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Introducing 'Practice With Chizu'

posted 23 May 2011, 01:12 by Web Admins ‎(Ben Caesar)‎   [ updated 23 May 2011, 01:42 by Admins ‎(Halima Chen)‎ ]
Welcome to
'Practice with Chizu' - this audio blog aims to help you practise listening to the different modes of Japanese.

As part of the mission of the National Insitute of Japanese Studies to provide a range of resources to learners and students of the Japanese language, we have decided to produce a range of Japanese language podcasts to enable learners to improve their familiarity with the different registers of Japanese.

As anyone who has learnt any Japanese at all will know, the expressions, grammar and vocabulary you use vary depending upon your relationship with the person you are speaking to: you would speak to a work colleague you don’t know well using one set of words and expressions, and to a close friend or family member using a different set. This is the case in English, too, of course, although to a much lesser degree, and without many of the basic differences in syntax we see in Japanese. This difference and the ability to switch easily between the two styles of speech is something that can be difficult for students to grasp. Nevertheless, learners need to know and be comfortable with both if they are to fit in and speak Japanese naturally, and it’s possible to talk about any topic in either the polite, or plain, styles.

To that end, Chizu Whateley, of the Distance Learning Centre in University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies will be producing a series of podcasts over the next year. In each podcast, she will address a particular topic in three different ways:

  1. In simplified language, suitable for early learners of Japanese. This will enable even people without much experience to get a sense of the topic she will be talking about;
  2. In polite, formal language, suitable for discussion with an unfamiliar adult. This will enable intermediate learners to get a sense of formal vocabulary and expressions, as well as natural speaking speed;
  3. In casual language, suitable for chatting with close friends, or family. This will enable advanced learners to accustom themselves to rapid, natural speech and casual expressions.

Below, Chizu introduces herself and describes her hopes for the podcasts:


SEASのDistance Learning Centreで日本語を教えております。



We hope you find them useful – please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments.

Dr T. E. McAuley

National Institute of Japanese Studies