How much will this course teach me?

The current version of the Bunkai Beast Grammar Course that you are reading covers all of the following:

  • The (true) structure of Japanese sentences.
  • How to make thousands of sentences with only limited knowledge of Japanese grammar.
  • Understanding the incredible power of nouns and adjectives in Japanese.
  • Making basic statements.
  • Asking basic questions.
  • Answering various questions.
  • An introduction to the correct usage and nuance of various Japanese particles.
  • Just about every type of verb conjugation.
  • Casual language you use with friends, polite language used in the office, and everything in between.

Transitioning into JLPT N5 studies after you make it through this course should be a breeze. In fact, we even cover a bit of JLPT N4 and N3 grammar.



JLPT, You Say?

Some of you might be wondering what the JLPT is.

"JLPT" stands for “Japanese Language Proficiency Test.” In Japanese, that’s 日本語能力試験 (にほんご のうりょく しけん). 日本語 (にほんご) means "Japanese," 能力 (のうりょく)means "ability," and 試験 (しけん) means "test."

The JLPT has five levels, broken down as such:

(The following tables were adapted from the Official JLPT website.)

Level

A summary of linguistic competence required for each level

N5

The ability to understand some basic Japanese.

Reading

  • One is able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji.

Listening

  • One is able to listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations, and is able to pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.

↑ In other words, the ability to NOT DIE using Japanese. ↑

N4

The ability to understand basic Japanese.

Reading

  • One is able to read and understand passages on familiar daily topics written in basic vocabulary and kanji.

Listening

  • One is able to listen and comprehend conversations encountered in daily life and generally follow their contents, provided that they are spoken slowly.

↑ In other words, the ability to get around in Japan(ese). ↑

N3

The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations to a certain degree.

Reading

  • One is able to read and understand written materials with specific contents concerning everyday topics.
  • One is also able to grasp summary information such as newspaper headlines.
  • In addition, one is also able to read slightly difficult writings encountered in everyday situations and understand the main points of the content if some alternative phrases are available to aid one’s understanding.

Listening

  • One is able to listen and comprehend coherent conversations in everyday situations, spoken at near-natural speed, and is generally able to follow their contents as well as grasp the relationships among the people involved.

↑ In other words, the ability to have fun, make friends, and chat with teachers. ↑

N2

The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree.

Reading

  • One is able to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics, such as articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and comprehend their contents.
  • One is also able to read written materials on general topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers.

Listening

  • One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations and news reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations as well as in a variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents. One is also able to understand the relationships among the people involved and the essential points of the presented materials.

↑ In other words, the ability to NOT be totally lost in virtually any situation in Japan. ↑

N1

The ability to understand Japanese used in a variety of circumstances.

Reading

  • One is able to read writings with logical complexity and/or abstract writings on a variety of topics, such as newspaper editorials and critiques, and comprehend both their structures and contents.
  • One is also able to read written materials with profound contents on various topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers comprehensively.

Listening

  • One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations, news reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed in a broad variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents comprehensively. One is also able to understand the details of the presented materials such as the relationships among the people involved, the logical structures, and the essential points.

↑ In other words, the ability to be a (mostly) fully-functioning, adult member of society. ↑



Issues with the JLPT

The main problem with those JLPT levels above is that they aren't all that accurate for measuring a person's ability, particularly if we're talking about the ability to communicate with people in casual, everyday situations.

Casual languageーand slang, especiallyーare more or less ignored in JLPT tests.

On the other hand, the JLPT is such a widely respected measure of Japanese ability that there are a lot of benefits to taking it. For example, it's hard to get a job in a Japanese-speaking office environment without N2 certification. It's hard to become a translator without N1 certification. Also, most of the grammar introduced in JLPT N5-N3 is more or less essential for becoming "fluent," even if they only present it in overly stiff language.

If you're studying with NihongoShark, by the way, you don't need to worry about any of this. We cover all of itーthe fancy grammar stuff and the laid-back casual language that I personally love to study and use.

My main concern is to give you a deep, intricate understanding of the mechanics of this language. Passing tests should come naturally after doing that.

Well, then. Let's start Japanesing!