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The Language Centre

 

CULP: General Language Courses - Japanese

Japanese, which is primarily spoken in Japan by its population of over 125 million, is one of the 10 largest languages of the world in terms of the number of native speakers. Alongside the global popularity of Japanese pop culture, such as anime, manga, games, costume plays and its new national food Ramen, the number of non-native speakers who study Japanese has been increasing. Today nearly 4 million people are studying the language worldwide (Japan Foundation 2012).

The origin of Japanese language is unclear. It is widely believed that Japanese is related to the Altaic group of languages found throughout northern Asia including Korea and Mongolia. But it is still often categorized as an independent language group, the Japonic languages group. In contemporary Japanese writing, Chinese characters as well as kana (phonetic symbols of Japanese origin) are used. Therefore, many people misunderstood that Japanese may belong to the same language group as Chinese. Early Japanese was an oral language with no writing system. In the 7th and 8th centuries AD, the Japanese experienced a massive influx of Chinese culture and started to use Chinese characters to write the Japanese language. At the same time, a large portion of its vocabulary was borrowed from Chinese. However, in terms of grammar, syntax and pronunciation, the modern Japanese share very little with the Chinese language.

Due to its unfamiliar writing system (the use of Chinese characters and kana), Japanese appears to be a difficult language to master. But in terms of pronunciation, speaking Japanese is very simple. Japanese has a relatively small number of syllables. If you learn just over 100 sounds, you will be able to pronounce any Japanese word. Moreover, almost all the sounds used in Japanese are found in English.

Japan is famous for its high technology but at the same time has preserved traditional culture and customs well. The dynamic blend of old and new is one of Japan's distinct attractions. In a holiday to Japan, you can enjoy both meditating in a secluded temple and watching Kosupre (costume play) in AKIHABARA. The more you know Japan, the more you'll want to know.

In Cambridge, some colleges and departments have their own links and schemes for studying in Japan. Also, the Japanese government and other organisations with offices in the UK or Europe ofefr grants and scholarships for a variety of purposes. See (http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/en/study/scholarships_other.html).

At the Language Centre, you can use our extensive collection of resources as well as enroll in one of our courses. The classes at all levels are functional-notional, particularly focusing on spoken language. In addition, Japanese culture and manners will be introduced as it relates to the linguistic information given.


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR A1, JLPT N5

(http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/levelsummary.html)

Prerequisites

For absolute beginners or for those with very little knowledge of the language.

Educational Aims

At the Basic 1 level the main aims are:

    • To develop a basic understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features
    • To establish the learner as a fairly confident language user in a range of predictable every-day situations
    • To introduce students to the cultural background of Japan within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand basic instructions or take part in a basic factual conversation on a predictable topic.
Reading Understand a set of basic notices, instructions or information that are written in Hiragana/Katakana and basic kanji (about 40 characters).
Writing Write a brief informal letter or e-mail on an every-day predictable topic using Hiragana/Katakana and basic kanji (about 40 characters).

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

  • how to greet at different time of a day,
  • to introduce yourself
  • to ask and tell time
  • to place an order at a restaurant
  • to go shopping
  • to invite friends for a meal
  • to talk about your daily routine
  • to talk about future and past events

Specification produced: 2011. Last reviewed: August 2017

Syllabus:

Japanese Basic 1


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR A2, JLPT N5

(http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/levelsummary.html)

Prerequisites: CULP Basic 1 / CEFR A1

For those who have completed the CULP Japanese Basic 1 course or who have acquired a basic Japanese script (Hiragana/ Katakana) or equivalent to A1.

Educational Aims

At the Basic 2 level the main aims are:

    • To further develop the understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features of the Japanese language;
    • To establish the learner as a fairly confident language user in a wider range of every-day predictable situations;
    • To enhance learners' understanding of the historical and cultural background of Japan within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way, express and understand requests, and understand instructions.
Reading Read confidently the text written in Hiragana/Katakana and basic Kanji (100 characters).
Writing Write postcards or make notes on familiar or predictable matters, using Hiragana/Katakana and Kanji (100 charachers).

Topics

The Course introduces students to functions and notions such as:

  • To introduce yourself on a formal occasion
  • To talk about past events
  • To state what you want someone to do and not to do
  • To read and write simple instructions
  • To ask for permission
  • To ask about other's likes and dislikes
  • To talk about actions and events that are/were in progress
  • To describe features of people and items
  • To ask for and give the location of items you need
  • To learn etiquette when you visit a Japanese friend's home
  • To express your preferences

Specification produced: 2011. Last reviewed: August 2017

Syllabus:

Japanese Basic 2


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR B1, JLPT N 5 - N 4

(http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/levelsummary.html)

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the CULP Japanese Basic 2 course or have acquired a proficiency equivalent to A2.

Educational Aims

At the Elementary 1 Level the main aims are:

    • To further develop and refine the understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features of the Japanese language;
    • To establish the learner as a confident language user in a wider range of every-day predictable situations as well as in situations related to study and work;
    • To further introduce students to the complex historical and cultural background of Japan within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.
Reading Understand routine information and short articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area, including basic Kanji (150 characters).
Writing Write short letters or emails on familiar or predictable matters, confidently using Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji (150 characters).

Topics

The Course introduces students to functions and notions such as:

  • Talking about themselves and their family
  • Describing their home
  • To talk about your work and future plans
  • To talk about past events and own experiences
  • To send your apologies and explain the reason
  • To quote someone's words
  • To talk about free time (hobbies and leisure activities)
  • To talk about your holidays
  • To talk about the climate and environment
  • To talk about your health and illness

Specification produced: 2016. Last reviewed: August 2017

Syllabus:

Elementary 1


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR B2, JLPT N5 - N4

(http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/levelsummary.html)

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the CULP Japanese Elementary 1 or have acquired a proficiency equivalent to A2+.

Educational Aims

At the Elementary 2 Level the main aims are:

  • To develop a good understanding of the language structures and vocabulary;
  • To develop the ability to engage in conversation in Japanese, where the learner is able to express his or her opinion on a variety of topics;
  • To develop an awareness of the cultural diversity among Japanese speaking countries and regions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand Japanese in a variety of both predictable and unpredictable linguistic situations. Express themselves on a variety of topics with a fair amount of detail.
Reading Understand longer texts where visual information is not necessarily available and where the text relies on language structure and lexical refinement to convey specific messages. (200 Kanji).
Writing Write letters and emails both formally and informally to a single recipient on a variety of topics, using the appropriate register and structure to achieve communication. (200 Kanji).

Topics

The Course introduces students to functions and notions such as:

  • To ask for directions and talk about conditions
  • To be able to understand and give advice and directions
  • To describe doing and receiving a favour
  • To be able to express intentions using ‘if’ or ‘even if’
  • To be able to make simple subordinate and 'if' clause sentences
  • To be able to understand and talk about possibilities
  • To be able to use different registers of the language and use verb plain form for casual speech

Specification produced: 2017. Last reviewed: August 2017

Syllabus:

Elementary 2


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR B2, JLPT N4

(http://www.jlpt.jp/e/about/levelsummary.html)

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the CULP Japanese Elementary 2 or have acquired a proficiency equivalent to B1.

Educational Aims

At the Intermediate 1 Level the main aims are:

  • To develop further a good understanding and appreciation of the salient linguistic features;
  • To establish the learner as a confident language user in a range of everyday situations;
  • To increase the learner knowledge of the cultural background of Japan within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand Japanese in a variety of both predictable and unpredictable linguistic situations. Express themselves on a variety of topics with a fair amount of detail.
Reading Understand the gist of longer written Japanese, where visual information is not necessarily available and where the text relies on language structure and lexical refinement to convey specific messages. (250 Kanji).
Writing Prepare short informal presentations to a familiar audience, using the appropriate register and structure to achieve communication. (250 Kanji).

Topics

The Course introduces students to functions and notions such as:

  • To be able to do reported speech
  • To use a variety of conditionals
  • To use transitive and intransitive verbs
  • To express the feeling of regret
  • To use honorific verbs
  • To give respectful advice
  • To be able to express gratitude by using the Te-form
  • To use extra modest and humble expressions
  • To use embedded questions

Specification produced: August 2017. Last reviewed: August 2017


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Standard - Michaelmas-Lent 2017/18

  Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri.
Basic 1     15:00 - 17:00
[LC TR2]
17:00 - 19:00
[LC TR1]
19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR3]
Basic 2       19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR1]
16:00 - 18:00
[LC TR3]

Elem 1

  19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR2]
   

Elem 2

19:00 - 21:00
[Hist. SR2]
     

Inter 1

19:00 - 21:00
[LC TR2]
     

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