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studying for the jlpt

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studying for the jlpt

Postby dhaos » Wed 11.16.2005 11:08 am

I started studying to take the jlpt next year (probably trying 3kyuu). I finished memorizing all the hiragana and katakana, memorized about 20 or so kanji along with some random vocabulary words.

However I ran into a few problems looking through the 4kyuu and 3kyuu test-prep documents (the docs which contain all the kanji, vocab, grammar points and such). Many of the kanji in particular confused me. It only lists a few of the numerous readings each kanji posses. I noticed many of the readings only appear when used with other words. Are there rules for learning the spelling/pronunciation changes with the kanji itself, or is it just sheer memorization.

For example:
in the lv4kyuu test guide:
午 音読み=ご (go) <-why was it written in hiragana, aren't on-readings in katakana?

in jpwce:
午 音読み=ゴ and 訓読み=うま
午【うま】: (n) seventh sign of Chinese zodiac (The Horse, 11a.m.-1p.m., south, May), (P)

However I did notice the first reading ご is used in conjunction with other words. Such as:
午後 【ごご】:(n-adv,n-t) afternoon, p.m., pm, (P)

(there are many more incidents like this in the 4kyuu guide)

Btw, are the kanji listed for the tests just to get you familiar with the various meanings of the kanji presented elsewhere (in the vocabulary for example) or will you be asked to write out all the kanji's readings along with the kanji itself? I'm confused as to how much I should learn about each kanji since many of them have quite a few meanings.

Any help is greatly appreciated ^^.

btw these are the programs I was using to study with:
jwpce (japanese word processor):
http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~grosenth/jwpce.html
jfc (japanese flash card generator):
http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~grosenth/jfc.html
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RE: studying for the jlpt

Postby Infidel » Wed 11.16.2005 1:56 pm

The onyomi are more common with compound characters but there are plenty of compound characters that use kunyomi.

You should know the vocabulary words on the vocabulary list for your level 800 words for 4kyuu and 1500 words for 3kyuu. It is always better to learn kanji through vocabulary and use a flash card for refreshing your memory, rather than the reverse. Just learn the vocabulary from a JLPT 4 kyuu list then learn from a 3 kyuu list and you will be fine.
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RE: studying for the jlpt

Postby Kates » Wed 11.16.2005 2:52 pm

And I suggest you get study guide books with a practice test (or tests) in them. This way, you'll know exactly what to expect from the JLPT.

But no, you will not be asked to write all the readings and meanings for a kanji. You will never be asked for a meaning, actually. But you will be asked to chose which reading is correct in the given situation. (The JLPT is all multiple choice, in case you didn't know.)

For example, you see the sentence:
今日の午後、図書館へ行きませんか。 (Shall we go to the library this afternoon?) -- Sorry if you can't read all the kanji... but giving you the hiragana or romaji would defeat my 'quiz'!
The word 図書館 is underlined. You will have to chose it's reading from among four options. Let's say:
A.とうしょかん   B.としょかん   C.とうしょうかん  D.としゅかん

So you just chose which reading is right. And yes, they do make them very tricky. So look carefully!

There will also be questions in the 'opposite' form, where you will have to chose the correct kanji for the hiragana word given. I remember one test question had 学 and 字 for options, and if you don't look carefully, and if you are racing through your test, you might make a mistake.


As for how much about each kanji you should know... You have a whole YEAR. You have plenty of time to learn all of the readings and meanings attached to the 300 kanji needed for the 3kyuu test. However, the study books you get may say that certain readings are not so necessary to know for the 3kyuu (for example, I'm quite sure the on-yomi of the four seasons' kanji won't be tested) but honestly... better safe than sorry. And anyway, if you REALLY want to study/learn/understand Japanese, you'll learn everything about each kanji.
Last edited by Kates on Wed 11.16.2005 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: studying for the jlpt

Postby dhaos » Wed 11.16.2005 4:43 pm

@ishnar: thanks for the info, I guess it does make more sense to learn kanji by vocabulary than just by themselves ^^U. Organizing the vocab sheets is proving to be evil though heh. The mlcj site only provided a few small 'grouped' vocab sheets themselves.

@kates: Ok, I think I understand the scope of the test a bit more now. I expected the test would play kanji games with the choices though (various kanji that look almost identical). Languages tests enjoy such questions >_>. Btw, I am rather serious about learning the language; I would be taking a formal course however none of my nearby colleges offer japanese as a foreign language. So instead I spend roughly 4hrs a day, for the past 12 days, memorizing whatever material I can find. Right now my main resources for study are http://www.guidetojapanese.org/, http://www.mlcjapanese.co.jp/Download.htm and of course thejapanesepage... however do you think those sources will get me through all stages of the jlpt (minus ordering practice tests perhaps)? Should I order books or is it really not necessary? (it may sound stupid, but I encountered this problem when studying spanish, most books taught less than I could find online).

One final question, on the vocabulary section of the kyuu study sheets it keeps showing a mixture of katakana and hiragana next to certain words, but I couldn't find any real translation to them. Any clues?
Example:
あく  開く open [vi] 「ドアが あきます」 <-? translates to: doaga akimasu
ga's a particle, not sure about 'a' and 'do' or akimasu... masu is an 'polite' affirmitive present form... I believe.

Thanks again for everybody's help *begs for more*
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RE: studying for the jlpt

Postby Kates » Wed 11.16.2005 6:23 pm

Well, you're already using 3 sites I would recommend. YES, I would highly recommend getting a practice test book, that way (like I said) you'll know exactly what the test will be like, and thus you'll feel more comfortable, and THUS you'll have an even better chance of passing.

Since you can't take a class, which is always my first recommendation, I guess my next is to maybe look at getting a textbook. It will go through new grammar/words/kanji at a good pace and will have explainations & translations for you. However, I hear the GTJ.org site is good, so maybe that'll be enough. Up to you, really. My next suggestion would be to find someone to practice with, preferably a native Japanese speaker... but someone who knows the language well, whom you can speak with would be pretty good.

あく  開く open [vi] 「ドアが あきます」 <-? translates to: doaga akimasu
ga's a particle, not sure about 'a' and 'do' or akimasu... masu is an 'polite' affirmitive present form... I believe.

First, this isn't a translation. You rewrote it into romaji. A translation would be "The door opens." ^^;

ドア (doa) means door.... it's in katakana because it's gairaigo, a foreign-origin word used in Japanese. And yes, "akimasu" is a conjugated form of the verb "aku." (Polite, nonpast) It's better to think of it as 'nonpast' instead of 'present,' since there isn't much of a 'future' tense in Japanese.

Okay, and this "mixture of katakana and hiragana" is just an example to help you understand the use of the vocab word itself, or perhaps to see it's conjugation.... The translation should be pretty easy when you learn the vocab list. I assume that the examples use only words that are appropriate for the level--I mean, you won't find a word like "extraterrestrial" on the 4kyuu vocab list, you know?

I hope this helped you make some sense of your list... If you need more help, feel free to ask.
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