Instructor: Mayumi Ishida, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures
Overview: The Japanese language utilizes three writing systems. Two are phonetic alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana, and a third known as Kanji. Dartmouth students are introduced to all three writing systems in the introductory language sequence (Japanese 1, 2, and 3). Students are required to learn to read and write both phonetic alphabets and 375 Kanji by the end of Japanese 3. In general, they master the phonetic alphabets quickly – usually by the sixth week of Japanese 1. Kanji, on the other hand, are more complicated and, therefore, more difficult to acquire. Introducing Kanji is the responsibility of the drill instructors. The students are required to practice them on their own. Typically, students make flash cards. This method helps them recognize Kanji, but it is not an efficient way to learn to write them. It is also important for students to learn how to pronounce Kanji.
The purpose of this project is to provide students with a better tool with which they can learn to read, write and pronounce Kanji more efficiently and effectively. “Kanji Practice” will be a web-based Kanji character practice tool designed to meet the needs of Dartmouth’s introductory language sequence. “Kanji Practice” will contain QuickTime movies which show stroke orders of Kanji. By viewing the movies several times, students will learn how many strokes the Kanji has and how it is written. This will also help them remember the kanji for reading purposes. Audio accompaniment will help students master the two pronunciations used for each Kanji.