In my previous post, I gave some advice on learning Japanese. Now, if you want to get an official recognition for your learning Japanese, you can take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, JLPT for short (日本語能力試験, nihongo nõryoku shiken).
Actually, now that it is April, it is the time of the year to apply for the summer JLPT. In Japan, the registration forms should be available at many bookstores, and it needs to be filled in and posted by April 30th.
The test used to be in four levels, but it has been expanded to five levels in 2010:
- N5 – the ability to understand some basic Japanese
- N4 – the ability to understand basic Japanese
- N3 – the ability to understand Japanese in everyday situations to a certain degree
- N2 – the ability to understand Japanese in everyday situations and in a variety of circumstances, to a certain degree
- N1 – the ability to understand Japanese in a variety of circumstances
When you are thinking about moving to and working in Japan, I suggest you try to pass the N2 or N1 levels: many companies ask for these. They will be OK with N2, but some may prefer N1. Having at least N2 will greatly increase your chances of getting employed in Japan.
Continue reading Taking the JLPT exams – what if you are deaf?
Recently, I became acquainted with a British fellow, who has serious plans of moving to and working in Japan. There is nothing special about this – there are many people thinking about living in another country, and there are many expatriates sharing their experiences – except for the fact that this fellow and I are both deaf. He noticed on my public resume that I have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, level 2 (old system, equivalent to the current N2), and asked me how I learned Japanese. I pointed him to an article I wrote a few years ago on another website, which I am reposting here with some edits. He told me he has been looking for this kind of information since a long time ago. The reason is that most language learning websites also suggest listening to audio tapes, and other methods which are not really suited to deaf people who also want to learn the language.
So here is my advice. Please note that this advice is by no means limited to deaf students – I believe everybody who wants to learn the Japanese language, will benefit from this article.
Continue reading Learning Japanese – some advice for the deaf