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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Reference guide of Japanese 'useful phrases' released

Staff writer

An expert panel from the Cultural Affairs Agency has publicized a conversation phrase reference for Japanese-language teachers of nonnative learners that details the minimum necessary expressions in everyday life.

The reference shows useful phrases with grammatical notes for 121 situations, including when people see doctors, rent housing, go shopping and use public transport.

This is the first time the agency has compiled a conversation phrase reference of such a large volume, officials said.

According to the panel, there has been no standardized method of teaching everyday conversation in Japanese. The government should propose a standard curriculum that can serve as guidance for diversified Japanese-language teaching practices, the panel said in an accompanying report.

The conversational phrases include asking for advice on hospitals from a neighbor: "Hiza ga itaindesuga, doko no byoin ni ittara iidesuka?" (I have a pain on my knee. Which hospital should I go to?)

"XXX ni seikei-geka ga arimasu yo" (There is an orthopedic hospital in XXX), the neighbor responds.

All of the reference texts will be soon made available on the agency's Web site, agency official Takashi Yamashita said.

"Phrases necessary in daily life in Japan are shown," he said.

Other examples include when a nonnative moves into a new place: "Hikkoshite kitanode, gasu no kaisen wo onegaishimasu." (Since I have moved in, would you please connect the gas.)

"Okyaku sama no onamae, gojusho to okyaku sama bango wo onegaishimasu." (Please give us your name, home address and customer number.)

"E? Okyaku sama bango?" (What did you say? My customer number?)

"Okyaku sama bango wa yubin-uke ni haitte-iru goannai no hagaki ni kaite arimasu." (Your customer number is written on a notice postcard which is inside your mailbox.)

There were 166,631 Japanese learners in the country as of November 2008, the agency said.

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The Japan Times

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