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Japanese Language and Tradition Textbook


After having used each the Nakama collection and Yookoso collection in faculty, studying Japanese appeared to revolve round checks of grammar, vocabulary, and kanji examine. The instructors used few if any talking assessments, and use of know-how for studying was subsequent to nil. After faculty, I taught newbie Japanese at a neighborhood middle and the curriculum they had been using by no means even received previous primary phrases. Lesson 1 was repeated virtually each week as a result of a brand new scholar with completely no information of Japanese would present up. Loyal college students by no means actually progressed of their studying.

This glorious curriculum allowed college students to attempt any subject while not having to have discovered the earlier subject’s content material as a prerequisite.

Nonetheless, all of that modified with the introduction of the Marugoto books. With the curriculum’s start-anywhere design, we had been in a position to progress via the e book week after week whatever the variety of new faces. This glorious curriculum allowed college students to attempt any subject while not having to have discovered the earlier subject’s content material as a prerequisite. As well as, the extremely interactive curriculum allowed for each enter and output apply of the language itself. Not had been college students simply copying notes from the board with out saying a phrase. Now, they had been moving into teams, working towards vocabulary and dialogues, and utilizing the web assets at dwelling to apply what they discovered on their very own time. For our small lessons, this was a godsend.

On this article, I’ll break down the entire ranges of the Marugoto books and provide you with a quick preview into what you may be getting when buying every textual content. All related web sites and digital options might be mentioned as properly. Earlier than that, I’ll briefly speak about Marugoto‘s extra outstanding factors in addition to the general group and content material.

What Makes Marugoto Stand Out?

colorful marugoto textbook spread

Whereas quite a lot of ranges and books are good, Marugoto is very notable for its substantial use of colourful content material, illustrations, and images. High quality content material audio — and loads of audio workouts — are included as properly. The primary three ranges even have high-class accompanying web sites the place customers can evaluate grammar, apply expressions and vocabulary, examine Japanese characters, and even view movies about Japanese tradition and life in Japan — my favourite half! Moreover, the whole lot simply feels contemporary and fashionable. You will discover fashionable vocabulary associated to issues like social networking, emails, texts, psychological well being, globalization, trade, and so on.

One other plus is the big selection of matters taught utilizing a Japanese cultural context strategy: wholesome residing, college, transportation, work life, holidays, know-how, theater, procuring, information, emergencies, and extra. These matters had been set by the JF Requirementsevery e book that includes a lot of related ones. For the reason that collection was initially designed for foreigners residing in Japan, you’ll discover a scarcity of content material typical of many standard Japanese language textbooks. I am speaking about faculty class-centered issues like, “What’s your main?” and “I am learning economics.” Moreover, classes will not be (essentially) progressive, which suggests you’ll be able to soar from one lesson to a different with out a lot bother in any respect.

marugoto textbook can-dos

And the inclusion of clear aim markers — known as “Can-Dos” by the curriculum — helps college students actually see what they are going to get out of their lesson. I’ve listed beneath among the Can-Dos you will note when utilizing the Marugoto books (these have been randomly pulled from the entire Marugoto textbooks).

  • I can discuss to somebody about my household utilizing a photograph.
  • I can say what sort of dwelling I dwell in.
  • I can write a birthday card.
  • I can speak about the place to buy one thing I need.
  • I can inform a good friend what a spot that he/she is desirous about is like and what to watch out about, utilizing a map.
  • I can discuss briefly about what I normally do to remain wholesome.
  • I can learn emails of apology and their replies and perceive the author’s emotions.
  • I can ask somebody for assist in an emergency.
  • I can learn a recipe for a dish and, for instance, the components, how it’s made, and the factors one ought to be cautious of.
  • I can write an e-mail of inquiry to a martial arts class, for instance, asking how you can take a category.
  • I can take heed to a brief information merchandise a couple of acquainted subject and perceive the primary level.
  • I can participate in a dialog about one other nation’s historical past or tradition.

With a powerful lineup of 9 textbooks, the Marugoto collection is ready to accommodate each novices and intermediate college students.

Residing in Japan, I can undoubtedly attest to the usefulness of those expertise — long-term foreigners listed below are sure to ask somebody for assist in an emergency sooner or later. And given Japan’s apology-centered tradition, having the ability to learn emails of apology within the language is crucial. These expertise (and lots of others launched by the curriculum) had been chosen by Marugoto‘s crew, The Japan Basis, to assist expats residing in Japan study Japanese effectively and utterly (therefore the identify Marugoto, which means wholly or utterly). All of that is carried out via a Japanese cultural context. In different phrases, the phrases, phrases, and grammar you’ll study are drawn from contexts and conditions which can be native to life in Japan.

And whereas all of that is good, the textbook collection could also be tough for a self-learner to navigate and implement by themselves. Having mentioned that, the Marugoto curriculum is really excellent for an instructor-guided atmosphere. The collection’ intensive use of digital assets and portfolios helps to bolster studying and maintain college students engaged. And with a powerful lineup of 9 textbooks, the Marugoto collection is ready to accommodate each novices and intermediate college students. Moreover, any instructors studying this might be delighted to listen to that there’s an abundance of additional assets that one can discover on-line to beef up the educational. From further apply issues to supplementary matters and extra — it will probably all be discovered at Marugoto‘s principal web page.

Stage-Based mostly Studying

JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education chart

One among Marugoto‘s strongest factors is its number of content material amongst a wide range of proficiency ranges. There are, as you may need guessed, just a few other ways to measure proficiency in a language. One of many extra standard strategies is the Frequent European Framework of Reference for Language (or CEFR, for brief). Based mostly on the CEFR, the Japan Basis created a language proficiency framework tailor-made to Japanese: the JF Customary for Japanese-Language Training (JFS). These two language proficiency frameworks are the idea for Marugoto‘s stage breakdown.

The CEFR divides general language proficiency into six classes: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. A1 audio system of a language know solely the very fundamentals of that language whereas C2 audio system are exceptionally fluent and may use that language the identical as (and even higher than) a mean native speaker. The Marugoto collection claims to cowl ranges A1 to B1, however their highest stage can also be thought of to be on the B2 stage by some. Marugoto books additionally present explanations for every stage. I’ll present a brief abstract of every stage based mostly on the e book’s description.

One among Marugoto‘s strongest factors is its number of content material amongst a wide range of proficiency ranges.

  • A1 – Can perceive and state quick, rehearsed phrases
  • A2 – May give or take heed to a brief, rehearsed presentation on a well-known topic
  • B1 – May give or take heed to a ready, simple presentation on a well-known subject inside his/her area
  • B2 – May give or take heed to a transparent, ready presentation
  • C1 – May give a transparent, well-prepared presentation on a posh subject
  • C2 – Can current a posh subject confidently and articulately to an viewers unfamiliar with it

The CEFR and JFS additionally present so-called “Can-Do” statements that element what linguistic expertise and skills a consumer ought to have the ability to do of their goal language. These Can-Do statements have been just lately built-in into a lot of different curricula and linguistic packages. The Marugoto texts combine Can-Do statements all all through their books. Using these proficiency markers, customers may even assess their very own progress and create a portfolio to doc their studying.

And whereas I may go on and on about how these books are organized and the logic behind their design, it might most likely be extra productive to examine it your self right here.

So with out additional ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of every e book.

Marugoto: Starter (A1)

marugoto starter A1

The primary set of textbooks within the Marugoto lineup are the Starter (A1) books. There are two pink-covered books which can be designed for absolute novices. This implies anybody can use them with none prior information of the Japanese language. You do not even must know the ABCs of Japanese — hiragana, katakana, and a few primary kanji — to start out this primary set of the Marugoto collection.

The 2 books are known as Rikai (which suggests understanding) and Katsudoo (which suggests actions). Content material-wise, they’re primarily the identical. The variety of matters and classes are the identical, and the teachings in every e book mirror each other. The distinction is the linguistic focus of every e book. In Katsudoo, you’ll apply your listening and talking extra. In Rikai, you’ll apply studying, writing, and Japanese characters extra.

The Marugoto web site says that you should use each books concurrently and even individually. In my expertise utilizing Marugoto, critical learners in a classroom setting would get essentially the most profit from utilizing each books. After all, in case you are simply seeking to stage up your talking and listening expertise, then solely specializing in Katsudoo is okay. And if you happen to simply need to apply studying and writing extra, then Rikai is all you really want.

Content material is damaged up into matters (chapters) and every subject accommodates two classes. Every lesson has quite a lot of actions and options that assist learners apply listening, talking, dialog, studying, and writing. On the finish of each subject within the Katsudoo e book, there’s a complete part devoted to life and tradition in Japan that’s based mostly on the subject. That is explored additional by tradition movies you’ll be able to view on the accompanying web site, which we’ll get into extra later.

You do not even must know the ABCs of Japanese — hiragana, katakana, and a few primary kanji — to start out this primary set of the Marugoto collection.

After getting via the primary 5 matters, there’s a “Check and Reflection” part. One other Check and Reflection is introduced on the very finish of the books as properly. That is most likely extra vital for instructors who need to implement assessments into the course. An precise evaluation just isn’t introduced in these sections; they solely describe what sorts of questions and actions a scholar would see on an examination based mostly on the Marugoto curriculum. And whereas the really useful take a look at part timing and questions differ between every e book, every take a look at remains to be really useful to happen in 120 minutes. The Katsudoo take a look at recommends actions that assess a scholar’s proficiency in Japanese characters, studying, and talking expertise. The Rikai take a look at suggests take a look at actions that assess a learner’s listening comprehension, kanji recognition expertise, particle information, phrase ordering, passage-based studying comprehension, and listening comprehension. The Rikai take a look at appears to be extra in-depth and covers extra areas of language. A few of these really useful actions are additionally just like what one would see on the Japanese Language Proficiency Check (JLPT). Nonetheless, no precise take a look at questions are introduced within the books; it’s as much as the teacher to make and conduct all assessments and actions. However in fact, any self-learners on the market may use the instance inquiries to make their very own assessments and take a look at themselves at a later time.

Now that I walked you thru the group of the textbooks, you could be questioning what sort of matters Marugoto: Starter (A1) covers. Can-Dos for the A1 stage embrace primary interactive expertise like self-introductions and asking questions on others. Marugoto: Starter (A1) options expertise resembling “discuss briefly about your loved ones” or “speak about your favourite meals.” For extra particulars, test the desk of contents for Katsudoo and Rikai to see if it suits your stage and what you need to really get out of it.

Digital Content material for Marugoto: Starter (A1)

marugoto plus starter

The accompanying web site, A1 MarugotoWeb, is a superb place to apply what you have discovered at dwelling or elsewhere by yourself time. Every Can-Do is damaged down into actions you are able to do on the location. Can-Do 10, for instance, offers you a “Talking Apply” video which illustrates how you can ask somebody in the event that they want to have a drink of espresso and the way one can correctly reply in Japanese. Scrolling down a bit, you will discover the “Problem” video, which locations you in an analogous place, pausing to can help you reply to the query: コーヒー、のみますか? (Would you like some espresso?) The web site additionally has pages devoted to grammar apply, hiragana apply, katakana apply, kanji apply, and even a web page with quick movies about life and tradition in Japan. The life and tradition movies had been at all times a favourite for my college students and had been the middle of numerous dialogue in our lessons.

Marugoto: Elementary 1 (A2)

marugoto elementary 1

The subsequent set of books is similar to the Starter set by way of group and digital assets. There are two books (additionally known as Katsudoo and Rikai) with one specializing in linguistic output and the opposite specializing in linguistic enter. The primary distinction is a soar in problem and complexity of matters. Oh, and romaji is gone as properly. Plus, an additional “Uncover the Rule” function has been launched. In Uncover the Rule sections, college students will try to pick and perceive a selected grammar level that the lesson highlights. The Check and Reflection sections additionally reappear in the identical method that they did with the earlier set.

After all, the Elementary 1 (A2) books are a step up in problem from the A1 books. You’ll study barely extra difficult grammar patterns, phrases, and phrases. Some expertise that the Elementary 1 (A2) books promote embrace issues like, “describe options of buildings seen within the distance” and “learn a message from a colleague within the abroad workplace whenever you return dwelling from a enterprise journey.” And regardless of it not being a test-prep collection, it is usually value noting that by the point you end this stage, try to be properly ready to cross the N5 stage of the JLPT.

Digital Content material for Elementary 1 (A2)

marugoto plus elementary 1

Just like the A1 web site, A2 MarugotoWeb is a improbable place to apply the Can-Dos amongst different points of language. Every Can-Do subject accommodates a Problem Drama that allows you to really apply your expertise, just like the problem movies on the earlier set’s web site. There’s additionally a powerful Life and Tradition Lab the place you’ll be able to view a large number of movies and posts not solely about Japanese tradition, however different cultures as properly. The articles are arrange like social media posts with “feedback” and the flexibility to love posts. It is an attention-grabbing method to immerse your self in Japanese language and tradition. It’s also possible to attempt the Dialog part, in addition to the grammar, vocabulary, kanji, and listening sections to apply these expertise.

Marugoto: Elementary 2 (A2)

marugoto elementary 2

The group and setup of this set is an identical to the earlier set. The one distinction is a soar in complexity of the content material. In case you ever wished to go to a Japanese restaurant and browse a vertical menu, then Can-Do 6 in chapter 2 would fit your wants properly! And for any museum lovers on the market, Can-Do 39, “inform a good friend in easy phrases what the outline of an exhibit in a museum says,” would show helpful. All of those expertise, and forty-seven others, type the define for content material at this stage.

Digital Content material for Marugoto: Elementary 2 (A2)

marugoto plus elementary 2 website

The accompanying web site for the Elementary 2 books, A2-2 MarugotoWeb, arguably appears essentially the most fashionable of the web sites considered to this point. The dialog movies are a drama collection with an attention-grabbing solid. There are 18 episodes, every corresponding to at least one lesson and protecting a number of Can-Dos. On the location, you can too apply kanji and grammar. And just like the earlier websites, there are additionally a number of cultural movies in addition to the “Life and Tradition Snap” pages that give quick, social media post-style articles a couple of specific subject. These quick “snaps” are written in all Japanese with the choice to incorporate furigana (kanji pronunciations) as properly — really an ideal useful resource for intermediate college students seeking to apply their studying talents.

marugoto pre-intermediate

From this stage on, the content material group and setup drastically adjustments. For starters, there is just one e book for the extent. Moreover, you’ll discover that this e book corresponds to each the A2 and B1 ranges. It acts as a bridge between each ranges, which is why Marugoto labeled it because the “Pre-Intermediate” e book. All sorts of actions have been included on this textual content: studying, writing, talking/dialog, listening, and so forth. The portfolio function can also be introduced again that can assist you maintain monitor of your studying.

On this textbook, the two-lesson construction contained inside a single subject is changed by a single-topic construction with just one lesson. In line with the Options part of the e book, every subject (there are 9 in whole) ought to take a learner roughly six to eight hours to finish. Inside every subject, there are 5 – 6 elements. Half 1 is a Preparation part designed to garner curiosity within the subject utilizing photos, and presents the vocabulary and Japanese characters mandatory for understanding the subject. Half 2 eases the learner into the subject via quick listening and dialog actions. Half 3 continues listening apply within the subject by introducing an extended listening exercise together with a script. Longer conversations and note-taking are additionally inspired. Half 4 focuses on quick readings and grammar sample apply. And at last, Half 5 (and typically Half 6) finishes the subject with an extended studying passage and dialog actions associated to the corresponding studying.

One different main distinction you may discover whereas utilizing the intermediate-level books is the dearth of an accompanying studying web site with content material just like the sooner books. Whereas it might be good to have one thing like that for the intermediate ranges, for no matter cause, the Marugoto crew determined to not implement it. As a substitute, the intermediate ranges retain the high-class native audio recordsdata for obtain, phrase lists with pitch accents, script and textual content translations in English, studying information, and writing sheets.

Abilities you will note highlighted at this stage embrace issues like Can-Do 14, “learn an article from a web site and perceive what the author says concerning the meals he/she can not dwell with out,” and Can-Do 42, “discuss concerning the firm you’re employed for and the work you do.” And, as said beforehand, whereas the Marugoto collection just isn’t aimed toward serving to you cross a take a look at just like the JLPT, when you full this stage, try to be ready to cross the N4 stage of the examination.

marugoto intermediate 1

The Intermediate books are formatted in a really comparable trend to the earlier set: there are 9 matters, every with 5 elements — six if you happen to rely the Preparation discovered in the beginning of every subject. Half 1 focuses on listening expertise. Half 2 is all about holding a dialog. Half 3 lets you discuss extra concerning the subject at size. Half 4 helps practice your studying talents. And at last, Half 5 will get you to jot down concerning the subject at hand. There’s additionally an attention-grabbing “Exterior the Classroom” part on the very finish of every subject that’s designed to get the learner utilizing Japanese in a lot of non-classroom environments. Issues like Fb, YouTube, posters, apps, and different platforms are utilized for this objective.

Not like the earlier books, nonetheless, the Intermediate textbooks don’t combine an evaluation instantly into the lesson move. As a substitute, steered assessments and their pointers are introduced within the very again of the e book. That is additionally the place you will discover reply keys, audio scripts, and private studying information. Due to the quantity of content material and time it takes to undergo the whole lot, Marugoto suggests assessing learners with a Check and Reflection after each three matters lined. Which means intermediate learners utilizing Marugoto are really useful to have three assessments whereas utilizing this textbook.

Constructing upon the key adjustments mentioned to this point, the general targets of the intermediate books are drastically completely different as properly. In line with the Options part in each intermediate texts, there may be now an emphasis on “methods” that learners can use to assist them comprehend and use Japanese in actual life. In line with the books, these embrace issues like:

  • Guessing the which means of unknown phrases
  • Changing unknown phrases with identified ones
  • Utilizing confirmations to test understanding and maintain the dialog flowing

Among the expertise you will note practiced on this e book embrace issues like speaking to a good friend about their musical tastes (Can-Do 12), discussing one’s hopes and plans for a visit (Can-Do 18), listening to somebody speaking a couple of manga and understanding what sort of story it has (Can-Do 26), and even writing a couple of product you might be searching for on a website that Japanese folks have a tendency to make use of (Can-Do 40).

  • Vocabulary Record: Vocabulary
  • Audio Recordsdata: Audio (Account login required.)
marugoto intermediate 2

The Intermediate 2 e book is organized precisely the identical because the Intermediate 1 e book. The one variations are between the content material and general problem. Whereas Marugoto claims this e book is barely on the B1 stage, there are those that would argue it’s partly on the B2 stage as properly. Upon completion of this stage, learners ought to have a strong basis for passing the N3 stage of the JLPT.

Examples of some expertise you will note on this e book embrace issues like giving recommendation on how you can keep wholesome (Can-Do 12), studying on-line procuring critiques (Can-Do 29), and speaking about historic buildings and the way they got here to be (Can-Do 43).

  • Vocabulary Record: Vocabulary
  • Audio Recordsdata: Audio (Account login required.)

The Verdict: Greatest Japanese Studying Curricula in Group Settings

pile of marugoto textbooks

To sum the whole lot up, Marugoto is really an entire bundle in the case of studying Japanese. Its vibrant design, interactive parts, and vary of ranges are nice for each absolute novices and higher intermediate college students alike.

Learners of Japanese attempting to get into the Marugoto curriculum could not know concerning the accompanying web sites, native audio recordsdata, or wordbooks which can be really mandatory for a full studying expertise.

Personally, I believe Marugoto is likely one of the finest Japanese language-learning curricula on the market. Since I found it and its suite of content material, I’ve completely used Marugoto when educating Japanese in a bunch setting. And that’s precisely the place it shines: the guided group setting. Sadly, Marugoto could also be a bit of out of attain for self-learners who’re unfamiliar with its design and implementation. And by “out of attain,” I’m referring to the way in which wherein Marugoto recommends its instructors go about educating with the books and accompanying media. Typical classes, for instance, solely have about three actions on common. If a self-learner who had no Marugoto coaching checked out these books, they could mistakenly consider that there’s actually no substance to the teachings. Moreover, learners of Japanese attempting to get into the Marugoto curriculum could not know concerning the accompanying web sites, native audio recordsdata, or wordbooks which can be really mandatory for a full studying expertise.

If you’re a self-learner, my recommendation can be to search out an instructor-led course that makes use of Marugoto or to even try the Marugoto On-line Course. The Marugoto On-line Course makes use of the identical content material because the textbook collection (not less than for the A1 and A2 ranges) and guides college students via the content material. This implies there isn’t any setup hassel and even the necessity for studying how you can implement the curriculum.

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David’s Overview