I’ve been super busy with school, and haven’t had time to write about it. Golden Week, a series of consecutive national holidays, has arrived, so I have Thursday and Friday of this week off, as well as Monday through Wednesday of next week.
I got my Hiragana test back on Monday, a week after I took it. The reason for the delay is the school’s policy on makeup tests. Students who have an acceptable excuse for their absence are allowed a short grace period to retake the test. Additionally, students who did poorly on the test, getting a D or below must retake the test with a retake penalty of 10% off the earned score. Anyway, while none of this applies to me, I figured I’d let you know why there was such a long delay.
I got an 88 on the test. Although this is a good score, I kind of felt cheated out of 2 points because I labeled a picture as vegetables (やさい) when the picture was supposed to be fruit (くだもの). All I have to say is that picture doesn’t look like any fruit I’ve ever seen. Another 2 points were lost due to not knowing the word for scissors (はさみ), which I knew I got wrong from the start. The remaining 8 points were deducted, one point at a time, for the equivalent of not dotting “i”s and crossing “t”s. Although it’s frustrating to lose so many points when I knew the answer, it’s not nearly as frustrating as having known the words for both fruit and vegetable and getting the answer wrong because the picture was ambiguous. I’m only slightly mollified by the fact that 85 and up is an A, which I hadn’t realized until today when I reviewed the student handbook.
As for the Katakana test, it was the last thing we did on Wednesday before leaving for Golden Week. I think I did pretty well on the test. I found that my advantage of knowing the meaning of the words to not be that big of an advantage. The way English words are mashed into the Japanese sounds is anything but consistent or sensible. In fact, it appears that at some point the Japanese decided that they needed to add new sounds for the full vowel range of “f”, “v”, and “w”, but not every word which should use them does. It basically comes down to wrote memorization in the end. Another issue I had while studying was that I studied the incorrect spelling of at least one word; so I know I got that one wrong. Also, while I studied about 50 words for the test, there were some words which I didn’t study, including 2 for which I had to simply guess. Although I felt like I had plenty of time on this test, and was able to go over everything making sure I dotted my “i”s and crossed my “t”s, I don’t feel confident that I caught everything, and I’m kind of cringing to see how many points I’ll lose on this round.
Next is the test over chapters 1 through 13, which is coming up on May 12th. That’s going to be a brutal test because it covers a lot of material which I can’t say I fully understand, and unlike the last two tests, there will be more to it than memorization, although there will still be a fair amount of that.