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Beyond JLPT N1

#1
I thought the 2015 N1-N2 thread was helpful in seeing what other people were studying & finding useful resources, so I thought it would be nice to have a 2016 version of the thread for those who hopefully will, or already have passed N1.

I just wanted to see what kind of things advanced learners are going through, what they're trying to learn, and links to helpful resources and the like.

Here's my tentative plan for 2016.  I'd really like to build up my vocabulary more, work on my business keigo, and get listening comprehension up to college lecture level.

Anki decks to go through (already made):
Collection of gitaigo
Subset of most commonly used yojijukugo
Japanese names of kanji bushu

Books:
How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese by Charles De Wolf - A collection of vocabulary words divided into chapters like politics, arts, science, economics, law, etc.  I have gone through a little bit of it and I think it does help in building vocabulary so you can have more in depth and interesting conversations with people.

Read Practical Japanese by John Braden - Useful Japanese words and phrases, especially for signs and notices.  Useful for me since I don't live in Japan and won't run across these naturally.

Common Japanese Collocations by Kakuko Shoji - A collection of 3200 word combinations so that your Japanese sounds more natural.  I certainly won't anki all of it, but hopefully will have a chance to go through and pick out the ones that I would find useful.

Shin Kanzen Master N1 Goi - I didn't have a chance to go through this before I took the N1 in December, but I still think it'd be useful for me to go through and anki any interesting phrases / vocabulary.

Japanese for Professionals by AJALT - This was recommended a few times on this board for business keigo so I got this.  I'd really like to get my business keigo to a better & more consistent level.  I'm open to suggestions if anyone has other recommendations.

Multimedia:
I'd like to try and go through a lecture series from Gacco

Maybe go through some NHK Koukou Kouza videos


Other things:
I have found a few online sources for Japanese names, so I may make an anki deck for the most common surnames and the most popular boys and girls names for the last few decades.  I feel like not being able to read men's first names is kind of a big hole in my reading ability.  There seemed to be a few Anki shared decks but I wasn't sure if any of them were any good.
Edited: 2017-01-01, 8:18 pm
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#2
This thread is a great idea. Language learning is such a journey, one that can barely be quantified by something as presumptuous as JLPT.

Though I'm not even dreaming of passing N1 in 2016, I want to say Kanzen Master Goi is great and Common Japanese Collocations is also a nice, different piece of material. I got it even before I took N3, because I wanted to sound as natural as possible right off the bat. The book definitely helps with learning correct/natural word combinations.
Edited: 2015-12-23, 9:17 am
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#3
There's plenty of books in Japanese, aimed at Japanese people who want to improve their Japanese (just as there are loads books aimed at native English speakers who want to improve their writing, or their business communication, etc in English). レポートの書き方 kinda books aimed at college students, or anything about keigo or business emails aimed at 就活生/新入社員. That kinda thing might be worth looking into if you can get them shipped or have a Japanese bookstore nearby.

If you're looking for college lectures and you're into linguistics, this channel is pretty good.

The history videos linked in this post by yukamina are cool if you didn't catch them. Probably similar level to the Koko Koza 日本史 vids. There's also lots of history documentaries on YouTube if you search. Here's one to start us off.

You should be able to find plenty of academic papers in Japanese freely available online through Google. Maybe it depends on what field you're interested in, but I've found loads for linguistics, history, Japanese literature. Not always the greatest stuff but it must be good for building a college level specialized vocab (and writing style) for whatever you're interested in.
Edited: 2015-12-24, 12:54 am
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#4
nhkスペシャル documentaries can be pretty great, if you like documentaries.
Also, it's a little old, but I found this AJATT article great for giving me ideas on what shows to search for: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blo...c-19912011
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#5
I read that watching stand up comedy is a great way to I guess go beyond N1. and seems fun too! During google search, I found this article. Though it's meant for ESL learners, the principles still apply imo

http://www.fluentu.com/english/blog/lear...n-english/
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#6
Haven't passed N1 and likely not pursuing it at this point. I'll be focusing on continuing to build my conversational and writing skills in preparation for meeting with Japanese colleagues. I've been invited to do some technical presentations at some point in Tokyo, so I'm reading as much of my company's technical docs and training in Japanese as I can.

Outside of that, I'm trying to enjoy the language - reading books, watching shows, listening to podcasts. I've been reading a few interesting books on Japanese history and Buddhism to help improve my reading ability, and also out of sheer interest.
Edited: 2015-12-24, 12:35 am
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#7
(2015-12-24, 12:11 am)RawrPk Wrote: I read that watching stand up comedy is a great way to I guess go beyond N1. and seems fun too! During google search, I found this article. Though it's meant for ESL learners, the principles still apply imo

http://www.fluentu.com/english/blog/lear...n-english/
gosh i hope i don't run into anyone who learned a new language from sitcoms - they're so corny  Big Grin And that articles pretty much stating the obvious "want to learn a language? Expose yourself to it in various forms of media!" 

Anyway i have question. Where do people go for specialized vocab? Im looking for science/medical stuff.

edit: found this 多言語医療問診票 (multilingual medical questionnaire) http://www.kifjp.org/medical/english/index.html
Edited: 2016-01-07, 11:50 am
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#8
(2015-12-22, 5:01 pm)harahachibu Wrote: Here's my tentative plan for 2016.  I'd really like to build up my vocabulary more, work on my business keigo, and get listening comprehension up to college lecture level.

<snip>

I thought I would post an update since we're a few months into the year.

I've managed to go through my Anki decks for the gitaigo and the Japanese names for kanji bushu.  I haven't gone through the yojijikugo deck however, for a few reasons.  I'm not sure how accurate the frequency grade in that deck is, and I’m not a big fan of how the cards are formatted.  It’s not really much work, to be honest, but I have just been lazy about it.  Maybe I’ll fiddle with the format this weekend and get started on the deck.  The entire yojijukugo deck is 3000+ cards, but I will probably only focus on maybe the top 10-20% by frequency.

As far as my books go, I have not really touched them.  I generally dislike the time consuming process of adding things wholesale into Anki and have been putting it off.  Maybe I’ll try to get the Read Practical Japanese and How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese books into Anki by the end of June as a goal.  Those two books are probably the ones I want to mine for vocab the most.

I have not gone through a Gacco lecture series or any of the NHK Koukou Kouza videos.

I'd still be interested in going through a deck of common names & kanji, especially readings for male first names, which I still find to be difficult.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a pre-made Anki deck for that, and currently I don't have a ton of motivation to make it myself right now.


Things that I have been doing:

I try to read at least a little bit of a Japanese novel almost every day.  I’ve finished three this year so far.  My other goal is to basically read from a different author each time so that I am exposed to different writing styles, vocabulary, kanji usage, etc.  This has been a good experience for me so far.

I’ve been watching the NHK documentary series 「ドキュメント72時間」 which is pretty interesting.  They set up a camera crew at a certain location for 72 hours and then interview the people who visit there, work there, etc.

I’ve been adding unknown words that I come across in the wild to my Anki deck.  It’s definitely not all the words, but it’s not a trivial amount either.  So far in 2016 I’ve added about 500 cards.  In comparison, in 2015 I added about 2300 vocab cards.

Not having the JLPT looming over you is interesting.  You feel more free to delve into the parts of the language that you find more interesting, but on the other hand without a time limit you can find yourself being lazy without any real penalty for it.  It’s also harder to find a way to mark progress.  I did take the JCAT at the beginning of the year, so I can use that for now.
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#9
I wanted to write up a quick summary of 2016 in review.  I will probably post again later with 2017 goals.  I doubt I'll make a new thread for it, will probably just continue this one:

Anki decks to go through (already made):
✔️ Collection of gitaigo
✔️ Subset of most commonly used yojijukugo - This was quite useful.  I only did maybe the top 5-10% in terms of frequency, so I may add another slice next year.
✔️ Japanese names of kanji bushu

Additional decks I added:
✔️ Express Your Feelings in Japanese
✔️ Berlitz Japanese Phrasebook
✔️ Japanese Newspaper Compounds

Books:
✔️ How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese by Charles De Wolf
✔️ Read Practical Japanese by John Braden
❌ Common Japanese Collocations by Kakuko Shoji - This one is probably too many to anki directly.  Not sure if there's a good way to find what would be the most useful and learn those.
❌ Shin Kanzen Master N1 Goi
❌ Japanese for Professionals by AJALT

Pleasure reading:
✔️ Novels: 赤川次郎、西村京太郎、ねじめ正一、東川徳哉、中村文則、星新一 - I tried to read books from different authors this year.  It was a great experience, the different writing styles really helps with language exposure I think.  I may continue this next year as well.
✔️ Manga: 食戟のソーマ - I love this manga because cooking is my other hobby, so it's a natural fit.  I also started watching Mushi-shi on Netflix and enjoyed that, so I may start reading that manga as well.

Multimedia:
❌ I'd like to try and go through a lecture series from Gacco
❌ Maybe go through some NHK Koukou Kouza videos
✔️ NHK Document 72 - I really enjoyed this documentary series from NHK.  I'm almost done with all of the ones that I could find, however.  It might be worth it for me to figure out how to sign up and pay for NHK On Demand and then use a VPN to view it.  It seems they come out with a new one almost every week.

Other things:
❌ Japanese Names anki deck? - I'd still like to find a useful deck for this if possible.  I did some cursory work on building one myself but would prefer not to do it myself.

Anki Stats:
Added 3,834 Vocab cards to Anki this year
[Image: 9tpHHmO.png]

[Image: 9OFozWf.png]
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#10
It's cool to see this updated after one year. I love it that these threads don't get archived after x amount of time, which would make these "longitudinal study" threads impossible. 

Intending no comment as to whether the OP's chosen resources were appropriate, I would just say that I agree with Ash S's suggestion to consider J-J stuff at this level. Here the Japanese students themselves are a far bigger market than foreigners will ever be, so the resources written for them should be correspondingly greater in quantity and probably quality.
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#11
I just discovered this thread! Happy to see it, as I am in the same boat - I've found it difficult to measure steady progress ever since I first passed 1kyuu in 2009/2010. (Waiting to see if I passed N1 on the last retake, I did pass it in 2014, just barely.) Will look forward to updates and think about my own list of goals.

I would love to hear feedback from those who have tried J-J "improve your Japanese" materials - I have several of these type of resources bookmarked in my amazon.jp list, but I wonder if they would be over my head, since I still have the challenge of routinely encountering unfamiliar words in just about everything I read. I do enter new material in anki every day, but I encounter more than I can record!
Edited: 2017-01-03, 1:17 pm
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#12
I just consume whatever content that entertains me and anki from that in McD format this includes song lyrics, talk variety shows, anime, books, internet, etc etc. also I use Japanese to learn Korean. There's so many books I want to and tv shows I want to watch anking 5 minutes a day ( each card takes less than 3 secs and I've gotten so much better with making cards on anki over the years. ) is my limit with any kinda "studying" . Nothing has changed since intermediate in that I chug along doing what I enjoy while anking whatever is worth anking. Th I have found some great tools that up the efficiency like capture2text, ankionline (there was a time when smartphones weren't ubiquitous), rikaisama. One thing that has changed recently was that I opened my eyes up to the advantages of j-e so when I look up words on rikaisama I check the English and Japanese definition and choose which ever one that will work better for me.
Edited: 2017-01-03, 2:02 pm
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#13
(2017-01-03, 1:12 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I wonder if they would be over my head, since I still have the challenge of routinely encountering unfamiliar words in just about everything I read.

Hearing someone say that who's past N1 is a bit sobering!
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#14
(2017-01-03, 1:12 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I've found it difficult to measure steady progress ever since I first passed 1kyuu in 2009/2010. (Waiting to see if I passed N1 on the last retake, I did pass it in 2014, just barely.)

tanaquil, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on re-taking the 1kyuu/N1 exam.  Did you find it a worthwhile experience to do so?  When I left the classroom after finishing the N1 in 2015 I was pretty sure I did not want to repeat the process if possible, haha.
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#15
Has anyone that's already passed the N1 taken the JCAT since then? If so, what was your score?

I'll be able to take it again next month (though I might wait until March if I get beat over the head with a bad N1 result...), so I was hoping to get an idea of my goal for it. I'm not going to be studying especially for it or anything, just using it as a level assessment to compare to my result a few months ago (247 total). I'm thinking I at least want a 25 point increase.

I couldn't decide whether this would be better asked here or in the JCAT thread, so I just went with this one since it was still on the first page of recently updated threads... And because it has to do with 'beyond N1' somewhat.
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#16
Consume Japanese literature
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#17
(2017-01-03, 10:57 pm)harahachibu Wrote:
(2017-01-03, 1:12 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I've found it difficult to measure steady progress ever since I first passed 1kyuu in 2009/2010. (Waiting to see if I passed N1 on the last retake, I did pass it in 2014, just barely.)

tanaquil, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on re-taking the 1kyuu/N1 exam.  Did you find it a worthwhile experience to do so?  When I left the classroom after finishing the N1 in 2015 I was pretty sure I did not want to repeat the process if possible, haha.

Sorry, I missed this before, guess I didn't turn on alerts for the thread.

It is useful for me. For a while I didn't want to retake N1 because the vocabulary you need to pass (newspaper-type stuff, politics, economics, etc.) doesn't necessarily overlap with what I want to read (mostly fiction, romance, mystery), and that is certainly a valid decision for those who make it. 

However, I found that without an external point of measurement, I just drifted. I got from zero to passing the old 1kyuu in about five years (2004-2009), but since 2010, I often feel I haven't improved at all, or at least I haven't improved in ways that I can measure. (I can read definitions in J-J dictionaries more easily now, so something must be improving.) So I decided to retake N1 as a challenge to motivate me to study.

The first time I retook N1 (2014), I overstudied the heck out of it, burned out, and didn't touch my flashcards for a year and a half (so I have been recovering ground for the last six months). This time (2016), I was determined to keep my anki reviews under control so that I wouldn't stop reviewing after the exam, and so far that has been very successful. I'm continuing to study and look forward to the exam in 2017.

I personally think that N1 is a large step up in difficulty from 1kyuu, so it was a worthwhile challenge for me from that POV. 1kyuu had about a 10K word list that it ostensibly tested, and it separated the language knowledge and reading sections (so the fact that I would always run out of time on reading didn't hurt my score on kanji and vocab). Now it seems to be open to testing just about any vocab, and Japanese has 18K words marked "common" in WWWJDIC and probably upwards of 25-30K words that a well-read literate adult can use. Plus, with the language knowledge and reading combined, I now feel like I am short of time even on the sections I feel most confident in. The test also seems to go considerably further in the direction of testing idiomatic knowledge rather than the memorization of arcane formulae.

All of which is to say, I think it's a better test now, and I hope that continuing to read extensively and retake it every year will give me a slowly rising benchmark to measure my progress. It might only be a few points a year, but a few points is something!

I'm sure there are lots of other ways to measure your own progress. Retaking N1 just seems to work well for me, for now.

(2017-01-03, 8:43 pm)ChestnutMouse Wrote:
(2017-01-03, 1:12 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I wonder if they would be over my head, since I still have the challenge of routinely encountering unfamiliar words in just about everything I read.

Hearing someone say that who's past N1 is a bit sobering!

Haha, seriously. I honestly wish they had levels above N1, but I guess retaking the test and aiming for a better score is the best I can do.

Everyone is different. I think one of my challenges is that I do flashcards too much and rapid reading too little, so my reading speed and fluency is under par for an N1 test-taker. I'm trying to work on the rapid reading more this year.

There is definitely plenty of ground to cover beyond N1. There is a huge gap beyond the ability to function as a foreign speaker (think high level TOEFL score), and being a native speaker with an extensive reading vocabulary. This is true both in English and in Japanese, but I think the maximum potential working vocabulary in Japanese is actually higher - something like 50K words compared to English, which maxes out at 35K. I have links to these statistics somewhere, I should look them up.
Edited: 2017-01-07, 12:53 pm
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#18
Wow that N1 sounds pretty hard! I guess it's a good thing for people who are way advanced.
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#19
Quick update on my previous comment:

A site (Japanese-only), sponsored by the publishers of an electronic dictionary, that allows you to test your own vocabulary level in Japanese:

http://www.kecl.ntt.co.jp/icl/lirg/resou...-test.html

A comparable site in English, linking in particular to the blog article that discusses the natural range among native speakers of English (hop to the top level of the site to take the test for English):

http://testyourvocab.com/blog/

Playing around with these sites is the basis for my impression that the working vocabulary in Japanese is much, much larger than that for English, and I believe English is already considered to have an unusually rich vocabulary. According to the blog page I linked to, although the Oxford English dictionary has over 300,000 entries (including archaic and scientific/medical terms), the working vocabulary of a highly literate native English speaker does not go much above 40K. In Japanese, by contrast, university graduates allegedly recognize between 40-50K, and the ceiling is closer to 60K.

In both Japanese and English, the average non-native test taker knows between 5-10K words, so obviously much lower than the native speaker level in both cases.

I can't say how accurate these tests are, of course, but the English one is based on over two million participants (albeit a group that, according to the organizers of the study, skews very high in terms of self-reported SAT scores), and when I and my Japanese-literate friends all took the Japanese test, I got 15K (as an N1 test taker), my friend that I would consider a very fluent reader got 30K, and our friend who reads Japanese novels voraciously and once wrote her own Japanese sci-fi novel for an MA thesis got 54K. So the results seem surprisingly good considering how relatively few questions you have to answer.

I score 40K in English, btw. I was an insane bookworm as a child and today can read multiple foreign languages besides Japanese (including French, Latin and Greek), so that's... probably accurate.

Interestingly, one friend commented that she scored around 30K in both English and Japanese, but she herself would not have considered her Japanese vocabulary anywhere near as good as her English vocabulary, relatively speaking. I assume that would also argue in favor of Japanese having a higher vocabulary threshold.

The plural of anecdote is not data, so take with a grain of salt. :-)

(I could swear I first found the Japanese link here on these forums, years ago, but I can't find that discussion now, so sorry if this repeats points made elsewhere. If anyone else knows where the forum thread discussing this is, please link it!)
Edited: 2017-01-07, 3:03 pm
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#20
I haven't read everything in those links, but as a general point, it may not be accurate to compare numbers from the two sources. It depends a lot on how exactly you define a unique item of vocabulary. A serious comparison between Japanese and English needs to define this carefully for both languages, and justify why the two definitions are really equivalent. Since Japanese and English are rather different, this is hard, and different experts might not agree on the answer.
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#21
Interesting links. I got estimates of 10K for Japanese (having passed N1 last July), and 37K for English. Long way to go on the .jp vocab front still :-(
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#22
(2017-01-07, 3:10 pm)HelenF Wrote: I haven't read everything in those links, but as a general point, it may not be accurate to compare numbers from the two sources. It depends a lot on how exactly you define a unique item of vocabulary. A serious comparison between Japanese and English needs to define this carefully for both languages, and justify why the two definitions are really equivalent. Since Japanese and English are rather different, this is hard, and different experts might not agree on the answer.

Excellent point. The fact that the two sites are not created by analogous research processes alone makes comparison difficult.

Still, both use as items "words which can appear in a large dictionary" (J-J or E-E), so I don't think that in itself is necessarily a problem. The test I took (I haven't retaken it) included words in hiragana and in katakana as well as words using kanji (with or without okurigana).

There are many other pitfalls. For instance, if you recognize what a kanji compound means but not how to pronounce it, does that count? What if you know both the meaning and the pronunciation, but would have trouble using it in a sentence? 

Even in English, this can be tricky. I had to laugh because one of the words in the English test I just re-took was "mere." I thought "like a marsh?" and tried googling to see if I was hallucinating the fact that mere can mean this. It can (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mere_(lake) - note that "marsh" is the fourth definition in the OED), but I entirely blanked on the fact that it also means "mere, only." I decided to let that one count. :-)

It's all just for fun, really.
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#23
Got 12.5k for Japanese and 29k for English... I think the former is too high (not terribly, but I don't think I've even studied that many) and the latter too low (I think it's biased toward literary vocabulary of a certain era for its narrow vocabulary portion).

Just remember to take these results with a grain of salt.

Or maybe I have an incredibly lacking vocabulary for a college educated native speaker who reads a lot...

Edit:
Retook the English test and took the second Japanese test.
Most of the English words were the same, but not all and in different places: 27k
The second Japanese test gave me a score of 15.7k. One of the words was ブルマー... that's one of my important 15.7k words!

These things are kinda fun!
Edited: 2017-01-07, 4:46 pm
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#24
Your 12.5K for Japanese might be more accurate than you think. At the time when I got 15K, I had about 9000 words in regular rotation in my Anki vocab deck, and I certainly knew words that weren't in my deck. Of course, it's also possible that the results are skewing by a few thousand, which matters more when you're on the low end.

By contrast, I don't think 30K is incredibly lacking by any means. Depending on your age, it puts you around the 70th or 80th percentile, which is well above average. I agree about the literary bias, though. A number of the "rarer" words were hilarious to me because I don't think I've seen them since my adolescence when I was devouring 19th and 20th cent British fiction by the truckful. ("Puckish"?)

The study notes that people who self-reported reading "fiction, a lot" scored higher than those who reported reading mostly non-fiction. They speculated that this was because fiction contains more rare words, and that might be true. But it might also be that they're not testing the words that reflect an interest in medicine, or astronomy, or computer programming.
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#25
(2017-01-07, 5:05 pm)tanaquil Wrote: Depending on your age, it puts you around the 70th or 80th percentile, which is well above average.

Sholum, it should also be noted that their description of percentile is for people who have taken the test, which they say is from a pretty high percentile group to begin with:

http://testyourvocab.com/blog/2013-05-08...hartNative

Quote:Now, remember that these percentiles are not for the population as a whole, but rather just those who have taken the test online. Comparing with self-reported SAT scores from previous analysis, overall participation is in roughly the 98th percentile of the American population as a whole — it is apparently a very "elite" group of people who spend their time taking vocabulary tests on the Internet!

For reference, I got scores of 32,200 words in English and 19,000 words in Japanese.

Thanks for the links tanaquil, this is pretty interesting!
Edited: 2017-01-07, 6:23 pm
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