First Year Japanese I & II
Students in First Year Japanese are instructed to pick up basic information from simple conversations on the most common aspects of their everyday life and their immediate surroundings, such as school life, family and friends, simple shopping, and ordering in a restaurant to prepare for a short stay in Japan. They practice engaging in simple conversations in these topics, using basic words, grammar, and cultural knowledge to prepare for their short stay in Japan. In addition, they learn how to read simple paragraphs that are written in Hiragana, Katakana, and basic Kanji for beginning-level learners. They also learn how to write simple but organized paragraphs to introduce their family, hometown, and school life as well as simple memos to ask a favor, express appreciation, and invite people. The level of First-Year Japanese (Asian 120-121) approximates the N5 (first semester) to some N4 (second semester) level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (The Japan Foundation, Japan Educational Exchanges and Services). Students in these courses are encouraged to self-reflect their own progress by the JF Standard CAN DO Statements that are provided in each chapter.
Second Year Japanese I & II
Students in Second Year Japanese learn how to interact with Japanese language materials and Japanese-speaking people as a token of preparations for an extended stay in Japan, such as study abroad and internship. Students improve interpretive skills and gain knowledge by, for example, reading many stories in the 多読 (Extended Reading) series and reading and listening to the NHK Web Easy news site. As for presentation skills, students will post their essays on websites and produce short video clips and conduct class presentations. Moreover, they are expected to interact in Japanese with their classmates, instructors, and other Japanese speakers in various situations in both spoken and written manner. The level of Second-Year Japanese (Asian 222-223) approximates to the N4 ~N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (The Japan Foundation, Japan Educational Exchanges and Services).
Third Year Japanese and Above
Students continue to study Japanese through Asian 324 and 326, Third-Year Japanese I and II, and/or by taking upper level courses at one of the programs in the Five College consortium (Amherst College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst). Asian 344 Japanese Language and Linguistics, which is a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) style course, may be offered. A number of students study abroad in Japan in their junior year.