MISJ logo photo
What is MISJ? What is Japanese? For the Prospective Teachers
Fundamental Features
Cultural Background
Japanese Pronunciation
Japanese Numbers

Fundamental Features

Some of The Iwasaki Methods

1. The number of sounds used in the Japanese language is rather limited and the sound system is very simple. Thus, it is supposed to be easy to learn for most people.
That's good news, isn't it?

2. In Japanese, men & women, humans & things and singular & plural are not distinguished. This means, there is no special grammar for NOUNS themselves and you can always use them as they are.
That's also good news!

man and woman

singular and plural

3. In Japanese, three types of letters are used:

HIRAGANA (Used to write words and functional parts of a sentence)
KATAKANA (Used to write foreign origin words)
KANJI (Chinese origin characters used to write words)

That's bad news because you have to learn many letters. However, you don't have to worry about it. In the MISJ program, you will not be asked to study all of them at once. First, you will study only "HIRAGANA" and "KATAKANA" step-by-step using the original method.

4. In Japanese, there are three types of sentence.

NOUN-based sentence
VERB-based sentence
ADJECTIVE-based sentence

Each sentence has its own structure and different functions. You are going to study how to make each type of sentence one-by-one in the MISJ program.

5. In Japanese sentences, not prepositions but postpositions are used.
e.g. to school vs. school-ni

The postpositions are called "PARTICLES" in the MISJ programs. There are seven of them. How to choose the PARTICLES is one of the most important points of the Japanese language study.

6. In Japanese sentences, modifiers always come ahead of the word that is modified.
e.g. I-yesterday-my friend(with)-school(to)-went.

This is the typical word order of Japanese sentence. It is very unique isn't it?
MISJ shows you how to make simple sentences from the very start.

7. In Japanese natural conversation, three types of expression are used.

POLITE EXPRESSIONS (Can be used any time to anybody)
FORMAL EXPRESSIONS (Should be used when you speak to superiors)
COLLOQUIAL EXPRESSIONS (Used among close friends or family)

These should be carefully chosen according to whom you are talking to or whom you are talking about. This means that you have to learn all of them to master Japanese natural conversation. You cannot learn them all at one time because each expression requires different knowledge of grammar. You will start your study with POLITE EXPRESSIONS.
Don't you think it is fortunate that this expression is the easiest one to study?

8. In Japanese, VERBS change their forms. There are four major forms and many expressions are based on these forms. Thus, the study of how to make these forms is one of the most important parts of the Japanese language study.

In the long run, you have a lot to learn about VERB conjugation; however, the mechanism of the changes can always be explained by simple rules. There are few exceptions and above all things there are only two irregular VERBS in Japanese.
That's very good news, isn't it?