Japanese joy for Perse students in international languages competition

Thomas Starr and Eos Liao (both Lower Sixth) have showcased their Japanese skills in the Education Perfect International Languages Championships.

They earned Gold and Credit awards respectively in the online competition, helping The Perse take first place in the global small entry category for Japanese, as well as being the highest-ranked British school in the language, based on average scores.

Thomas and Eos, along with fellow JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) students Will Bacon, Lily MacFarlane (both Upper Sixth) and Benjamin Sharpstone (Lower Sixth), took part after being encouraged to enter by Japanese teacher Mary Grace Browning.

They participated in a range of activities and exercises, testing a wide variety of their linguistic skills, while being able to see how they were performing individually in real time. Thomas focused on converting Japanese to English, largely through reading and listening activities, while Eos concentrated on being tested on new vocabulary.

Both students are working towards their N4 level diploma (the JLPT system runs from N5 up to N1) and felt the competition was extremely useful as a revision tool.

Thomas, whose mother is Japanese, has been learning the language since he was a young child and hopes to work in the country in the future.

He said: “The most challenging aspect of it was just the sheer number of exercises themselves, but I was happy to get to the Gold level and it was a nice surprise to see the school had done so well overall.”

Meanwhile, Eos had already begun learning Japanese off her own back before starting to study the language in school in Year 10.

She said: “My parents are from Taiwan, but we have family who live in Japan, so there’s always been a connection. I also grew up watching Japanese anime cartoons and reading manga comics, so it’s always been around me.

“I just love the language because there are words you can use in Japanese which don’t have an equivalent In English, so it’s really useful.”

Ms Browning added: “Given that our students were entering this competition for the first time and were competing against schools with a long history of high scores, this is a great achievement.”

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