Question and Answer

ドルチェスマイル Q: I want to be able to speak Japanese. How long will it take?

A: In the NACOS program (80 minutes, two times a week), you should be able to converse about yourself in simple Japanese in about three weeks. Also, you should be able to engage in basic communication with Japanese people in about three months.

Q: Will you teach me grammar and sentence structure using a textbook?

A: By having you practice your self portrait and short stories, we will explain the basic grammar and sentence structures used in them. We will give you a printout of the self portrait and each of the short stories but, as we go over them with you, we will continuously improve on the details and writing style. You will first focus on reading them over and over in order to memorize them. Once you have become proficient at reciting these, we will give you a printout and an audio recording of the perfected versions. These will become your textbook.

Q: My schedule is busy and I don't have that much time to study. Should I study grammar first before I start taking lessons?

A: It is difficult to understand the actual feeling behind words and sentences if you only study the pattern of grammar and the sentence structure with a textbook. If the textbook material does not relate to you, it is harder to remember what you have learned. Therefore, you should start taking lessons with material that you can relate to. The grammar will come naturally as you study material that relates directly to you.

If you study stories that you can relate to, you can understand the feeling of the story. If you understand the feeling of the story, you will remember the words more easily as you practice, even if you don't remember them immediately. Although you may not remember the exact words, the feeling of the story will help guide your reading. With repetition and confirmation, understanding naturally follows.

Q: What if I forget something immediately after you explain it to me?

A: While practicing the reading, the grammar or the pattern of the set phrase will be explained. Continual repetition will also help in remembering set phrases so that they will not be forgotten so easily. With repetition, the natural sound and flow will follow. Even if one understands a sentence from a textbook, it will be hard to use it in a real life situation without an understanding of its actual feeling. The repetition will also help the phrases come to you naturally, without having to think about the sentence structure and grammar before you say them. The most important aspect is to remember the feeling of the story instead of trying to remember words.

Q: Will I practice writing Japanese? Will I be able to read kanji?

A: At first, you will write your stories in romaji (romanized alphabet). However, as soon as possible we will have you read it in hiragana and katakana, and basic kanji so that you don't get caught up in the English pronunciation of the letters. If you read hiragana and katakana, you will come to understand the sounds and rythms of the Japanese language. You should be able to read hiragana and katakana in about three months. We will also introduce you the reading and meaning of the kanji in your stories. You will become familiar with the shapes of the kanji in your stories. By reading Japanese in hiragana, katakana, and kanji, the natural Japanese pronunciation and intonation will become a part of you. At NACOS, you will improve your speaking, listening, and reading all at the same time.
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