The program corresponds to the grammar topics, lexicon and kanji contained in Units 36-50 of the textbook 'Minna no nihongo Honsatsu (2nd ed.) Volume II' and in the topics addressed by Units 1-5 of the follow-up textbook 'Nyuu apuroochi - New Approach I'. In general, it consists in the following topics. Final clauses using conjunctions NONI, YOONI, and TAMENI; causal clauses expressed with -TE, NODE and KARA; concessive clauses in NONI; temporal clauses expressed with TOKORO and BAKARI; clauses expressing doubt; expressions of personal judgment; morphology and syntax of the passive, causative and causative-passive; levels of formality; 'give/receive' verbs and constructions, and complement clauses in -TE; the honorific language KEIGO; the reading and writing of approximately 160 new ideographs (kanji) for a total kanji knowledge of about 530 characters; the reading and meaning of all the vocabulary contained in the whole main texbook Minna no Nihongo I & II. During the module on 'Basic translation and written comprehension', students will learn how to analyze texts of medium complexity and how to render those structures in translation.
Prerequisites for admission
This course requires a minimum of 240-260 hours of previous Japanese education, the knowledge of hiragana, katakana and of least 350 ideographic characters (kanji). A knowledge of the basic notions of linguistics is also required. Moreover, students must be proficient in Italian in order to understand the content of lectures and exam instructions.
The modules of the official course will be entirely taught in Italian, following a 'traditional' method: the lecturer will explain in Italian the grammar rules treated in the textbook units by means of notions of linguistics, and writing on the blackboard. No computer material will be projected. Homework assignment and periodical kanji tests play an important role in the writing/kanji part of the course. In the module on 'Basic translation and written comprehension', classes will consist in the reading and analysis of texts by the lecturer, followed by homework assignment. Language practice ('Esercitazioni') will be held in Japanese in an interactive way. The teacher will ask individual questions to students, and all students will be actively involved.
(Main textbook, Units 36-50): Minna no nihongo. Shōkyū II honsatsu. Dainihan. Honsatsu (2nd ed.). (Tōkyō: 3A Nettowāku. ISBN 9784883196463).
(Follow-up textbook, Units 1-5):Oyanagi Noboru, Nyuu apuroochi, Chuukyuu nihongo (kisohen). Kaiteiban (New Approach. Japanese Intermediate Course). (Tokyo, Nihongo kenkyuusha, 2002. ISBN 9784931315150).
(Kanji textbook): Minna no nihongo. Shōkyū II. Dainihan. Kanji eigoban. Minna no Nihongo. Elementary II. Second Edition. Kanji - English Edition. (Tokyo: 3A Nework. 9784883197446).
Other material, build by each individual lecturer and teacher, if any, will be available from the Lumi bookstore or downloadable from the Ariel site of the course.
Recommended additional materials
(Grammar rules): Minna Minna no nihongo. Giapponese elementare II. Traduzione e note grammaticali - Italiano. (Tokyo: Tokyo: 3A Nework. ISBN 9784883196975. Also available in English and many other languages, under different ISBN codes).
(Grammar practice): Minna no nihongo. Shōkyū II. Dainihan. Hyōjun mondaishū. Minna no Nihongo. Elementary II. Second Edition. Basic Workbook. (Tokyo: 3A Nework. ISBN 9784883196630).
(Grammar practice): Minna no nihongo. Shōkyū II. Dainihan. Kaite oboeru bunkei renshuchō. Minna no Nihongo Elementary II Second Edition Sentence Pattern Workbook. (Tokyo: 3A Nework. ISBN 9784883196708).
The following books are reference grammars or can be used as such. They do not make use of the notions, technical terms and linguistic approach followed in the course, but may nevertheless be helpful. They are not in alternative to each other; one can buy them all.
Kubota, Yoko. Grammatica di giapponese moderno. (Venezia: Cafoscarina, 1989. ISBN 9788885613263). This text follows the Japanese school grammar, and is quite 'scientific' from that point of view.
Mastrangelo, Matilde; Ozawa, Naoko; Saito, Mariko. Grammatica giapponese. Seconda Edizione. (Milano: Hoepli, 2016. ISBN 9788820367275). This thorough text explains Japanese with the use of several categories of Italian school grammar.
Oue, Junichi; Manieri, Antonio. Grammatica d'uso della lingua giapponese. Teoria ed esercizi. Livelli N5-N3 del Japanese Language Proficiency Test. (Milano: Hoepli, 2019. ISBN 9788820375546). This text is quite sophisticated from the point of view linguistics, but still uses several notions of Italian school grammar.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will only take place at the end of the two-semester official course. It tests the knowledge build during the three modules of the official course and the skills developed during language practice classes. It is not possible to take a partial exam at the end of each module. There are no interim tests either. The exam consists in a written and in an oral part (thereafter also 'written exam' and 'oral exam'). Each part is made of several different tests.
There is no requirement for sitting the written part of the exam. In order to sit the oral part of the exam, however, a student needs to have passed the written exam with a minimum average mark of 18/30 (see below on how this mark obtains).
The written part of the exam is itself made of several separate tests, which aim to verify the theoretical knowledge of grammar, the knowledge of writing and the capability of actually applying those two kinds of knowledge to the comprehension and production of texts. The oral part of the exam consists in two test and aims to verify a student's skill in using their knowledge in a face-to-face, direct interaction with a Japanese interlocutor, in both speaking and listening.
The written part of the exam is made of four separate tests. They will happen in a single sitting, one after the other, in the order described below. To each test a certain, specified time is allotted. At the end of the allotted time, the exam sheets will be collected (regardless to their completion) and the exam will proceed to the next test. The whole written exam will last approximately three hours.
IMPORTANT: In order to obtain the required minimum mark of 18/30 in the written exam as a whole, a mean average of 18/30 must be first obtained in the first three tests (excluding the short essay). See below for details.
The written part of the exam consists in the following four tests.
- Kanji test (writing and reading). This test aims to ascertain students' lexical knowledge, as formed by vocabulary knowledge, character writing and character recognition and reading. Students will be asked to write the ideographic character (kanji) corresponding to several words written in hiragana, and to transcribe into kana words written in kanji. This test is to be completed in an allotted time. The mark is awarded in thirties. The mark thus obtained will be used to calculate the mean mark of the first three tests, then the mean mark of the whole written exam. During the kanji test the use of dictionaries is not allowed.
- Translation test. Sudents will be asked to translate several Japanese short texts into Italian or English. The translation will have to show an excellent comprehension of the sense and of the grammatical and logical structure of the source texts, and its fair rendition into the target language. Dictionaries are allowed. The translation test is to be completed in an allotted time. The mark is awarded in thirties. The mark thus obtained will be used to calculate the mean mark of the first three tests, then the mean mark of the whole written exam. Dictionaries are allowed.
- Grammar test. This test aims to ascertain students' knowledge of the whole morphology and syntax of Japanese language, and their capability of recognizing the grammatical structures and idiomatic expressions treated during the course. Students will be asked to fill the blanks in a number of sentences; to conjugate or complete a given verb to form correct sentences; to complete sentences by choosing between two given forms; to compose sentences using given sets of words; and to convert non-honorific, plain-style sentences into honorific sentences. This test is also to be completed in an allotted time. The mark is awarded in thirties. The mark thus obtained will be used to calculate the mean mark of the first three tests, then the mean mark of the whole written exam. During the grammar test the use of dictionaries is not allowed.
IMPORTANT. Barrier test. The three previous three tests are a barrier. Their marks will be averaged and those students who have not obtained a mean mark of at least 18/30 will be considered to have failed the written exam. The following fourth test (short essay) will only be graded to those students who have passed the barrier.
- Short essay (tema or sakubun), of minimum 300 characters. The short essay aims to ascertain whether a student has learned, controls, and is consequently able to use correctly, appropriately and with ease all the grammatical structures and lexicon treated during the official course and practice classes. The mark is awarded in thirties, on the basis of the richness of the grammar patterns and of the lexicon used, and on the basis of the length of the output text. The essay test is to be completed in an allotted time. Dictionaries are allowed. The minimum mark required to pass the test is 18/30 with no rounding up. The mark thus obtained will be one of the values used to calculate the mean mark of the written exam. Dictionaries are allowed.
Mark of the written exam
The marks of the four tests above will be used equally to calculate the mean mark of the written exam. This mark is also awarded in thirties. It will be rounded to the closest entire number (for example: 23.49/30 is rounded down to 23/30, whereas 23.50/30 is rounded up to 24/30).
The mark of the written exam is published on the pages of the course's Ariel site. An effort will be made to also specify the score of each test.
The mark thus obtained is considered valid for one year. This means that during that year there will be no need to re-take a passed written exam.
Only those students who have successfully passed the written part of the exam obtaining an minimum average mark of 18/30 will be able to sit the oral part of the exam and be awarded a final mark. The oral exam consists in two tests only, whose aim is to verify a student's capability of understanding basic grammar and simple idioms in listening, of using them correctly in speaking. and their fluency in loud-voice reading. The contents of the tests are the following.
- Dialoguing in Japanese with a teacher. Students will have to make a short oral presentation on one of the topics discussed in the classroom during classes; and answer several questions concerning their daily life, their study activities, Japanese culture, and the contents of the textbook. Listening and speaking skills will both be evaluated. This part of the oral exam is graded in thirties.
- Reading out one of the comprehension boxes contained in the textbook, Units 36-50. The evaluation of this test will only be used to adjust the mark already obtained in the first test.
Final mark and mark recording
At the end of a passed oral exam, the final mark of 'Lingua giapponese II' will be awarded. It consists in the mean average of the two marks obtained in the written and oral exams. It is expressed in thirties. The score will be rounded to the closest entire number (for example: 23.49/30 is rounded down to 23/30, whereas 23.5/30 is rounded up to 24/30). The professor in charge of the course will calculate and digitally upload the mark.
Full attendance of all classes (60-hour main course, practice classes) is highly recommended. Students who cannot attend will have to spend more hours studying at home. In this case, it is highly recommended that student use all the support material specified below, not only the main textbooks and compulsory material. In any case, students are discouraged to substitute the prescribed textbooks and supporting material with other material available in bookstores.