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4.3 out of 5 stars48
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 25 June 2008
Ok, let me start by saying this little gem has helped me out so many times when trying to think of a word. It's not just a dictionary but there is a whole middle section on grammar which is great for brushing up on you wa's and ga's.

I can also see some people have been disappointed with the fact that it's all written in hiragana/katakana, this is actually more beneficial to those wanting to get proficient with reading and writing in real japanese script, and i think it serves as more of an encouragement to go and learn the first two basic scripts. Believe me, anyone thats learned them will tell you once you have them down pat, (within about a month and half i learned mine)
you will find reading japanese so much more rewarding, and also your a lot less likely to make pronunciation mistakes.
Sometimes i still have to pinch myself to realise that holy Sh*t im reading japanese. Trust me, go and learn them, you'll love it.
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on 28 September 2008
Oxford beginner's Japanese dictionary is pretty good on the whole for the aspiring student of Japanese, but is by no means perfect.

On the plus side, all of the Japanese is in kana (you *need* to know kana if you ever want to learn the language properly), and the most useful/common kanji are given next to each translation. The selection of words matches the needs of a beginner well, meaning that you don't have to trawl through endless pages of useless vocabulary to find what you want. There are also grammatical examples to accompany some of the translations; however, some of these are quite advanced, and since a literal translation is not provided they aren't quite as useful as they could be.

There is a useful grammar section in the middle, which contains tables of verb and adjective conjugations, as well as pages of references for family names, dates etc. However, no explanation is given to what the different verb forms actually mean/do - what exactly does causative passive mean, and how is it used in Japanese? The reference tables for verbs that I'd covered already in my studies were useful however, but clearly the grammar section is intended as a supplement rather than a tutor in it's own right (for wonderful, clear explanations of all Japanese grammar see 'Japanese the Manga Way' by Wayne Lammers). Furthermore, at the back there's an extensive phrasefinder. If you're just want to use it as a phrasebook for (say) a holiday to Japan, I suggest you look elsewhere - as with the rest of the book, no romaji are on offer. If you're actually learning the language though, they serve as a useful reference point.

Some of the translations provided are quite ambiguous - for example, 'ginkou' is listed simply as 'bank (n)'. Were it a word you'd never come across before (and there are other examples), you might be left wondering if it was a money-bank or a river-bank. Additionally, after fairly extensive usage, I've come across quite a few mistakes/typos. Obviously it's never going to be perfect, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

The book is attractively presented, and is beautifully free of off-putting, detailed linguistic analyses. Entries are written in a bold blue font, whilst translations are in black, so it's easy to find whatever you're looking for.

So why four stars? It's partly because I have yet to find anything better (or at least, anything that doesn't have romaji all over the show), and also because I'm really nitpicking. For most purposes it's a useful reference, but you really need a teacher to clarify the various ambiguities within to make the most out of it.
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on 23 July 2009
I bought this book as an aid to my learning Japanese and I've not been disapointed.

A lot of reviews have said how this is not for the beginner as it does not contain any romaji - to those I would say that if you're serious about learning Japanese don't even start if you don't have hiragana and katakana under your belt, it's pointless as you'll constantly be checking both what a word is and what it means, rather than just the meaning.

Anyway, on to the dictionary...

The book is split into several sections, most notable are the Kana->English and grammer sections, which are very well presented and easy to use; one thing which does take a while to get used to is the order in which the Kana is in the dictionary, but you soon get over that.

The English->Kana section is a nice addition but due to the way the language works finding exactly what you want can be difficult, it does however suggest other meanings for you.

I would reccomend this dictionary to anyone seriously learning the Japanese language.

If you're only going to learn it with romanji you'll get nothing out of either this book or the wonderful language itself.
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on 7 February 2014
So, obviously I self-study japanese using various books and methods.
And typically, sometimes there were times that there was a certain word with poor explanation and for that I needed to look it up.

I always prefer physical books, I dont like looking things up on the computer dictionary-wise. Also because it can be distracting when trying to study, 'quickly check this, lets check my emails as well', and before you know it you've been wasting time on the computer.

So, a dictionary was the best thing to go for in my case. Now, I would rate it 3.5, but unfortunately I cant do that and it's not worth 4 stars.

I think the dictionary is great, has great explanations and the fact that it's hiragana/katakana is very useful to practice reading on the spot, it also simply makes much more sense that way.

The problem is that there are just so many words I cant find in it, commonly used words. The english > japanese side of the book is also thicker than the japanese > english side of the book. Meaning both sections of the book have different words. So half of the time I still have to get on my computer to find the meaning of a word.

Second problem for me is that the front and the back of the dictionary is very poor quality, The front and back is double layered paper but they're being seperated, both the back and the front. As if they just glued two alligned pieces of paper together, so to speak.

I've barely used it thus far and is about 2 weeks old, I take extremely good care of my things because I very much do value them, and yet it's breaking down so to say. You can always see that a book is used, but to think it cant maintain somewhat of a condition whatsoever is disappointing to me.

I would recommend this if you already have a different dictionary and need better explanations and versions of certain words, but not as a single and only dictionary.
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on 22 October 2006
I was recommended this book, the Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary, by Amazon as I bought the Oxford Starter Japanese Dictionary. The press release for this book says it's a 'New and fresh approach for first-time learners'. However, when I received the book, it's not new at all, page for page in every way it's the same book as the old one. so, if you have that book already, don't get this or you'll be disappointed. If you don't, then it is still a brilliant, user friendly dictionary that is indespensible for the beginning learner.
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on 23 June 2015
I bought this about a week after I began learning Japanese and it has been immensely valuable. I've been using it alongside my primary teaching application so that I can form my own sentences which relate to my everyday life after learning the proper sentence structure.

I like that it uses hiragana as it forces you to learn / remember and removes the temptation to "cheat". I'd only recommend this as a secondary source to accompany your primary text book(s) or taught classes as it's clearly not designed to actually teach you the language but rather help with vocabulary (you must at-least know hiragana). That said it does give a few grammar tips but as a beginner I found these rather confusing compared to my other beginner resources.

My other two issues are (a) although it's a "beginner" book I feel they could have included more words as I still find myself going online quite often to look words up and (b) included towards the back are a helpful few pages of "Japanese words you must know" it would actually have been nice for English translations in this section or page reference numbers to look up said words being a "beginner's" book.

All in all it was money well spent as I pick words out on a daily basis.
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on 18 September 2015
I'm surprised with how good it is.

This is a very good book, it's quite thick and A5 size. As soon as I began reading it I started leaning new words and phrases. I do recommend you learn at least a little bit of hiragana while you're waiting for it to arrives it will help you jump straight into learning, however, the dictionary does have some exercises and charts in the back which is very helpful.

This is perfect for anyone learning or studying the Japanese language as it can really help you to build up your vocabulary as well as phrases.
The first section is in Japanese with the English counterparts at the side, the back is full of English words with their Japanese counterparts. A lot of things have sentences to explain what they're saying the "use it in a sentence" thing which is very good.

This isn't going to make you fluent in Japanese on its own and you do need to learn pronunciation as well which the book doesn't teach you but it definitely will help you.

It's a paperback so I don't know why people are complaining that it's made from paper?
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on 23 August 2013
If you have a grounding in hiragana and katagana, then this is the best beginner to intermediate dictionary I have found so far. It contains a good amount of the most frequently used vocabulary words and should easily cover most textbook courses to at least an intermediate level. As a study resource (for the early JLPT especially) I have found it to be invaluable.

I take one star off because there are one or two mistakes in the entries, though these are few and far between. But none of these have been corrected from the previous version, the Oxford Starter Japanese Dictionary. (I have seen both books together and as is mentioned in a previous review, the only differences appear to be to the title and cover.)

As a side note, it does not cover much outside of everyday usage words. So if you are watching or reading manga, anime, light novels etc that frequently cover more fantasy, supernatural or sci-fi themes you would be better off with a larger dictionary.
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on 17 September 2008
I'm taking a beginner's course in Japanese. I got this after I had learnt the hiragana and katakana and it's been indispensible. The dictionary part is good, with useful useage hints dotted about, and the grammatical and vocabulary sections are also handy.
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on 29 June 2014
I started learning Japanese about a year ago. Such a strange language to me but I'm loving it. This dictionary isn't the fullest dictionary, and there are some words that I required that weren't in there that seemed a bit basic. But it's handy and great for travel, it's easy to follow through and I have no issues with it. I sometimes just sit there flicking through pages and pronouncing words as part of learning to read Japanese.

If you're a beginner, this Dictionary is perfect. I may update my review in 2 years and tell you if it's excellent for pro's too!
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