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2015 Notes from the Marking Centre – Japanese Continuers


This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Japanese Continuers course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2015 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.
This document should be read along with:

Oral examination

Characteristics of better responses:

  • language was manipulated effectively
  • questions were responded to with relevant information and in some depth
  • a range of perspectives was evident
  • a wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures was used
  • ideas and information were communicated with a high level of accuracy
  • delivery was confident and fluent with excellent pronunciation and appropriate intonation
  • authentic expressions such as sou desu ne, zannen desu ga, jitsu wa were used.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • pre-prepared answers that did not address the question were used
  • responses were repetitive
  • aizuchi was overused
  • sentences were incomplete
  • tense and register were inconsistent
  • confusion between goro/gurai, nihongo/nihon, tsukurimasu/tsukaimasu, koto/mono, yasashii/yasui, chuugaku/chuugoku, arimasu/imasu, ikimasu/kimasu, eiga/eigo, itta koto ga arimasu/ikimashita was evident.

Common errors included:

    • incorrect use of particles
    • incorrect formation of te and tari forms
    • incorrect use of plain form before to omoimasu and kara
    • incorrect conjugation of i and na adjectives
    • use of particle ni after a general time word
    • omission of kara when using nazenara
    • omission of negative ending when using amari.

Written examination

Section I – Listening and Responding

Characteristics of better responses:

  • responses were not simply a translation of the text
  • there was evidence of analysis, synthesis and evaluation where required
  • responses were concise and not repetitive
  • all elements of the question were addressed
  • tone and the change in tone was identified and supporting examples given (Q6)
  • each speaker was identified, their points of view were compared and relevant supporting details were given (Q7)
  • language features of the text were addressed and specific examples from the text to support the answer were given (Q8).

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • information that was not in the text was included, or personal opinions were given rather than information from the text
  • answers were not supported with examples from the text
  • translations of limited parts of the text were given and/or the question was not fully addressed
  • common misunderstandings of vocabulary and expressions included:
    • foomaru (Q1)
    • iya da (Q2)
    • inaka, tokai no hito (Q3)
    • itsuka, nanoka, kireina niwa ga mieru heya (Q4)
    • yoi kankei (Q5)
    • tomodachi-oyako, adobaisu (Q7)
    • time phrases 3 hours/30 hours/3 days (Q8).

Section II – Reading and Responding

Part A

Characteristics of better responses:

  • relevant details from the text were included to support opinions
  • vocabulary, grammatical structures and kanji in the passages were understood
  • answers were concise and not repetitive
  • a perceptive understanding of the text that went beyond translation was demonstrated
  • language features that reflected attitude were identified.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • kau koto ga dekiru was translated as ‘can buy’ rather than as ‘can keep (an animal)’ (Q10)
  • ookina inu was misunderstood as ookinai, or in the relative clause ookina inu o kau koto ga dekiru niwa , ookii was interpreted as referring to the size of the garden rather than to the dog (Q10).

Part B

Characteristics of better responses:

  • an excellent understanding of the text was demonstrated through responding to the main points, including reasons for having the party on Saturday in the park and decisions relating to food for the party and a present for Keiko.

Section III – Writing in Japanese

Characteristics of better responses:

  • a wide range of vocabulary, language structures and kanji was used
  • relevant and original ideas that fully addressed the question were included
  • ideas and information were communicated with a high degree of accuracy and were structured and sequenced logically and fluently
  • the text type conventions were applied (email Q12 and article Q13).

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • use of register was inconsistent (mix of plain and polite form)
  • use of tense was inconsistent
  • a pre-learned response which did not address the question was used
  • frequent katakana errors were evident, for example, for Australia and gap year; use of Chinese characters instead of kanji
  • basic particle errors were made; for example, tomodachi o aimasu instead of tomodachi ni aimasu
  • vocabulary from the dictionary was used in the wrong context, for example, sekkyokuteki to mean positives; use of the verb hikkosu for moving school
  • errors were made with i and na adjectives
  • spelling errors were made for common vocabulary items; for example, komenasai for gomennasai
  • incorrect use of te shimau structure was evident; for example, sotsugyou o shite shimaimashita
  • incorrect use of the verbs ugoku/ugokeru, kaeru/kawaru was evident
  • a literal translation of ‘old school’ as furui gakkou was used rather than mae no gakkou
  • iku no yotei instead of iku yotei was used
  • incorrect use of  te kureru/te ageru was evident.
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