Level 2 Grammar


(Estimated) Approx 1000 Kanji, 5000 words - The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations

Level 2 Grammar

Postby Sarevok » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:15 pm

I tried answering one of the past exams in Level 2 and I found out that the grammar part was quite difficult. The compositions and articles are quite long and it requires much time to read and understand the whole thing especially for someone who hasn't quite memorized all the kanji like me. Are there any techniques or hints that we should know about in order to finish the exam on time? :oops:
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Postby spurrymoses » Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:13 pm

Hi Sarevok,

Yeah I noticed that too.

There's no doubt that Level 2 is a 'lot' harder than 3. I think you may have got a shock even though you knew it was a big jump ;-)

Of course, I can't offer experienced advice because I'm on the same problem. But I suppose I should mention what I'm doing lately.

My partner ocassionally brings home a local Japanese language newspaper or magazine (that is, written and printed in Sydney, Australia by local Japanese). I pick out an article that looks like it's on the simple side, and sit down and look up each kanji in the dictionary, and each word I don't know etc. It's hard work, but it's the only way forward as I see it.

There's not really enough material in text books to keep my stomach full!
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Postby Sarevok » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:41 am

Thanks for the reply Spurry. I might as well start reading Japanese magazines. :D Anyway do you have any suggestions as to what Kanji dictionary to use?
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Postby spurrymoses » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:42 am

Yep, everyone seemed to rave about this Kanji Dictionary, so I bought it...

The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary

It uses the SKIP system you may have heard about, rather than using radicals as normal Japanese Kanji dictionaries do. Using radicals is unnecessarily difficult, if you believe it.

I basically like it. I can often look up Kanji really quickly. But there's quite a few kanji which I had a terrible time finding, but I suppose there's a learning curve to the SKP method - just for Kanji that are definied as 'blocks'.
If the kanji has a left-right or top-bottom construction, it's generally a snap to find it.

But the appendix has other look up indexes as well, so I think it's a good one.

Warning: it uses romaji for everything except the Kanji itself and the Kanji compounds that are listed - which I find very irritating.
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Postby Tim » Mon May 29, 2006 12:22 pm

My simple answer is to spend at least an hour a day using Ocha no Kanji for JLPT level 2.

That should improve your Kanji and vocab enough to cover part of the vocab section and most of the kanji section.

http://www.chuobunkyo.jp/japanese.php?lang=en
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Postby spurrymoses » Mon May 29, 2006 5:52 pm

Tim wrote:My simple answer is to spend at least an hour a day using Ocha no Kanji for JLPT level 2.
http://www.chuobunkyo.jp/japanese.php?lang=en


That's quite nice. Although, unfortunately, the Ocha No Kanji doesn't work with OpenOffice - I tried it. The spreadsheet opens but the Test Dialog doesn't come up.

I'll have to practice it at work.
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Postby Sarevok » Mon May 29, 2006 7:47 pm

Yep spurry's right. I had problems running Ocha in Open Office and it doesn't work. Maybe it has something to do with the macros. The bad news is, I only have Open Office in my office. :( Got to get myself a microsoft office. Too bad it aint free. :(
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Postby Kates » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:17 am

Regarding grammar on the JLPT 2... I have some info from a book which lists grammar 'points' to know for the test. Would JLPT-2-studiers be interested in me posting some of that info (watered down) here?
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#2

Postby Keith » Thu Jun 08, 2006 9:36 am

Kates wrote:Regarding grammar on the JLPT 2... I have some info from a book which lists grammar 'points' to know for the test. Would JLPT-2-studiers be interested in me posting some of that info (watered down) here?


There are 173 grammar 'points' for level 2. I think they had better buy a book for themselves. If they haven't, then how are they going to prepare?
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Postby Sarevok » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:55 am

Hey Kates, what book are you using? I'm planning to buy more books fore grammar and reading comprehension. Have any good books? ;)
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Postby Tim » Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:12 pm

You should all buy どんな時 どう使う 日本語 表現文型 500 (500 Essential Japanese Expressions: A Guide to Correct Usage of Key Sentence Patterns) published by アルク.

As for Kanji and reading comprehension, you should get the 完全マスター series by スリーエーネットワーク (3A Network/AAA Network [dunno which]).

You should also buy stuff for level 1 too.

Also, getting a vocab book will also be helpful.
I have the 完全マスター book for vocab, kanji, grammar and reading comprehension.

Textbooks are fairly cheap there, so you might as well buy them all.
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Postby Kates » Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:26 am

Keith: Well, there are 173 NEW 'points' to know, to be specific. (In addition to all the 'points' one must know from the 3 and 4kyuu tests.)

Sarevok: Tim's recommendation is mine as well. ^_^ My friend got the 完全マスター book and I use it as well. It lists the 173 new grammar 'points' one should know for the JLPT 2. The complete title looks like this:
完全 マスター2級 日本語能力試験 文法 問題 対策
(Kanzen Masutaa 2kyuu Nihongo Noryokushiken Bunpou Mondai Taisaku)

The ISBN is: 4883190889. I tried, but I can't find a cover image for you. ):

This book is pretty great--the only downside is it is ALL in Japanese, even the 'translations' and meanings of the grammar 'points.' However, it's full of examples and has quizes/tests you can give yourself to see your progress. ^_^


Also, UNICOM publishes a great series--each book has two practice tests in it, and advice on how to help you improve your score. The method is: Take test #1 and score it, find out what your weaknesses are and follow the book's advice on how to improve, then try test #2. You should see some improvement. ^_^ I used my 3kyuu book before I took the 2005 JLPT, and I think it really helped me. One, it told me what to study and two, I was familiar with the format of the JLPT and felt very confident going in. ^_^ A lot of the people in the same testing room as I didn't know what to expect at all. >_<

The book is called:
あなたの弱点がわかる!日本語能力試験2級模試x2
(Anata no jyakuten ga wakaru! Nihongonoryokushiken 2kyuu moshi x2)
And the ISBN is: 4896894480.
Anata no jyakuten ga wakaru! - at Amazon.co.jp
(Link title edited by spurrymoses just to help make it clearer)

I hope those help, Sarevok-san. ^_^ I've found them very useful~
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Postby Sarevok » Fri Jun 09, 2006 9:41 am

Thanks Tim, Kates. Now I'm really excited to go to Japan. I can't wait to buy those books and also visit Disneyland and Disneysea :D
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Postby Tim » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:46 pm

Regarding the grammar books, i suggest the どんな時 どう使う 日本語 表現文型 500 one over the 完全マスター one as i noticed the 完全マスター one doesn't group the grammar by meanings, and therefore it is difficult to tell the differences between similar meaning grammars, and it is hard to tell how many grammars share a similar meaning.

If you get my one, it is grouped together so you can compare them to see the difference. It also is in Japanese and has a similar style of explaining the grammar to the 完全マスター one.

In the end, if i were you, i'd buy both regardless. :D

I hope you enjoy your trip!
On the weekend, if you haven't left by then i will try to find the ISBNs for the books that i have.
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Postby Kates » Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:22 am

Sarevok-san: What Tim-san says is true--and also, since the Kanzen Master book is only in Japanese, COMPLETELY understanding the uses of and differences between grammar 'points' can be tricky.

Another pair of books I highly recommend (and use VERY often) are the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar. As far as I know, there are only two so far: basic and intermediate ones. (I hope an advanced one is on the way...) Here's info about them:

(image and other info from amazon.com)
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
ISBN: 4789004546

A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar
ISBN: 4789007758

I found the Basic in a Japanese Kinokuniya bookstore. My husband wrangled the Intermediate for me through a Japanese friend. ^_^ For preparing for the L.2 test, you will need BOTH dictionaries, as I have had to reference both of them when studying with my Kanzen Master grammar point list.

For serious students of Japanese, I would definately recommend these books. (Especially, at least, the Basic.) It lists everything from particles (ha, ga, bakari, etc) to verb forms (-tai, -tara, etc) and adjectives (-mitai, sou da, you da, -rashii) to adverbs (yahari, mou, ichiban, etc). There are great appendixes with conjugation charts, transitive and intransitve verbs, and even some advice on "improving reading skill by indentifying an 'extended sentential unit.'" XD (Basically a phrase with a modifier in it--ie: 私は中学校に入った時に父が買ってくれた小さな辞書をまだ使っている。 {I am still using the small dictionary which my father bought for me when I entered junior high school.} The entire underlined phrase modifies the word 'jisho'--this entire phrase is an E.S.U.)

The entries are all defined and explained in English, and all example sentences are in kana/kanji, roomaji, and English. Each book is around $30 US, but I have found that they are a very worthwhile investment. ^_^

(You better have a lot of suitcase room for all these books, Sarevok-san!!)
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just my 7 cents worth

Postby Keith » Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:55 pm

Kates wrote:What Tim-san says is true--and also, since the Kanzen Master book is only in Japanese, COMPLETELY understanding the uses of and differences between grammar 'points' can be tricky.


I studied the Kanzen Master grammar book last year. The good thing about it is that it has ふりがな for most of the words. So you can easily look up words that you don't know. The bad thing about it is that even though it's a Level 2 grammar book, it has a lot of words which use kanji that are on the Level 1 list.

If I were to make a grammar book for Level 2, I would focus on the grammar. I certainly would not include words in the example sentences which shouldn't be showing up on the Level 2 test. I also would not make the learner study new words. It's a grammar book so the learner should be focusing on grammar not vocabulary. The vocabulary book should be used for learning vocabulary.

Whenever I study new grammar in a sentence that also has new words, guess what happens. I don't understand the sentence at all. I look up the new words, then reread the sentence and have to think about what the words mean while also trying to keep in mind the meaning of the new grammar point. There are so many new things in that one sentence that my mind can not put it all together. It's really frustrating and not very effective for the learner.

This year I'm studying from a new book which was just published this May (2006).
It's called 日本語能力試験1・2級文法対策標準テキスト and is published by 秀和システム.
The ISBN 4-7980-1305-6 C0081.
The price 1200 yen + tax.
URL: http://www.shuwasystem.co.jp/cgi-bin/detail.cgi?isbn=4-7980-1305-6

The good points about this book:
  • It groups the grammar points by similar meaning and clearly marks which is level 1 and which is level 2.
  • It has ふりがな for about half of the words. The ふりがな is in red ink.
  • A few of the words, probably the ones they thought were difficult, are listed in the margin with an English translation.
  • It has a quiz at the end of each section. The answers are at the bottom of the page in red ink.
  • It comes with a red plastic sheet. When you look at the page through this, the ふりがな and answers disappear.
  • The explanations of grammar are longer than the ones given in the Kanzen Master book.
  • Each grouping has a listing of its usefulness, called 使用頻度 and has from one to three stars. So you know if what you are studying has only one star then you will not be seeing it in real life as often.
  • Also in the margin sometimes, it shows a word from the example sentences and its opposite. Such as 暖房⇔冷房

The bad points:
  • Everything but the occasional word translated in the margin is in Japanese. All the explanations of grammar are in Japanese.
  • This is the first edition of this book and I've noticed a couple of editing mistakes, such as on the cover, the ふりがな above the character 新 in the word 新しい only says あた instead of あたら. The other editing mistake I noticed was on section 1-4 where it has the grammar points listed for that section. There are 4 points and the third one is listed twice and the last point was not listed. But these mistakes are no big deal to me.

This is the best-looking and most useful JLPT study book I have ever seen.
It appears to be the company's first JLPT book. On the inside cover it shows two other books that they have published but both of those are for the パソコン検定 (computer certification) test. I hope this company will publish more books for Japanese language studies because this one is a pleasure to use.
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Postby Kates » Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:09 am

Hm, this sounds like a nice book to add to my collection. ^_^ I'll be checking for it the next time I make it out to Mitsuwa in Chicago~ Thanks for the information, Keith-san! It sounds like this book has a lot of neat points that others I have lack. And you're right about the advanced vocab being used in intermediate grammar sentences... that sure takes away from the simple struggle to just understand the new grammar--instead, you have to struggle to understand a whole handful of new things. >_<
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完全マスター

Postby JanneM » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:25 pm

For me the fact that 完全マスター is completely in Japanese is a bonus, not a drawback. I have to really think about what they write about each point, cross-reference with my textbook and the grammar encyclopedias, write translation notes on each example as well as a short-short analogue in Swedish next to each point. By the time I'm done, I really, actually know the point fairly well.

With the English grammar books (basic and intermediate), on the other hand, I can look up something, have a quick glance at a few examples, and come away with a feeling that I understand it, when in reality I do not get it at all, and I'll have forgotten the whole thing within a few days.

And as for the use of Level 1 words - well they're used in the text because they are useful. And in the end, of course, I study Japanese to learn to use it, not to pass a test.

BTW, 完全マスター points do refer back to previous grammar structures with the same meaning. So while it's not grouped by meaning (I have seriously no idea by what principle - if any - it is organized in), you're not left hanging either.
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Postby Sarevok » Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:48 am

Thanks for the tip guys! Now I'll have to list these books you were recommending and try to buy them all. :D

Kates-san, I already have bought the book "A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar" the last time I went to Japan. I was also planning to buy "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" but thought that I won't need it much. But now that you've mentioned it, I think I'm gonna buy that one too. ;)
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Postby spurrymoses » Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:03 pm

Kates wrote:Another pair of books I highly recommend (and use VERY often) are the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar. As far as I know, there are only two so far: Basic and Intermediate. I hope an advanced one is on the way... A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar - ISBN: 4789007758.
For serious students of Japanese, I would definitely recommend these books.

Hi Kates/Sarevok, well I just bought the Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar. In fact, I spent almost $200 on books in the one hit... and there's still loads of books on my wish list! But I'm even more happy about this book after buying it. My Japanese partner also agrees she would recommend it.

The only minor criticism is it's really hard to keep open at one page - it's so small.

But the explanations are very thorough and there are loads of examples. I'm really happy that they spend 2 or 3 pages one grammar point, if required. There's one, for example, that was dealt with very nicely:

こと - in expressing a command (a usage I'd never heard of) eg 「プールサイドを走らないこと」。
After I pondered the similarity between it and saying 「走らないで」, my partner explained to me the typical usage. Sure enough, after reading further into the book, it outlined exactly the same thing that she explained to me - I was quite pleased that the book was as useful as a Japanese person's explanation!

That explanation was: that this usage of こと is only used in written Japanese, and generally appears in rules and regulations.
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