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Japanese Language and Tradition Textbook


After having used each the Nakama sequence and Yookoso sequence in school, studying Japanese appeared to revolve round checks of grammar, vocabulary, and kanji research. The instructors used few if any talking assessments, and use of know-how for studying was subsequent to nil. After school, I taught newbie Japanese at a group middle and the curriculum they had been using by no means even bought previous fundamental 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 excellent curriculum allowed college students to strive any subject while not having to have realized the earlier subject’s content material as a prerequisite.

Nevertheless, 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 by means of the e book week after week whatever the variety of new faces. This excellent curriculum allowed college students to strive any subject while not having to have realized the earlier subject’s content material as a prerequisite. As well as, the extremely interactive curriculum allowed for each enter and output follow of the language itself. Not had been college students simply copying notes from the board with out saying a phrase. Now, they had been stepping into teams, training vocabulary and dialogues, and utilizing the web assets at dwelling to follow what they realized on their very own time. For our small lessons, this was a godsend.

On this article, I’ll break down all the ranges of the Marugoto books and provide you with a short preview into what you’ll be getting when buying every textual content. All related web sites and digital options will likely be mentioned as effectively. 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 a wide range 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 workout routines — are included as effectively. The primary three ranges even have high-class accompanying web sites the place customers can overview grammar, follow expressions and vocabulary, research Japanese characters, and even view movies about Japanese tradition and life in Japan — my favourite half! Moreover, every part simply feels contemporary and trendy. You can find trendy vocabulary associated to issues like social networking, emails, texts, psychological well being, globalization, trade, and so forth.

One other plus is the wide selection of matters taught utilizing a Japanese cultural context strategy: wholesome dwelling, college, transportation, work life, holidays, know-how, theater, purchasing, information, emergencies, and extra. These matters had been set by the JF Requirementsevery e book that includes quite a lot of related ones. Because the sequence was initially designed for foreigners dwelling in Japan, you’ll discover a scarcity of content material typical of many in style Japanese language textbooks. I am speaking about school class-centered issues like, “What’s your main?” and “I am learning economics.” Moreover, classes aren’t (essentially) progressive, which suggests you may soar from one lesson to a different with out a lot hassle in any respect.

marugoto textbook can-dos

And the inclusion of clear purpose 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 notice when utilizing the Marugoto books (these have been randomly pulled from all the Marugoto textbooks).

  • I can speak to somebody about my household utilizing a photograph.
  • I can say what sort of dwelling I reside in.
  • I can write a birthday card.
  • I can speak about the place to buy one thing I would like.
  • I can inform a pal what a spot that he/she is all in favour of is like and what to watch out about, utilizing a map.
  • I can speak 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 substances, how it’s made, and the factors one needs to be cautious of.
  • I can write an e-mail of inquiry to a martial arts class, for instance, asking methods to take a category.
  • I can hearken to a brief information merchandise a couple of acquainted subject and perceive the principle 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 sequence is ready to accommodate each learners and intermediate college students.

Residing in Japan, I can positively attest to the usefulness of those expertise — long-term foreigners listed below are certain to ask somebody for assist in an emergency in some unspecified time in the future. And given Japan’s apology-centered tradition, having the ability to learn emails of apology within the language is important. These expertise (and lots of others launched by the curriculum) had been chosen by Marugoto‘s workforce, The Japan Basis, to assist expats dwelling in Japan be taught Japanese effectively and utterly (therefore the title Marugoto, that means wholly or utterly). All of that is achieved by means of a Japanese cultural context. In different phrases, the phrases, phrases, and grammar you’ll be taught are drawn from contexts and conditions which can be native to life in Japan.

And whereas all of that is good, the textbook sequence could also be tough for a self-learner to navigate and implement by themselves. Having mentioned that, the Marugoto curriculum is really ideally suited for an instructor-guided surroundings. The sequence’ in depth 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 sequence is ready to accommodate each learners and intermediate college students. Moreover, any instructors studying this will likely 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 follow issues to supplementary matters and extra — it will probably all be discovered at Marugoto‘s important web page.

Degree-Primarily based Studying

JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education chart

Certainly one of Marugoto‘s strongest factors is its number of content material amongst a wide variety of proficiency ranges. There are, as you might need guessed, a couple of other ways to measure proficiency in a language. One of many extra in style strategies is the Frequent European Framework of Reference for Language (or CEFR, for brief). Primarily based on the CEFR, the Japan Basis created a language proficiency framework tailor-made to Japanese: the JF Commonplace for Japanese-Language Training (JFS). These two language proficiency frameworks are the idea for Marugoto‘s degree breakdown.

The CEFR divides total 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 might use that language the identical as (and even higher than) a mean native speaker. The Marugoto sequence claims to cowl ranges A1 to B1, however their highest degree can be thought-about to be on the B2 degree by some. Marugoto books additionally present explanations for every degree. I’ll present a brief abstract of every degree based mostly on the e book’s description.

Certainly one of Marugoto‘s strongest factors is its number of content material amongst a wide variety of proficiency ranges.

  • A1 – Can perceive and state quick, rehearsed phrases
  • A2 – Can provide or hearken to a brief, rehearsed presentation on a well-recognized topic
  • B1 – Can provide or hearken to a ready, easy presentation on a well-recognized subject inside his/her subject
  • B2 – Can provide or hearken to a transparent, ready presentation
  • C1 – Can provide 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 talents a consumer ought to be capable to do of their goal language. These Can-Do statements have been lately built-in into quite a lot of different curricula and linguistic applications. 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 learners. 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 fundamental kanji — to begin this primary set of the Marugoto sequence.

The 2 books are known as Rikai (which suggests understanding) and Katsudoo (which suggests actions). Content material-wise, they’re basically 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 follow your listening and talking extra. In Rikai, you’ll follow studying, writing, and Japanese characters extra.

The Marugoto web site says that you should utilize 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, if you’re simply seeking to degree up your talking and listening expertise, then solely specializing in Katsudoo is ok. And in case you simply wish to follow 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 a wide range of actions and options that assist learners follow listening, talking, dialog, studying, and writing. On the finish of each subject within the Katsudoo e book, there’s a entire part devoted to life and tradition in Japan that’s based mostly on the subject. That is explored additional by tradition movies you may 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 fundamental kanji — to begin this primary set of the Marugoto sequence.

After getting by means of 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 effectively. That is most likely extra vital for instructors who wish to implement assessments into the course. An precise evaluation shouldn’t be 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 continues 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). Nevertheless, 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 is likely to be questioning what sort of matters Marugoto: Starter (A1) covers. Can-Dos for the A1 degree embrace fundamental interactive expertise like self-introductions and asking questions on others. Marugoto: Starter (A1) options expertise resembling “speak briefly about your loved ones” or “speak about your favourite meals.” For extra particulars, verify the desk of contents for Katsudoo and Rikai to see if it suits your degree and what you wish 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 follow what you’ve got realized 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, provides you a “Talking Follow” video which illustrates methods to 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’ll find the “Problem” video, which locations you in an identical place, pausing to let 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 follow, hiragana follow, katakana follow, kanji follow, 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 quite a lot of dialogue in our lessons.

Marugoto: Elementary 1 (A2)

marugoto elementary 1

The following set of books is similar to the Starter set when it comes to 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 issue and complexity of matters. Oh, and romaji is gone as effectively. Plus, an additional “Uncover the Rule” characteristic has been launched. In Uncover the Rule sections, college students will try to pick and perceive a specific grammar level that the lesson highlights. The Check and Reflection sections additionally reappear in the identical manner that they did with the earlier set.

After all, the Elementary 1 (A2) books are a step up in issue from the A1 books. You’ll be taught 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 once you return dwelling from a enterprise journey.” And regardless of it not being a test-prep sequence, it’s also price noting that by the point you end this degree, you have to be effectively ready to cross the N5 degree of the JLPT.

Digital Content material for Elementary 1 (A2)

marugoto plus elementary 1

Just like the A1 web site, A2 MarugotoWeb is a unbelievable place to follow the Can-Dos amongst different facets of language. Every Can-Do subject accommodates a Problem Drama that permits you to really follow your expertise, just like the problem movies on the earlier set’s web site. There may be additionally a powerful Life and Tradition Lab the place you may view a mess of movies and posts not solely about Japanese tradition, however different cultures as effectively. The articles are arrange like social media posts with “feedback” and the power to love posts. It is an attention-grabbing approach to immerse your self in Japanese language and tradition. It’s also possible to strive the Dialog part, in addition to the grammar, vocabulary, kanji, and listening sections to follow 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. When 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 effectively! And for any museum lovers on the market, Can-Do 39, “inform a pal 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 degree.

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 seems essentially the most trendy of the web sites considered to date. The dialog movies are a drama sequence with an attention-grabbing forged. There are 18 episodes, every corresponding to at least one lesson and overlaying a number of Can-Dos. On the location, it’s also possible to follow 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 effectively — really an incredible useful resource for intermediate college students seeking to follow their studying skills.

marugoto pre-intermediate

From this degree 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 forms of actions have been included on this textual content: studying, writing, talking/dialog, listening, and so forth. The portfolio characteristic can be introduced again that can assist you maintain observe 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 keeping 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 by means of quick listening and dialog actions. Half 3 continues listening follow 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 follow. 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 workforce determined to not implement it. As an alternative, the intermediate ranges retain the high-class native audio information for obtain, phrase lists with pitch accents, script and textual content translations in English, studying information, and writing sheets.

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

marugoto intermediate 1

The Intermediate books are formatted in a really related vogue to the earlier set: there are 9 matters, every with 5 elements — six in case you depend the Preparation discovered firstly of every subject. Half 1 focuses on listening expertise. Half 2 is all about holding a dialog. Half 3 lets you speak extra concerning the subject at size. Half 4 helps practice your studying skills. And at last, Half 5 will get you to write 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 quite 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 immediately into the lesson movement. As an alternative, urged assessments and their pointers are introduced within the very again of the e book. That is additionally the place you’ll find reply keys, audio scripts, and private studying information. Due to the quantity of content material and time it takes to undergo every part, Marugoto suggests assessing learners with a Check and Reflection after each three matters lined. Which means that intermediate learners utilizing Marugoto are really useful to have three assessments whereas utilizing this textbook.

Constructing upon the key adjustments mentioned to date, the general objectives of the intermediate books are drastically totally different as effectively. In keeping with the Options part in each intermediate texts, there’s now an emphasis on “methods” that learners can use to assist them comprehend and use Japanese in actual life. In keeping with the books, these embrace issues like:

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

Among the expertise you will notice practiced on this e book embrace issues like speaking to a pal 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 web site that Japanese folks have a tendency to make use of (Can-Do 40).

  • Vocabulary Record: Vocabulary
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  • Amazon.co.jp:
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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 total issue. Whereas Marugoto claims this e book is barely on the B1 degree, there are those that would argue it’s partly on the B2 degree as effectively. Upon completion of this degree, learners ought to have a stable basis for passing the N3 degree of the JLPT.

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

  • Vocabulary Record: Vocabulary
  • Audio Information: Audio (Account login required.)
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The Verdict: Finest Japanese Studying Curricula in Group Settings

pile of marugoto textbooks

To sum every part up, Marugoto is really an entire package deal on the subject of studying Japanese. Its vibrant design, interactive parts, and vary of ranges are nice for each absolute learners and higher intermediate college students alike.

Learners of Japanese making an attempt to get into the Marugoto curriculum might not know concerning the accompanying web sites, native audio information, or wordbooks which can be really mandatory for a full studying expertise.

Personally, I feel Marugoto is among the greatest Japanese language-learning curricula on the market. Since I found it and its suite of content material, I’ve completely used Marugoto when instructing Japanese in a bunch setting. And that’s precisely the place it shines: the guided group setting. Sadly, Marugoto could also be somewhat 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 instructing 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 might mistakenly imagine that there’s actually no substance to the teachings. Moreover, learners of Japanese making an attempt to get into the Marugoto curriculum might not know concerning the accompanying web sites, native audio information, or wordbooks which can be really mandatory for a full studying expertise.

If you’re a self-learner, my recommendation could 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 sequence (not less than for the A1 and A2 ranges) and guides college students by means of the content material. This implies there isn’t any setup hassel and even the necessity for studying methods to implement the curriculum.

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David’s Overview