Intermediate Japanese (JAPN 51A)

Japanese 51A – Intermediate Japanese

Fall Semester

Required Texts

Banno, et. al, Genki Vol. II, textbook and workbook–purchased at Huntley
Miura & McGloin, An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese, Revised Edition
(2004) textbook and workbook–purchased at Huntley; DO NOT BUY 1994 EDITION

Additional materials for Genki L. 18-23 and the revised An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese (ij) Lessons 1-2 will be on the Sakai site and can be downloaded at your leisure.

Recommended Texts

Nelson, Japanese English Character Dictionary–we will have one full session on how to use the dictionary and learning the radicals as a short-cut to learning kanji
A Japanese-English Dictionary
An electronic dictionary will be able to take the place of both dictionaries above.


1. Participation, including on hour conversation outside of class which can be 3 times a week at Oldenborg, taking conversation class, or one hour conversation with a native speaker (see below for further instruction)–30%
2. Homework–10%
3. Quizzes–20%
4. Midterm–15%
5. Final–25%

Objectives of the Course

1) First and foremost we will build upon your skills from elementary Japanese and complete the grammar patterns that constitute a basic working knowledge of Japanese. These will include the passive, the causative, the causative passive, the honorific, and the humble, but we will also be learning more idiomatic phrases and patterns that will move you beyond simple yes/no discourse to those with greater complexity and ambiguity.

2) Dialogues at the start of the chapters with longer passages at the end of the chapters will constitute our reading exercises. These will deal with more complex issues such as an Edo period comic story routine known as rakugo, unlucky ages for men and women, the meaning of facial expressions, and how a renowned Japanese scholar began studying Japanese.

3) Listening skills will involve comprehension of longer, more complex questions with some introductory phrases, listening passages on exams that utilize the patterns and vocabulary you have learned, and daily aural interaction with the instructor and other students.

4) In speaking skills, we hope to move from monosyllabic answers to sentence length answers and longer narratives involving vacation plans, retelling of an event, a description of a bad day at school. Several presentations are also required. And oral interviews will be conducted for the exams. (The midterm will require a taped presentation.)

5) Writing skills will include answering questions, writing dialogues, and developing short narratives, based on writing exercises at the end of the chapters. Hard copies of presentations before the class will also be required.

To summarize, the course builds upon skills, developed in elementary Japanese, and completes the sequence of what is considered the fundamental grammar patterns. Completion of the course should provide skills enough to survive in Japan.

Thus, the course aims to have students become producers and consumers of Japanese at the Intermediate-Low level of the ACFL guidelines and enable them to do the following:


• Be able to create language largely by combining and recombining learned elements, though primarily in a reactive mode.
• Be able to ask and answer questions in largely face-to-face conversation.
• Be able to move beyond monosyllabic answers which include more detail and which can be sustained over a few dialogic exchanges.


• Be able to understand main ideas and/or some facts from the simplest connected texts dealing with basic personal and social needs.
• Be able to read texts which exhibit introductory techniques that are beginning to move from sentence to discourse level.


• Be able to meet limited practical writing needs and write short messages and short paragraphs.
• Be able to create statements or questions within the scope of limited language experience. Material produced consists of re-combinations of learned vocabulary and structures into simple sentences on very familiar topics such as vacation plans, retelling of an event, a description of a bad day at school.
• Be able to use coherence devices with very limited facility.


• Be able to understand sentence-length utterances which consist of re-combinations of learned elements in a limited number of content areas, particularly if strongly supported by the situational context.
• Content refers to basic personal background and needs, social conventions and routine tasks. Listening tasks pertain primarily to spontaneous face-to-face conversations.


• Be able to produce and recognize approximately 375 kanji (which includes 1a and 1b kanji).

This sounds extremely daunting at this time, but you will be surprised at what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the semester. I will meet with each one of you outside of class at the beginning of the course to ascertain what areas you are strong in and which may require some tweaking. I will be glad to work with you as well. (Oldenborg tutors will be available as well.) We will also have review sessions every week for those interested.

Class Attendance

Class attendance is mandatory. Your performance grade will consist of random grades given throughout the course. Thus, if you are absent because of illness or college business, please notify the instructor. If not, you will receive a zero for that day. This may sound harsh, but daily attendance in a language class is essential in order to become proficient in any language. Besides, some funny things happen and are said in class, so you don’t want to miss them! I will let you know twice during the semester what your performance grade is, but you are also welcome to ask me for it at any time during the course.

Conversation Practice

It is imperative that you listen to the audial portion of the lessons at least one hour a week. The audial exercises are available through the internet at Please contact Adan Gallardo at directly if you cannot access the site. (The Miura text comes with its own CD.)

To improve your listening skills listen to the dialogue without reading it beforehand or as you listen to the audial version of the text. Do the same for the drills and they will help you tremendously in doing the listening comprehension homework and that section on the exam. If you are unable to understand the audial without first reading the text or reading along, try working with a few sentences or a paragraph and gradually work up to the entire passage. If you can answer questions on the passage after listening to it three times, you have really made it!

To improve both your listening and your speaking skills listen to the audial and mark the sections where the native speaker pauses. Then try to read it in conjunction with the native speaker to get a sense of the flow of each sentence and passage. Repeat this exercise first with a sentence or two and gradually work up to a full paragraph or dialogue. This will train your ear to match the pace of a native speaker which in turn will teach you when to pause when you are listening to a native speaker and also how to modulate your own speaking in more natural sounding units. Good luck! Stick with it and it will pay off. Your intonation and pronunciation should improve as well.

One hour of conversation practice each week will also be required for the course. There are three options available: 1) attending the Japanese Table at Oldenborg 3 times, 2) conversing with a native speaker for an hour, or 3) attending conversation classes at Oldenborg twice a week. (Please note that the conversation classes are first come first serve.) If you attend the Oldenborg lunch tables, your card will be swiped as you enter the dining hall and will record your attendance. Oldenborg Dining Hall will open at 11:45 and will close promptly at 12:45. Conversation practice hours will be calculated every 4 weeks, so do not wait until the end of the semester to complete 42 attendances. In the past students who came to Oldenborg regularly did well in their oral interviews—and it is so fun as well!!

The Drucker Japanese English Exchange Program falls under option two. You will sign up with the instructor if you are interested. If you opt to converse with a native speaker of your own choice, please 1) be sure to check with the instructor before you commence your sessions, 2) provide the instructor with the list of days and times spent in conversation practice, signed by the native speaker, and 3) turn the list in to the instructor on the Monday after each four week period (i.e., the Monday after Weeks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, and at then end of Weeks 13-15). Please do not forget to do so or no credit will be given. It will be your responsibility to turn in the list in a timely manner: the instructor will not make sure that you do so. Drucker exchanges will follow a similar course of recording participation.

For extra credit, movie and anime DVDs (available at the FLRC) or at the weekly screenings by the Animotion Club can be viewed and then summarized in a paragraph in Japanese. The Japanese Section and the Asian Studies Program also have a very exciting roster of events every semester and extra credit will be awarded for going to hear a presentation and writing up a summary paragraph in Japanese.

 Chapter exams and kanji quizzes

No make-up exams will be given, but the lowest chapter exam grade will be dropped in computing the 20% exam/kanji quiz grade. The midterm and final cannot be dropped. Kanji quizzes for each lesson will be given as well and the total of kanji quiz grades will be equivalent to one regular exam grade. NO KANJI quizzes can be dropped, so if you fail to take a kanji quiz, you will receive a zero and that will be calculated into your kanji quiz grade.


Homework assignments will be due on the days indicated by the instructor. Homework should be turned in at class time but no later than 5 p.m. on the day it is due and it must be taken directly to the grader—and not the instructor. NO CREDIT WILL BE GIVEN FOR LATE HOMEWORK, although it will be corrected.


Japanese is challenging but a lot of fun as well. By the end of the semester we will be that much closer to being pros at it! Please be sure to come and see me whenever you have any questions.