Thursday, April 22, 2010

Non-communicative communication

Glad to see that the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) written by anal retentive types who understand neither testing nor language acquisition has been redesigned. Supposedly, according to a recent article in Metropolis magazine---which is well worth the price---the unimaginative, 1950s-types have made the test "more communicative." Obviously, they are not aware of the meaning of the word "communicative" when it comes to language. As far as I have been able to learn, they are once again testing passive/receptive skills and require no language production. Not a single word.

Frankly the test designers are incompetent. Do these same doofuses run the English language "education" system in Japan? Isn't there sorta like a basic rule to "test what is being tested"? If so, how can you test for communicative ability without testing communication?

The only reason to take such a test is for motivation (which will soon disappear after wasting chunks of your life with dry, arcane crap, much of which you will soon notice few Japanese actually use---and you won't remember) or because you need it for an equally unenlightened company for employment.

Isn't there a field known as linguistics with a sub-field known as Second Language Acquisition? Are the test writers so ignorant that they are unaware of it? Are they trying to perpetuate a for profit-first-and-foremost scam? Or is it different for the Japanese language? What century is it here?

Oh, and another eikaiwa chain, GEOS, bites the dust.


  1. The answers to your questions are broadly "yes" and it is the 19th century here, except in that the exams exist purely as profit-making devices for the exam-setting firms (and the schools that teach their silly-buses), they are thoroughly 20th Century. What year is it again?

  2. Must explain why driving schools take a month or more, charge ¥200,000 plus, and graduate drivers no more skilled than anywhere else.