You are determined to not simply pass NCEA Japanese but do so with flying colours! Unfortunately, learning a second language is often a struggle, particularly when learning it for school.

The next trick is to remember that you have two goals. While you obviously want to pass NCEA, the reason you are taking Japanese as a subject is because you want to learn the language! The biggest trick is finding a great excuse to use the language as often as you can.

By changing your thought patterns, you’ll be able to change the experience of learning Japanese from one of dreary repetition to one of fun practice – and this is what will make studying NCEA Japanese significantly easier.

The best Japanese tutors available
Mago
Mago
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Keiichi
4.5
4.5 (2 reviews)
Keiichi
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sophie
5
5 (3 reviews)
Sophie
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Visnja
Visnja
$32
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ang
Ang
$28
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Fern
5
5 (5 reviews)
Fern
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Shun
Shun
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Victor
5
5 (1 reviews)
Victor
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mago
Mago
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Keiichi
4.5
4.5 (2 reviews)
Keiichi
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sophie
5
5 (3 reviews)
Sophie
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Visnja
Visnja
$32
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ang
Ang
$28
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Fern
5
5 (5 reviews)
Fern
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Shun
Shun
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Victor
5
5 (1 reviews)
Victor
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Start by reading Hiragana

During your class, you will get practice in writing the three Japanese writing systems. In the classroom this will often look like a lot of writing practice. However, Hiragana is generally the first one students learn. While writing is an essential part of passing the NCEA Japanese exam, getting more practice reading hiragana will improve your fluency faster and build your confidence.

Using mnemonics is a great way to help you memorise the unfamiliar hiragana characters. There are many different charts available. You can create your own as an even better way to remember the symbols.

NCEA Japanese with Kana Mnemonic Chart
Japanese Kana Mnemonic Chart from Wikimedia Commons

Each of the symbols represents a sound or syllable. So, when you can read the characters aloud, you will find it easier to train your ear to hear the Japanese words.

Suppose you can find time to do nothing other than the daily practice of reading hiragana characters out loud, being careful to renunciate correctly. In that case, you will still find your Japanese improving quickly. Unfortunately, there are no tricks; regular practice will always be the first and most crucial step.

Speaking Japanese means Pronouncing Japanese

The New Zealand version of English has a “vowel shift”. This means that instead of saying “e”, we say “i” and “a” instead of “e”. We also are increasingly unable to hear the difference between certain sounds, such as “ear” and “air”. This can mean that we can struggle to hear certain sounds.

However, te reo Māori learners have an advantage over monolingual English speakers. Māori and Japanese vowel sounds are almost identical, and many consonant sounds are also very similar.

The way Kiwi pronounce vowels is the primary reason why Japanese learners need to be very careful with initial pronunciation. As you develop further in your studies, it will become more challenging if the initial groundwork isn’t mastered. So, suppose you are sitting Level 3 NCEA Japanese, or scholarship Japanese and find that you struggle. In that case, you may find you improve if you go back to the basics and work on perfecting your pronunciation.

Map of Japan with Japanese Flag background
Japanese Language and Culture by Geralt from Pixabay
The best Japanese tutors available
Mago
Mago
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Keiichi
4.5
4.5 (2 reviews)
Keiichi
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sophie
5
5 (3 reviews)
Sophie
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Visnja
Visnja
$32
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ang
Ang
$28
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Fern
5
5 (5 reviews)
Fern
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Shun
Shun
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Victor
5
5 (1 reviews)
Victor
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Mago
Mago
$20
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Keiichi
4.5
4.5 (2 reviews)
Keiichi
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Sophie
5
5 (3 reviews)
Sophie
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Visnja
Visnja
$32
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Ang
Ang
$28
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Fern
5
5 (5 reviews)
Fern
$25
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Shun
Shun
$50
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Victor
5
5 (1 reviews)
Victor
$30
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Te reo Māori cheat sheet for studying Japanese

Other than having similar pronunciation, te reo Maori and Japanese have many cultural aspects in common. More than this, there are also many words that are similar too.

English Rakugo performer Kanariya Eishi (鹿鳴家英志) has put together a few words that are very similar between the two languages:

MāoriJapanese
Ana (cave)Ana (あな): hole; “hora-ana”is a cave
Kōura (crayfish)Koura (こうら): shell of a crayfish, crab, etc.
Tuki (to ram, bump, crash into)Tsuki (つき; 突き): to ram, poke, etc.
*The standard form is ‘tsuku’ (つく; 突く)
Puku (stomach)Puku: stomach in expressions such as man-puku (まんぷく; 満腹: full stomach)
Kura (tank, container)Kura (くら; 蔵): storehouse
Awa (river)Kawa (かわ; 川): river
Tokotoko (cane, to walk with a stick)Tokotoko (とことこ): onomatopoeia for the sound of walking fast in short steps
Pakipaki (to clap)Pachipachi (パチパチ): onomatopoeia for the clapping sound
Ika (fish)Ika (いか; squid)

If you already have second language knowledge, try using that language with your Japanese to avoid using your native language. This can help train your brain into thinking in your new language, increasing your fluency.

Japanese Geisha Playing Music practising Japanese
Japanese Geisha Culture by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Tutors and talking in Japanese

Learning any language takes practice! So, the sooner you can find a Japanese language conversation partner, the better. Because the early goal is to simply communicate as often as possible in Japanese, you may work with another student in your class, join a local conversation group, or hire a tutor.

As you get closer to internal or external assessments, working with a professional tutor will provide you better feedback on which areas you can improve on.

What Japanese Tutors Can Help With

NCEA Japanese assesses your ability to read and write Japanese scripts and your listening and speaking abilities. However, all the assessments are helping students work towards being able to communicate fluently in Japanese.

An example of a Level 1 NCEA Japanese internal assessment is “Give a spoken presentation in Japanese that communicates a personal response”.

To achieve an Excellent result, practice telling stories, talking about Japanese cultural traditions, or chatting about yourself. The assessor will be looking for your ability to express yourself. Minor pronunciation errors, particularly under stressful exam conditions, won’t be held against you, as long as you can obviously communicate comfortably.

Another example comes from looking at a Level 3 NCEA Japanese external assessment such as “Demonstrate understanding of a variety of extended written and/or visual Japanese texts”. Students are given examples of Japanese writing that might include diary entries, comic strips, advertisements or short articles.

To show how well you understand what you are reading, you could:

  • Clarify what you are reading
  • Summarise the text
  • Rephrase

Talk with your Superprof tutor about various topics to increase your vocabulary and general ability to communicate in Japanese.

Passing the NCEA Japanese exam
Writing the NCEA Japanese exam by F1Digitals from pixabay

NCEA Japanese Study Tips

Beyond learning the language, students taking NCEA Japanese, of course, want to pass!

Work through some of the previous exams. The NZQA website has previous exams and has example answers and the vocabulary expectations for each level. Go through these with your tutor to ensure you are working efficiently and staying on the right track.

Study Japanese Assessments

In every NCEA assessment, you will be asked to show you understand what you are reading or hearing. If your mind goes completely blank, start with just simple responses. As your mind calms, you will be able to answer with more complex responses. Being able to understand implications from the assessment questions will go a long way to being able to show you have an excellent knowledge of Japanese.

In many ways, level 1 NCEA Japanese is the most challenging. Students are generally new to language learning, and there is a steep learning curve. It can feel overwhelming when you start to look at the number of words you need to learn. Numbers, dates, months of the years, basic introduction statements and simple phrases can seem like a lot when you start out.

shinkansen-bullet-train in Japan
Japanese on the Shinkansen bullet train by ArminEP from Pixabay

Learning Japanese Vocabulary

With each level, you can access a complete list of vocabulary you are expected to know. Go through the vocabulary lists and develop creative ways to increase your exposure to them in different ways.

For example, in level two NCEA Japanese, some of the vocabulary you are expected to know include:

NCEA Japanese Level 2Meaning
うけるto sit (an exam), to receive
おうえんするto support; to cheer
うんどうかいsports day
いりぐちentrance
いそがしいbusy
あぶないdangerous
あいさつ・ごあいさつ するgreetings, to greet
かがく 化学Chemistry
きょうみ(が ある)interest, (to be interested in)

Just a quick glance, you can see potential themes. You could watch High school TV dramas like “Hana Yori Dango” or “Gokusen”, read blogs, follow Japanese social media accounts on Line or Twitter, or even simply read news sources.

Most New Zealanders probably haven’t heard of “Line”. This is a social media app similar to WhatsApp or WeChat and is the most popular social media platform in Japan at the moment. It can be used to discover Manga, stream music, and talk to streamers (use the standard safety precautions you would for accessing any social media).

warrior cosplay with katana for full immersion ncea japanese experience
Creating a full immersion Japanese experience - Image by TaniaVdB from Pixabay

Think and Speak Japanese

When you’re standing in the shower, walking to school, lying in bed, are you thinking in Japanese? Try to describe the weather when you look out of your window first thing in the morning. Or train your dog to perform tricks to Japanese commands.

There are so many resources that help you learn Japanese, including flashcard apps and language learning apps like Memrise or Duolingo. Some will work well with what you are learning in the classroom, so talk to your teacher to see which options they recommend.

The more you think and speak in Japanese, the more you will enjoy the experience of learning Japanese. This ultimately means that not only will you become fluent in Japanese, but you’re well on the way to achieving Excellence in NCEA Japanese.

 

>

The platform that connects tutors and students

First Lesson Free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating.

5.00 (1 rating(s))
Loading...

Alison