How the heck are JLPT N-levels decided?

I’ve heard this a bunch of times on dramas and anime, and yet this is an N1 topic??
I saw 「ここに来た からには、がんばろう!」in a grade school classroom, and yet it’s an N2 topic??
I could go on… How are these decided???


Apologies. Just had to vent.
It seems the more advanced I get in Japanese, the more the traditional categorizations of grammar points is bonkers.
If anyone could shed some light on how the JLPT people decide whether something is “beginner” or “advanced”, I’d really appreciate it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Just remember a lot of the higher level stuff you will actually hear kids using, but some of the lower level stuff kids may not even know yet, like ‘ていただけませんか’. I guess N levels are based more on adult learners, approaching the language in a way an adult would use the language.

I agree with you 100%, but yeah some of the ‘harder’ stuff is more ‘colloquial’, rather than hard. Which is not a problem to be honest, it’s the same for English learners. People learn ‘its a pleasure to meet you’, before ‘sup homes’ :joy:


I also wonder if there’s some thought from Japanese administrators that everyone should learn proper, polite language first, and then learn any ‘dirty’ casual language last. (only slightly joking)


Even better: in n5 you have verb[た]+ことがある, but verb+こと you have in n4. When first is simple application of the former.


That is 100% correct. There is a lot of polite things you will rarely use in lower levels. However, it’s still important to ‘know’ these things, even if you won’t use them personally.

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This is true, but sometimes I think it’s easier to learn if you reverse engineer things. For example
(There is (がある)something that has been done)

Where as 何何すること
(Doing something) is a little harder to conceptualize without a second logical thought to pin on the end of it.

This is only sometimes true though. Reverse engineering isn’t always easier.


Only if you assume that grammar point are something to memorise not to understand.

I personally would not even consider verb[た]+ことがある as being part of grammar. There is nothing new in this sentence. Just regular application of basic grammar concepts: you can use causes to describe noun, こと to is just common noun so it is vocab, particle が is lesson one, same as ある.

It is common phrase sure, but not a new grammar concept. JLPT just do stuff in weird way.


I guess part of the frustration was the feeling after I reached N4/N3 level, I figured “Ok, I’m mid level now. So I should be able to understand most things now”. But I still couldn’t understand half of the children’s manga ドラえもん (because it’s heavy with casual language). I know others have had a similar thought.

So maybe they should make JLPT-for-adults and JLPT-for-kids. :smile:

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reading > studying

there is probably no way around it. There is more fun in reading as well : ]


Elegantly put! :joy:


Just to add insult to injury, a lot of common slang expressions/contractions aren’t in the JLPT at all. I think after N2, reading most books is probably doable (depending on vocabulary). Manga can still be hard sometimes. Books tend to have a bit less hardcore slang than manga, which is good because if you read enough books, manga slang will start to make sense on it’s own, because you will have seen the full form so many times in proper books.
Books have no ‘visual’ context, so I think that’s why they use a lot less slang.


That sounds like really good advice.


@FredKore @Asher @MacFinch @Juppy

Asher is right, a lot of slang expressions do not appear in JLPT, or appear in higher levels. So you might hear some of them used by children. On the other hand there are some expressions that even ordinary adults rarely know.
Another thing is some concepts are taught earlier because they are so common and much later their origin is taught. This applies to ことがある、なければいけない and so on.
Most textbooks don’t teach contractions and casual expressions used in manga and light novels at all. To be honest, I thought about doing another manga/light novel path that teaches those, what do you, our beloved <3 users think about the idea?


It would be great to have path that is building rationally up on previous grammar and with respect to usefulness for normal learners (casual speech and slang first, Keigo and other poetry later).

I was thinking about writing a post with “Cure Dolly path” guide for newcomers. But I am low on time and energy (extracting grammar point from videos and adding annotation would take forever) . If you want do create yourself logical path and add common expressions from novel and manga that would be even better. And that could be great selling point for newcomers.

I already see those billboards saying “With BunPro you learn to read Japanese novels and manga, not to just pass exams!” :upside_down_face:


I think it is a great idea but I think there are more groundbreaking features in the wishlist/suggestion thread that would attract more users to BP.

Adding a new path is probably a fringe feature that would have limited incremental marketability.

What I am trying to say is, I would love to see that path but I think prioritizing other endeavors may be better for the platform in the long run.

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I think this website desperately need their own grammar course. At the moment main function is to review what you learn somewhere else. It is great, but something is evidently lacking. That’s way I was thinking about “Cure Dolly path”.


From a user perspective I think it’s a good idea, as lots of people are learning specifically because they want to participate in Japanese pop culture media first hand.

From a website perspective, it’s an even better idea! It gives Bunpro something more unique. The more we can get people supporting the site due to covering unique but popular topics, the more the sote will grow. The more the site grows, the more staff can invest their time into perfecting the site. It’s a positive feedback loop.

Edit: I do agree with @Juppy though. Whatever will get the website more money in the short term will inevitably help more long term


I don’t know how small this site is, but I guest not too big. If that’s right Cure Dolly audience could make an impact. I think it would be not hard to persuade her to promote BunPro if there would be path more less based on her approach.

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That would be amazing!


I love the idea and I would definitely use it if it were added!

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