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Basic Japanese: A Grammar and Workbook (Grammar Workbooks) Paperback – 30 Jul 2010

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Product Description

About the Author

Shoko Hamano is Professor of Japanese and International Affairs in The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University.

Takae Tsujioka is a Japanese Teaching Instructor in The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great book for someone who really wants to understand how the language works 26 April 2012
By Nathaniel Nat Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm an advanced Japanese speaker and professional translator, and I initially purchased this book to supplement grammatical explanations I was giving to friends to whom I was teaching Japanese. It was extremely helpful and I couldn't recommend it more.

This is a grammar book for someone who is really interested in how the Japanese language works and loves the language. I think it would be the perfect supplement to a more general sort of catch-all textbook. Also, this isn't only a book for people just starting Japanese; this is a book that I, as an advanced speaker, found was a great way to revisit the fundamentals of the language and deepen my own understanding.

It's true that the use of romaji can be a bit distracting until you train yourself to ignore it and focus on the kana/kanji (which is also provided). But I think this is a) an issue that most beginner books have for non-beginners who try to read them and b) a compromise made to make the book more useful to linguistics students who want to study Japanese grammar but who don't have time to learn the writing system, as well as beginners to are still very slow at reading kana and for whom trying to read the kana would detract from learning the grammar. I don't think that the book suffers from its use of romaji at all. The point of this book is not reading practice; it's grammar comprehension, and that's where it really excels.

For an elementary grammar book, this text offers an excellent amount of detail on some topics that are glossed over (or never mentioned at all) in most beginning books. Some examples:

-A very interesting treatment of the distinctions between not just concrete uses of kore/sore/are, but how to properly choose the right modifier for abstract references, as well.
-An informative and comprehensive discussion of differences between using "no" and "koto" to nominalize verbs and adjectives
-A better discussion of counting words than I've seen in any other beginner book
-Very comprehensive and easy-to-understand explanations of differences between itadaku/morau/ageru/kureru/kudasaru
-An entire section on the grammar of "apologizing and thanking," which is something any Japanese speaker is going to find themselves doing a lot :)

Something that I really like about this grammar book is that it's dense and precise with information, but in a very readable way. It doesn't water down explanations, but it gets them *right* rather than a hand-wavy "sometimes this means this but don't worry about the times when it doesn't" sort of explanation.

I couldn't recommend this book more as a way to get a more solid grasp of the fundamentals of the language. The intermediate book is great too: Intermediate Japanese: A Grammar and Workbook (Grammar Workbooks)
5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Uses Romanization 26 Dec 2010
By skipoint - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I just received this item as a gift, and although I haven't yet had time to go over it in detail, I did notice an important aspect of it that the description doesn't mention: romanization. If this were just at the beginning, I wouldn't be commenting on it, but from start to finish, this book is full of it. I bought a copy of Basic Korean: A Grammar and Workbook (Grammar Workbooks) for my brother, which did not have romanization included, so this came as a surprise to me.

While it does appear to cover a large amount of material and, most importantly for me, contains exercises, the use of romanization is distracting. Skimming through it, I've tried to focus just on the hiragana, katakana, and kanji, but the romanization is between the original text and the translation so this is almost impossible. This isn't enough for me to want to return the book, but it is enough for me to leave a review for anyone else considering buying the book.

I'm also using and would highly recommend Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure. Although it also includes romanization, but it does it in a way that is easy to ignore - the original manga strips are included and it's easy to cover the separate sections including the romanization when you want to review.
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