Not Much to Brag About?


At last, my JLPT results:

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And a word about the 4-kyuu – not on behalf of those who passed it, like myself, but on behalf of those who didn’t, as I’m sure that there must have been some who did not. Though it is the lowest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, the 4-kyuu is still deserving of respect. The people who deem it a “pointless test” or “passable by a chimp” and shake their heads at people who fail it are, of course, native Japanese speakers or students who have reached a high level in their studies. Given that perspective, of course a basic Japanese test seems simple. But consider the work required to even crack the code in the first place – the beginning student of Japanese must not only learn to read 3 new writing systems but learn to erase the ideas of articles, plurals and all known grammar from their minds. Japanese grammar is practically the inverse of what exists in English and if one wants to learn it, they must train themselves to think in a completely unusual manner. High level students have already been trained and have, perhaps, forgotten what it was like to even have to learn a new system of thinking in the first place.

I don’t by any means intend to put the basic Japanese test on the same level as the far more complicated 3, 2 and the outrageously involved 1 level tests. The mere mention that a coworker has taken the 1-kyuu or 2-kyuu tests sends a shiver of respect up my spine, whether they passed it or not. I only hope that those who didn’t pass the 4-kyuu are not feeling low. I, for one, would like to see a chimp learn hiragana, katakana, 100 kanji and to even speak in the first place, let alone master the elements of a completely foreign language to a basic level.

Give it another year. See you in Level 3.

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