Japanese I, 3rd Edition Notes on Japanese Culture and Communication The objective of Pimsleur's Japanese I, Third Edition is to introduce you to the language and culture of Japan primarily through your ears, and only secondarily through your eyes. This approach is based upon the fact that more than 95 percent of our lives is spent in listening and talking, and less than 5 percent in reading and writing. The most effective and productive way to begin acquiring these necessary communication skills is by actually working with the "language in use," as demonstrated by native speakers of the language being learned. Efficiency is greatly increased when what you learn first are the most-frequently-used structures and daily life vocabulary, so that you practice with the practical tools you require every day. This carefully selected "core-language" allows the tutor to keep you focused entirely on essential language. This is self-motivating because you will begin to use it immediately and successfully. Language and culture are so closely intertwined that learning them separately can make you literally "culturally-deprived," that is, unable to produce appropriate and meaningful language. For this reason you must carefully notice the different ways the Japanese "act" in the various situations you will experience as you proceed through the units of this course. Being sensitive to "who is doing what to whom, and why," is what you have learned to do almost unconsciously in your native tongue - you will attain this same sense of "awareness" as you gain proficiency in your new language. This implicit instruction will come from the lessons, as you learn to identify the intonation and melody of the speakers. This Booklet will provide additional explicit instruction to further confirm what you have learned. The Notes have also been recorded on the last CD⁄cassette. Acquiring the culture, "the map of the territory," is like acquiring the terminology of a subject: it enables you to operate as a fellow member in that society. Your success in working with native speakers of Japanese will depend to some extent upon how sensitive you become to the accumulated heritage that is Japanese.
sumimasen In this unit, you have learned sumimasen for "Excuse me." You will find yourself using and hearing this expression quite often in your interactions with the Japanese. sumimasen is used for several purposes. It is often used to express the speaker's sincere and polite attitude toward others. However, Japanese people use this expression to convey not only "Excuse me," but also "I'm sorry," and even "Thank you." You will hear them say sumimasen to attract someone's attention when initiating a conversation, as was demonstrated in the Unit. You might also hear this expression from someone who mistakenly steps on your foot in a crowded train and wishes to apologize. It is a very useful expression in a wide range of social contexts. Word Order You noticed in this unit that the Japanese word order is very different from what you are accustomed to in English. Such words as masu, masen, and masu ka - which determine whether the speaker is making a statement, negating or asking something - come at the end of a sentence. You need to, therefore, listen to the speaker all the way through to the end of the sentence to find out the speaker's intention. This may be confusing to you at first, but as you become skillful, you will be able to use this sentence structure to your advantage, as you can carefully sense the listener's feeling while you speak. You can then decide on the overall tone of your message by modifying the ending accordingly.
Expressions of Modesty and Deference in Japanese Communication In this unit you heard a person expressing modesty when receiving a compliment from another person on his ability to speak Japanese. When someone compliments the Japanese on good work, nice clothes, a beautiful house, a wonderful dinner, etc., it is...
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