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Foreign Service Institute japanese  - Image The Japanese Familiarization and Short Term (FAST) Course is one of a series of similar foreign language courses produced at the Foreign Service Institute that are intended to train U.S. Government personnel assigned to overseas posts. The objective of the FAST Courses is to help students acquire the communication skills necessary to deal with the most common social and daily life situations they will encounter during their overseas assignments. Language forms adequate to satisfy personal needs, "how-to" information, and cultural highlights are presented in a format that will encourage students to try out and use with confidence the language skills they have developed.

The original version of the Japanese FAST Course was drafted in 1981 by Tetsuo Kumatoriya and Mari Takahashi under the direction of Madeline E. Ehrman. These materials were edited in 1985 by John B. Ratliff, Ill, and Hedy A. St. Denis. Based on observation of student performance and comments of both students and instructors at FSI, the course has been extensively revised over the past several years. Mrs. Tomoko Tanaka Campen, Senior Instructor in the FSI Japanese Section, has been deeply involved in this work along with the team of instructors that she heads: Miyuki Fogel, Masako Gonzales-Montero, Masako Nanto, and Setsuko Pfeiffer. Thomas E. Madden assisted with the design and lay-out of the camera-ready copy and Cornelius C. Kubler was responsible for the editing of the final version of the course.

The Japanese FAST Course was designed as a six-week introductory course for employees and dependents with imminent assignments to Japan who are unable to take the regular 44-week Japanese Basic Course. It should be noted that the FAST Course does not attempt to present a systematic, comprehensive introduction to Japanese grammar; instead, bits and pieces of the grammar are practiced and explained as they appear naturally in the dialogs. In view of the emphasis on the immediately practical and the amount of time available, all linguistic explanations have been greatly simplified.

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 125 million speakers, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, whose relation to other language groups, particularly to Korean and the suggested Altaic language family, is debated. Little is known of the language's prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (7941185), Chinese had a considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (11851600) saw changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language, as well the first appearance of European loanwords. The standard dialect moved from the Kansai region to the Edo (modern Tokyo) region in the Early Modern Japanese period (early 17th centurymid-19th century). Following the end in 1853 of Japan's self-imposed isolation, the flow of loanwords from European languages has increased significantly. English loanwords in particular have become frequent, and Japanese words from English roots have proliferated.

Japanese is spoken in: Japan

Japanese has no known alternate names.

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