to pass the course.

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Copyright © 2012 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.
Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514

Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


22 self checks, 7 unit quizzes, 7 speaking appointments, 7 writing assignments. None may be resubmitted. For speaking appointments, lowest score may be dropped (except for the final speaking appointment).


1 final speaking appointment (may retake once for a fee; no-shows count as attempts and are given zeros), and 1 proctored, instructor-graded final exam (may retake once for a fee). To pass the course, you must pass both the final speaking appointment and the final exam with at least a 60 percent on each. 

Course Duration

Because of the nature of some assignments, you will not be able to complete this course in less than 2 months. You may only complete one speaking appointment per day. No exceptions. You have 1 year to complete this course, but if you need more than a year, you may purchase one 3-month extension.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This may also include when a student copies and pastes directly from another source and passes it off as his or her own, copies computer-generated text from a translation tool and uses it as his or her own, or fails to cite a source after loosely summarizing its content in his or her own words. As determined by your instructor or the BYU Independent Study administration, if evidence of academic misconduct on assignments or exams is established, one of the two following consequences will apply to each incidence:

First Offense of Plagiarism

  1. You will fail the unit and be allowed the opportunity to resubmit the unit (or)
  2. You will fail the unit and be denied the opportunity to resubmit the unit

Second Offense of Plagiarism

  1. You will fail the unit and fail the class (or)
  2. You will fail the unit, fail the class, and may be ineligible to enroll in a specific course or any of our courses without going through an appeals process which will determine the severity of your plagiarism

University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.