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Proficiency vs. Fluency

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Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby the_haunted_boy » Wed 03.28.2007 5:09 pm

I have a kind of a dumb question. If someone passes the JLPT at the most hardest level is it safe to say that they are fluent in Japanese?
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby flammable hippo » Wed 03.28.2007 5:16 pm

Goth_Guy wrote:
I have a kind of a dumb question. If someone passes the JLPT at the most hardest level is it safe to say that they are fluent in Japanese?


Not if they just barely passed with a 70% :|. If they got like a 98% or something then that's a different story...And also, the JLPT doesn't test speaking and writing, two very important components that factor into the whole "fluency" thing.
Two muffins were baking in an oven. One turns to the other and says "sure is hot in here." The other replies "AH TALKING MUFFIN!"

二つのマフィンがオーブンで焼かれていた。片方のマフィンがもう一方のマフィンに向かって、"暑いね”と言った。すると、話しかけられたほうのマフィンは"アッ!喋るマフィンだ!”と驚いた。 :)
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 03.28.2007 5:57 pm

Your level of Japanese has to be pretty good to pass the JLPT. There are all kinds of myths about Chinese people passing it without studying any Japanese and stuff like that, but I don't buy those stories at all. I have passed the JLPT 1, and from my perspective, it would be very hard for someone to just study purely for the test and not know any Japanese beyond what was tested -- the time limit on the reading section ensures that you have to know what you're doing. Even if you just get a 70%, that's still pretty good (I got 80).

It's true that the test does not directly test speaking ability, but I think people who would be able to have the Japanese necessary to pass JLPT 1 but be totally unable to speak would be few and far between.
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby flammable hippo » Wed 03.28.2007 6:04 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
I have passed the JLPT 1, and from my perspective, it would be very hard for someone to just study purely for the test and not know any Japanese beyond what was tested -- the time limit on the reading section ensures that you have to know what you're doing. Even if you just get a 70%, that's still pretty good (I got 80).


I wasn't saying that getting a 70 would be bad. On a test as hard as the JLPT 1, a 70 would be absolutely amazing (and congrats on passing), but what about the 30% of stuff that would have been answered incorrectly? That shows that there is still stuff to learn and a native or fluent speaker would have probably gotten almost all (if not all) of them right. so while a person who can get that high of a score on that test would be very, very skilled in the language, since they still missed those then that would mean that they stilled had some more to learn.

It's true that the test does not directly test speaking ability, but I think people who would be able to have the Japanese necessary to pass JLPT 1 but be totally unable to speak would be few and far between


Yeah, I guess. It would be very unlikely for someone to understand that much Japanese and be unable to speak. Although I have met people who can only understand a language but not speak it. Like a friend of mine can almost fluently understand spoken arabic but cannot speak it himself.
Two muffins were baking in an oven. One turns to the other and says "sure is hot in here." The other replies "AH TALKING MUFFIN!"

二つのマフィンがオーブンで焼かれていた。片方のマフィンがもう一方のマフィンに向かって、"暑いね”と言った。すると、話しかけられたほうのマフィンは"アッ!喋るマフィンだ!”と驚いた。 :)
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby darknightsky » Wed 03.28.2007 6:34 pm

Yah, I know how many people that have taken a langague such as Spanish for around 2 years, but couldn't really do anything but read it....
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 03.28.2007 6:38 pm

That shows that there is still stuff to learn and a native or fluent speaker would have probably gotten almost all (if not all) of them right. so while a person who can get that high of a score on that test would be very, very skilled in the language, since they still missed those then that would mean that they stilled had some more to learn.


Yes, that's definitely true -- I think we're back to the old "what does 'fluent' mean" question.

Yeah, I guess. It would be very unlikely for someone to understand that much Japanese and be unable to speak. Although I have met people who can only understand a language but not speak it. Like a friend of mine can almost fluently understand spoken arabic but cannot speak it himself.


I find this hard to believe somehow -- are you literally saying that he can understand anything he hears in Arabic but cannot even have the simplest of conversations? I know many people's speaking ability lags well behind their other abilities in the language, but I fail to see how someone could have perfect comprehension but be totally unable to turn it around and produce anything.
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby flammable hippo » Wed 03.28.2007 7:09 pm

I find this hard to believe somehow -- are you literally saying that he can understand anything he hears in Arabic but cannot even have the simplest of conversations? I know many people's speaking ability lags well behind their other abilities in the language, but I fail to see how someone could have perfect comprehension but be totally unable to turn it around and produce anything.


Well both his parents were born and raised in Arabic speaking countries and later on moved to the US. When he was young they spoke to him in Arabic but I suppose as he got older English became more important so I guess his parents sort of "switched" and stopped using Arabic and so he only really uses English. (I've never seen his parents speak Arabic with him at all) So maybe it's possible that by not using the language for such a long time he forgot how to speak it but somehow retained the ability to understand it when spoken? I'm not sure, I can't really ask him since I don't see him around anymore since he goes to a different school than me now.
Two muffins were baking in an oven. One turns to the other and says "sure is hot in here." The other replies "AH TALKING MUFFIN!"

二つのマフィンがオーブンで焼かれていた。片方のマフィンがもう一方のマフィンに向かって、"暑いね”と言った。すると、話しかけられたほうのマフィンは"アッ!喋るマフィンだ!”と驚いた。 :)
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby datdo » Wed 03.28.2007 7:10 pm

I kind of have that problem...I can understand creole but I can't speak well at all...it just that the words just don't seem to come to very well if I try to say them. I even have an american accent when I speak creole although my parents spoke creole to me when I was a child...

the thing is that I don't understand creole fluently. I must admit that. But I have a general understanding of what someone is saying in it.
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby sei » Mon 04.02.2007 8:33 am

I think the problem here must be the way to pronounce the words. He may know how to speak it, but he can't pronounce it right and it comes out different than what he wanted.
Same happens to me. I can read, write and listen to english pretty well (when i say listen i'm refering to listening to a native speaker speaking normally), and i can speak, because i know what i want to say and it comes out without a problem. BUT, i'm not sure i'd be understood =S. It's the accent, i never really trained speaking it much in my classes, and now it doesn't come out naturally. But i can say i can speak, because i can make the words come out fluently, the only problem is it may not sound very good.

I'm almost sure that if a person can understand a language, than the person can speak it. Mostly because if he knows what something means, he can mimic it when he wants to say the same thing...

My opinion only though...
Last edited by sei on Mon 04.02.2007 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby hungryhotei » Wed 04.04.2007 1:35 pm

flammable hippo wrote:
And also, the JLPT doesn't test speaking and writing, two very important components that factor into the whole "fluency" thing.


I don't think it does a very good job at testing listening in any real way either. It constitutes such a small portion of the test that you could have a fair shot of passing the lower levels without even taking it. In addition, all of the speach is in very clear, standard Japanese which won't cover a lot of real life situations. In any case, I think you could pass level 1 or 2 with quite a low relative listening ability.

In my opinion the test is not much more than a measure of reading ability.
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Re: RE: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby Kira17 » Thu 06.19.2008 4:30 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
That shows that there is still stuff to learn and a native or fluent speaker would have probably gotten almost all (if not all) of them right. so while a person who can get that high of a score on that test would be very, very skilled in the language, since they still missed those then that would mean that they stilled had some more to learn.


Yes, that's definitely true -- I think we're back to the old "what does 'fluent' mean" question.

Yeah, I guess. It would be very unlikely for someone to understand that much Japanese and be unable to speak. Although I have met people who can only understand a language but not speak it. Like a friend of mine can almost fluently understand spoken arabic but cannot speak it himself.


I find this hard to believe somehow -- are you literally saying that he can understand anything he hears in Arabic but cannot even have the simplest of conversations? I know many people's speaking ability lags well behind their other abilities in the language, but I fail to see how someone could have perfect comprehension but be totally unable to turn it around and produce anything.


No, it can happen.

My whole family speaks fluent spanish [and English]...(except I, of course :( ) and I can understand Spanish pretty well... but when it comes to speaking... I can't say anything more than a few phrases and sentences. Really.

I don't understand it myself...

If my mom were to say, "Kira, can you go get me that book from the shelf?" I would know what she said and would be able to readilly respond... but I could never dream of asking someone that.It would take me a looong time to think of the words and put them all in order.

Hmm... Also, I never seriously studied the language either... so.... thats also a major factor to consider.
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Re: Proficiency vs. Fluency

Postby chikara » Thu 06.19.2008 11:32 pm

05 Apr 2007 04:05 to 20 Jun 2008 07:00 :shock:

You quoted a post from 29 Mar 2007 09:08.

Nice try but you were obviously just warming up as your post 8 minutes later was a much better necropost :P

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