Beginner's Kana Workbook (NTC Foreign Language) Paperback – 16 Jan 1998
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From the Back Cover
'Beginner's Kana Workbook' is the fast- track route to writing both Hiragana (the basic script of Japanese) and Katakana (used for foreign words in Japenese) with competence.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
We copied the pages to use like worksheets and that worked out well, since just writing something once in a workbook is not adequate. The syllables are not taught in Japanese order, but in order of easier to harder, and that worked out well, since you built up confidence and skill as you went. You can easily relearn them in the proper order once you have the forms down. Our kids now do calligraphy in their school as well as the Japanese kids.
Japanese adults use kanji in their writing, but also use hiragana and katakana, so you can express yourself in writing easily without knowing any kanji if you know these two sylabaries. They can't always understand words written in with "romanzi" or our alphabet as easily. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn the basic writing of Japan.
I own several kana apps which are supposed to help with writing but they are too strict. Even if the character is written properly but not exactly as shown, it is listed as incorrect. Very frustrating.
So here you can write and by comparing it to the samples, decide for yourself if you did a good job. I've tried several other katakana workbooks as well but this is the only one I liked. The others had silly ways of getting the student to memorize the characters or had words that weren't relevant to my studies.
If you just want to learn how to write katakana and hiragana properly and don't need any other bells and whistles, this would be a great source.
It has been incredibly helpful in learning kana. Be warned, this is not a book that teachs grammer or any such thing, for that purpose buy a different book, or prehaps a computer program that teaches Japanese. But if your goal is to be able to have a rudimentary understanding of the kana, this is a great book. I have been learning for maybe 2-3 weeks now, at a rate of about 2 characters per day, and can write recognizably almost half the hiragana characters.
Also note, that of course practice is key. Every day I rewrite the kana I have already learned, and do pages of practice of the new characters. I also suggest photocopying the page you're using two or three times, as the one page in the book will never be enough, and you may wish to use it again later.
Finally, this book actually teaches only the basic characters, modified characters (with nigori or maru) are only shown in pictures. However, that's no major setback, as they're not so different as to require another set of pages. I am also using this book in conjunction with a website that shows moving .gifs of how to write the kana figures. Between the two, I have been able to learn kana quickly.
Realize, of course, that this book does not garuntee mastery of kana, nor does it make it unbelieveably easy. The Japanese alphabets are difficult to learn, plain and simple. However, this book certainly makes it easier. It's great for self-study, and better if you have a native Japanese person to tell you where your mistakes are (but we all know not everyone has a Japanese person coincidentally living next to them).
All in all, if you're set on learning kana, buy this book!
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