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Why take the JLPT?

 
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ikkyu15
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Joined: 01 Dec 2006
Posts: 18
Location: Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 2:42 am    Post subject: Why take the JLPT?

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I am currently studying for the JLPT 2kyuu and was curious about other people's reasons and goals for taking (and hopefully passing) the test.

For future education? For a job? Just for the heck of it?

I'll get started: I learned to speak fluent Japanese while living in Hawaii and working in the Japanese tour industry for about 5 years. Although I studied a bit at the time, I never really learned reading and writing, or proper grammar.

Now, 15 years later, at the age of 42, and in a job I don't like, I decided about a year ago to start studying again. My long-term goal is to get proficient enough to possibly pursue a profession in translation/interpretation.

Thanks for any feedback!

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Keith
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 194
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 1:47 pm    Post subject: Warning: rambling ahead!

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I took the Level 2 JLPT so that I might have something which can speak for me. It does show that you can read the language, whereas just speaking does not verify that. Conversation is just a basic skill. Sometimes I can do well, and sometimes I cannot. It's hard to convince an employer that you have some competency in the language. It's easy to convince a friend that you can speak their language. Some people hear a little and think you must be so good! Other people hear a bit and think you must not be so good. Many people think that reading and writing go hand-in-hand. Sure, they learned to write as they were learning to read. So they will think if you cannot write then you must not be able to read either. They probably think if you can read then you can write as well. Of course, I'm talking about handwriting. But most of us learners know that we can read far more than we can write. Writing is not just a problem of the strokes in a particular character. The biggest problem with writing is remembering which characters are used for a particular compound. Words I can easily read, I will draw a blank when it comes to writing. A lot of words can be read even if you just barely know them. You can figure it out from the context. These are the words that if you were to see them in isolation, you wouldn't know what they were, but in a sentence you are reassured that it is the word you think it is because it makes sense in that context. Some words, you will be at a point where you can remember what they are and how to read them just by their okurigana. If you take 休 for instance, whenever you see it as a verb, it will always have み or む after it. You don't have to know the character 100 percent. But if you wanted to write it you would have to remember that the right side of the character is a tree (木) and not a book (本) kanji. But for reading, you don't need to remember such details! Reading can be learned much quicker and with less effort than writing. They are two separate and distinct skills. When you read, you don't look at every character closely and make sure all the strokes are there. You learn to recognize the shapes of the words and move on to the next one. The faster you recognize the word, the quicker you reading becomes. If you know the language really well, that also helps a lot. Sometimes, I spend so much effort reading that the meaning doesn't sink in. Reading and reading comprehension are two separate things! Language is a complex thing and it is not easy to demonstrate or recognize one's abilities. But the JLPT can be proof that you have the knowledge. And level 2 shows that you are no longer a beginner. I am going to take level 2 again to see if my score improves or not. I don't know if I will be studying much for it or not. Level 2 is the best level to take! If you pass level 1, people will unrealistically expect you to be on par with a native speaker.

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JanneM
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Joined: 12 Jun 2006
Posts: 313
Location: Osaka

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 6:04 pm    Post subject:

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I take the JLPT tests in general mostly as a way to give me specific goals for my studying. I took level 2 specifically because it's the most useful level (it's often the minimum proficiency level for many jobs, university studies and so on).

Now that I've passed level 2 I've started to look around for a different goal. The step to level 1 is a bit too far for me to have as the immediate next goal (and I'm not sure I'll ever take it). I believe there are various more specialized proficiency tests branching out from level 2, for business Japanese, university entrance examination and others; I may take a look at one of them

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ikkyu15
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Joined: 01 Dec 2006
Posts: 18
Location: Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 1:23 am    Post subject:

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Thanks for the comments.

I'm in kind of a funny position because I can speak and listen far better than I can read and write. Usually the non-Japanese that I meet who study the language have the reading and writing down but speak very hesitantly.

I have to say that I enjoy conversing in Japanese much more than I enjoy reading and writing, but that's probably because I just like talking in general! And to Keith's point, when most Japanese hear you say something simple like "Ohayou gozaimasu" they immediately praise you and say you speak great Japanese...it's hard to get critical feedback on your actual abilities.

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Keith
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Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 194
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject:

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There are more people like you in Japan.
I have also met one Japanese-American who speaks Japanese fluently but said she can't read Kanji well at all.
It's good that you like talking. You could be a salesman, if you aren't already.

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desiinjp
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Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: Why take the JLPT?

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ikkyu15 wrote:
I am currently studying for the JLPT 2kyuu and was curious about other people's reasons and goals for taking (and hopefully passing) the test.

For future education? For a job? Just for the heck of it?


I took three years of Japanese in college, and spent a summer, and then a year and a half working in Japan. I now work in an industry where being fluent in Japanese will help me progress in my career, since many of our customers are Japanese companies. I realized that having an exam to study for was an incredibly motivating factor for me. Also, having that certificate provides some level of authentication for my resume, but that's a secondary concern.

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Applecart
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Joined: 26 Aug 2006
Posts: 137

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject:

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For me the appeal of level 2 was mainly that it provides a structure to help you move onwards from the upper beginner level. On the other hand, I did pay up to actually sit the test so the little piece of paper must also hold some appeal for me I guess.

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