This is a great topic for difficulties in JLPT exam tests. I'm not so sure that the examiners are actually aware of this or not. But in the JLPT3 Listening Test for 2004, Problem #1 there is a story that was incomprehensible to me, based on what I believe is basically a cultural difference.
Here's the transcription:
お父さんと 女の子が 話しています。この女の子のテストは どれですか。
(Pictured for the examinee, are 4 exams showing marks out of 100 they are: 40/100, 50/100, 60/100, 70/100).
F: 70点は 無理だよ。でも、前より 良かったよ。
Let me tell you what I didn't understand about this dialog (and still wouldn't if a native didn't explain it). This may also help clarify for anyone else studying...
(1) I don't know why someone who just did an exam would know their result already. I assume (with confusion) that the time frame is 'recent' and that she didn't know her score yet. There is nothing she says that would clearly indicate otherwise.
(2) When they start talking about 'another' test so quickly, I start to lose the plot already... But I digress..
(3) With the continuing discussion of the score: Why does she say "about this" or "less than last year" and beat-around-the-bush? This reinforces the notion that she doesn't know her score and is guessing based on her gut-feel?
(4) Ultimately, then, how do we know what she scored? She doesn't know, she didn't say it...
OK, and the conclusion:
Apparently, this girl who just had an exam, actually does know her score! If she did know her score, you might ask, why didn't she tell her father? After all, she told him last time's score, why not this one? Seems a bit strange and inconsistent to me. I wish the dialog had an extra line that said "Do you know what you scored?" and the reply is "yes". That would have clarified my misunderstanding, completely.
To my mind, (at least in Australia), this dialog would be evasive to the point of down-right rude Which is one reason that I assumed that she 'didn't' know her score. But in Japan, this is probably pretty normal. Being indirect, not asking the score, not giving the score. And this is what you'd have to fully understand before getting this question right.
The final problem for me is, that while I understand this trait of Japanese evasiveness, I can't interpret it quickly. I need time to think about it.
Anyway, I thought I'd create a post about this to get it on record.
If you're a level 3'er, it may seem easy to read the text above, but with the speed and casual tone that they use, it's quite hard to pick up and understand everything and appreciate the cultural differences at the same time.
Last edited by spurrymoses on Sun Oct 23, 2005 9:17 pm; edited 5 times in total