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Kansai
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Project Summary:

This project involves the creation of a web-based, guided, self-study program on the Kansai dialect, a powerful regional dialect spoken by over 20 million people in the Kansai area of Japan, where Osaka and Kyoto are located. The website helps users gain basic knowledge of structure and intonation patterns of the Kansai dialect, and build up basic aural and oral communication skills with Kansai native speakers. By including video clips of interviews with various individuals from the region, this site is also a helpful resource to examine how this dialect relates to local identity. This project aims to assist students who wish to communicate with local Kansai people at work or in daily life as well as help students learn to appreciate diversity in Japan through the understanding of the Kansai culture and local identity of Kansai people.

Project Website:

The project website consists of seven chapters containing relevant cultural and linguistic information as well as aural/oral exercises accompanied by numerous audio and video clips. The main components of the website consist of:
1) basic factual information about the Kansai culture and characteristics of the Kansai dialect;
2) linguistic-focused chapters for the acquisition of basic grammar and functional expressions that are essential for survival level communication;
3) situational/thematic chapters for the exploration of cultural aspects of Kansai.
Linguistic chapters contain not only descriptive texts, but also audio resources attached to the sentences and drills, and video clips from interviews with local people for the purpose of comprehensive exercises. In the situational/thematic chapters, users are exposed, through video clips taped in Kansai, to unscripted conversations among local people in various settings and interviews and debates on various topics. This project also includes a new sorting system of hundreds of video clips, which enable users to easily choose, find, examine, and compare video clips of interviews with native Kansai speakers.

Target Audience:

The project's targeted user audience is English speakers of intermediate to advanced level proficiency who have studied college-level Japanese for two or more years. This site is designed for those who are in or who are going to the Kansai area for work, study, or travel, as well as for those who are simply interested in cultural and linguistic diversity in Japan.

(As of July 2007, Chapter 1, 2, 3 and 6 are available. We are currently working on site-design and the rest of Chapters.)

Japanese FLL



Kansai-Dialect
Self-study Site

Prototype website:
http://www.kansaiben.com/

Ikue Shingu
Project Director
Junko Hatanaka (UTexas at Austin),
Collaborator
Programming: Josh Aresty (LLaRC)
AV support: Cliff Myers (LLaRC)
Advisory group:
Shigeru Miyagawa (FL&L)
Ruth Trometer (LLaRC)
Kurt Fendt (FL&L)
Yoshitaka Yamashita (International Student Center, Hokkaido University)
Sponsor: The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning

Direct all inquiries to
ikue@mit.edu


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