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Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Methods to Learn Japanese with Integrated Workbook and Online Support Paperback – 22 Aug 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Learn From Zero; 5th Edition edition (22 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976998122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976998129
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.8 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

George Trombley is a professional Japanese interpreter who over the past 16 years has interpreted at corporations such as Microsoft, IBM, NTT DoCoMo, Lucent Technologies, and in countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
This book teaches you how to write Japanese progressively, and by Lesson 9 you will know the entire hiragana writing system. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The presentation of this book, with small graphics, nice layout, along with its many different types of activity give the learner motivation to pick the book up, and keep picking it up.

I have read several of the current texts and this seems the best. It is a light approach to what could become a heavy subject. Well done to the authors for that.

The unique progressive introduction of one of the Japanese "alphabet" is rather good ,I imagine, for those who don't already know it. Readers learn the characters a few at a time in each chapter, the anglicised versions of Japanese characters gradually being replaced by the real thing (Hiragana).

(If readers do not already know Hiragana (the Japanese phonetic characters), then text books have to write their Japanese in an awful anglicised form called Romaji. Romaji is a system that leads to bad pronunciation by default, as readers will pronounce combinations of alphatic characters using their native tongue rules and patterns.)

The book will also get you speaking from the off. This can only build confidence for new learners.

The book includes some handy blocks of vocabulary and some mini Japanese-English / English-Japanese dictionaries.

On the downside are several typographical errors - notably incorrect page references. Not that important but a bit naughty.

Strangely, there are the inclusion of some words/phrases/concepts which seem to materialise from thin air. Perhaps the explanatory sections for these were removed in the final edit. May cause some confusion.

On a slightly more serious note,some of the language chosen for the learner may not be the most suitable language for most situations (i.e its level of politeness).
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Format: Paperback
Japanese from Zero 1 is the first book in a five part course in Japanese (although only the first three are available now, parts 4 and 5 are due for next year), and is aimed at the complete beginner.

I had been searching (for a while) for a good book/set to help me learn the language, but most titles either completely ingore teaching any hiragana katakana etc (like the japanese for busy people series) or force you to learn all of them in one go before commencing actual lessons.
However, Japanese from Zero does something neat called progressive learning - starting in completely safe looking romaji (English characters), and with each lesson introducing 5 of the basic hiragana. Once taught in a lesson they swap in these new Japanese characters and gradually the romaji dissappears. It is very sneaky, but it works. By about two thirds of the way through you will have learned all the hiragana and won't bat an eyelid when confronted with paragraphs of Japanese script.

That said, this book ONLY teaches hiragana (katakana is tought in book 2, and Kanji begins only in book 3). It is also not a travel or holiday phrase book, nor will it help you read sushi menus, and with a couple of hundred pages it won't fit in your pocket!

So what else is in this book - well basic grammar, counting, time, colours, asking where things are etc (all the usual suspects).

Myself, having finished the 13 lessons in this book I can read and write all hiragana and know a heap of grammar too! For someone looking to learn the Japanese language I can't think of a better book to start with.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am currently using this book and am probably 80% done with it so i feel i have most things in order to say how the book does.

First and foremost, the book is very in-depth, when it teaches you new words (and more importantly grammar) you are given lots of examples of how it is used and how it should be used and alot of example Questions and Answers which you can gain a true nature to this.
Also alot of the words introduced at the beginning or end of a lesson unit are frequently used from then onwards to help you memorize them even better, sadly some other words offered in the book (commonly the ones you might pick up on from 'common Hiragana words' or when practicing Hiragana arnt revised well but these arn't intended to be teached to you, there more extra's so i dont think its worth getting upset over.

Otherwsie the layout is very simple and easy to follow which helps keep a easy understanding to new words and rules being introduced. I have had little to no issues for learning rules other than remembering stuff from time to time so i think its well to say it teaches very effectivly.

My only true problem with the book is down to 2 things:
1> As many other said there are some minor mistakes in the book. I have only noticed one so far and thats when they wrote the japanese 'Inu' instead of neko (cat). Otherwsie the only mistake i found is one page had a printing error and a small courner of the page text hasnt been printed, this was ok though as it was only saying what to do in the exercise which i already knew as i had done it several times.
2> This is so much a problem but i think its worth mentioning.
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