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Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Methods to Learn Japanese with Integrated Workbook and Online Support (Japanese) Paperback – 1 May 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: YesJapan Corporation; 5th Edition edition (1 May 2006)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 0976998122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976998129
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.9 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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 (Learn More)
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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By AgentMulderUK on 10 Mar 2008
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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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By S. Cheetham on 17 Sep 2007
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By acromel on 22 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
I have mixed feelings about this book. That these comments apply to the updated edition is a real concern.

The good news is that the progressive approach to learning hiragana is a clever idea and I found it to be very effective.

The bad news is that the book is littered with errors that should have been corrected before publication. These errors range between simple typos and the use of unexplained vocabulary. Much of the dialogue is translated differently to the way it was introduced and explained - and this extends to the use of rather poor English grammar.

More seriously, there is very little explanation of the Japanese grammar that is used. The descriptions of the particles are cursory and then the example dialogue will use different syntax that is not explained: this does not inspire confidence.

Overall, an effective method of learning hiragana but the sloppy editing and poor descriptions of grammar greatly undermine the book's effectiveness.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
It is probably best to learn a new language by taking a course with a qualified teacher but if, like me, you prefer self-study this is definitely the best way to go.

This book covers all the basics from everyday vocabulary and grammar to counting, days of the week and time etc., and it's all presented in a very understandable way. It will also teach you the Hiragana alphabet quickly and efficiently.

In the past, I've been frustrated with the slow pace some self-study language courses move at so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book moves at a good pace without being overwhelming. The 'culture clips' about Japanese customs and the more colloquial ways of speaking are useful too.

Obviously, since it is just a book, it won't teach you much about pronunciation so I would definitely recommend exposing yourself to spoken Japanese somehow, but that (and the fact that there are a couple of minor typos), is basically the only criticism I can think of.

Highly recommended.
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