Program Description

The conversational Japanese courses are intended for students who would like to practice their Japanese interpersonal communication skills. There are eight levels of classes, from complete beginner to advanced. The Elementary 1 through Intermediate 1 levels are designed to be linearly progressive classes, and the Intermediate 2 through Advanced classes are designed to be repeatable, with new content introduced each term. All levels of classes include conversation practice with Japanese conversation partners.

Volunteer Conversation Partners (CPs) participate in the second portion of class, offering students the opportunity to have authentic conversations with Japanese speakers to practice what they learned in class. Instructors prepare activities and role-plays for students to practice Japanese in real-life situations, giving students hands-on experience that can be used outside of the classroom. 

Target Audience

The target audience for this program is for anyone looking to practice their Japanese speaking skills. Oftentimes traditional classroom settings don’t offer enough time for speaking practice, since there is so much content to cover in terms of other skills like reading, writing, and listening. The conversational Japanese classes prepare students for speaking in Japanese in a variety of real-life situations. 

Overall Level Descriptions

We use the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Speaking Proficiency Guidelines to help you assess and develop speaking proficiency in Japanese. It also helps you choose which course level you should sign up.

The ACTFL Speaking Proficiency Guidelines describe language proficiency in terms of five major levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, and Distinguished. Each level is divided into sub-levels (Low, Mid, High) to provide more granularity.

Our program corresponds to the following ACTFL Speaking Proficiency Levels.

  • Elementary 1- Novice Low
  • Elementary 2 – Novice Mid
  • Elementary 3 – Novice High
  • Intermediate 1 – Novice High / Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate 2 – Intermediate Low / Intermediate Mid
  • Intermediate 3 – Intermediate Mid / Intermediate High
  • High Intermediate – Intermediate High Advanced – Advanced Low and above

View Language Courses.

ACTFL LevelsDescription
Novice Low• Able to produce isolated words and phrases.
• Can introduce oneself with single words or memorized phrases.
• Pronunciation may often be unclear.
Novice Mid• Can handle a few simple communicative tasks in highly familiar contexts.
• Able to make lists, name items, and express basic likes/dislikes.
• Speech consists mostly of memorized phrases and a limited amount of learned words and simple sentence patterns
Novice High• Can manage simple, direct conversations on familiar topics.
• Able to ask and answer questions about personal details, daily activities, and immediate needs.
• Speech may still be fragmented and dependent on memorized phrases.
Intermediate Low• Can create with the language to express personal meaning.
• Able to handle a simple, direct conversation about familiar topics.
• May struggle with maintaining conversation and making significant errors in grammar and vocabulary.
Intermediate Mid• Can participate in simple conversations on topics related to daily life and personal interests.
• Able to narrate and describe in present, past, and future tense.
• Language is more spontaneous, though errors are still common.
Intermediate High• Can handle a variety of communicative tasks and participate in conversations on a wider range of topics.
• More able to narrate and describe events, giving opinions and explaining simple processes.
• May occasionally slip into patterns characteristic of the Advanced level but still needs more control over language.
Advanced Low• Can narrate and describe in major time frames with good control.
• Able to participate in discussions on topics of personal interest.
• Can handle unexpected complications in routine situations.

Adapted from https://www.actfl.org/uploads/files/general/Resources-Publications/ACTFL_Proficiency_Guidelines_2024.pdf