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Dictionary of Japanese Particles Paperback – 1 May 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International Ltd (1 May 1999)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 4770023529
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770023520
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 2.3 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,285,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

SUE A. KAWASHIMA received BA (Cum Laude) and MA degrees from Columbia University and is now a lecturer in Japanese language at Hunter College of the City University of New York.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was highly recommended this book, so I bought it.
It contains a clear listing of the particles used in modern Japanese (in alphabetical order). Each entry explains briefly the uses of the particle, with examples, and if necessary, it compares it to easily confused particles.
Examples are displayed in Japanese (with furigana) and romanized letters, and an English translation is also provided. I would have liked no romanization at all, but this dictionary tries to be useful to any student of Japanese, at any level. In my view, the romanized letters are too big, and makes the text less clear than expected.
It also includes exercises to practice the usage of the different particles, with key.
In any case, this book is a great reference.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
one of the best books that really helped me get to grips with particles,
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 29 reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never knew there were so many particles! 7 Mar. 2004
By Zachary Turner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been studying Japanese for about 3 years and I'm approximately JLPT 2kyuu level. However, I was dumbfounded when I saw this book. Every page there's particles I never even knew existed. I mean you always learn the basic particles in school: wa, ga, de, ni, to, mo, made, kara, yo, ne, bakari, hodo, yori, etc. And you even learn how to combine particles for compound particles: ni wa, ni mo, made ni, kara mo, just to name a few. But do you know what "made mo" is? In all the Japanese books I've ever seen, this has never even been given a mention. Did you know that "nite" was equivalent to "de" to mean the location where an action takes place? I'd never even HEARD of "nite". How about "kara shite"? I learned "tokoro de" to mean "by the way", but I had never even thought of the fact that perhaps "tokoro e", "tokoro ga", or "tokoro wo" existed. And they don't mean anything like what you might expect.
This book is a true gem.
41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Japanese particles 10 Mar. 2004
By magellan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In some ways, particles are the key to Japanese grammar, which are one of the many ways Japanese differs from Indo-European languages like English. As the author points out, someone can have a very good grasp of nouns and verb conjugations in Japanese, and yet without particles, still can't construct a grammatical Japanese sentence. And by using two different particles, two sentences that are otherwise the same can be made to mean totally different things.

The definition portion of the book discusses all the particle meanings, giving main as well as variant meanings. There are lots of example sentences, which are in both Roman transliteration and Japanese script. Another helpful aid is the 12 x 14 table of particles in blue in the front and end papers of the book, which is very convenient. At 340 pages long, there is a lot of material here considering it's not that expensive a book.

In the grammar discussion section, the author shows why you just can't replace the prepositions in an English sentence with the particles in Japanese. For example, take the sentence, "My mother and my father had dinner at a restaurant in Tokyo with a friend," which is Watashi NO haha TO chichi WA tomodachi TO issho NI tookyoo NO resuturan DO yuushoku O tabe-mashita in Japanese (the particles are in all caps). This sentence contains 8 particles serving various functions and only two prepositions, so obviously they aren't equivalent.

Particles can serve many different functions, ranging from altering the meaning of the verb to functions that resemble case-marking in Indo-European and other Ural- Altaic languages. The Negara particle indicates that the action described by the verb it follows is being carried out at the same time as another action is taking place. The English approximation is "while doing" or "also doing," as in Boku WA ongaku o, kiki negara doraibu o shita, which means, "I was listening to music while I drove."

Other interesting particles include Tara, which indicates the subject or topic of the sentence, similar to the case marking in so-called Active languages, as opposed to the Nominative-Accusative pattern in English in most Indo-European languages, or the Ergative-Absolutive pattern found in Eskimo, Caucasian languages, south Pacific island and Austronesian languages, and so on. (Basque is also an ergative language, but is the only one in Europe that is.) Then there is the Nite particle, which is placed after a noun of location, which shows where an action took place. This also seems similar to the locative case in many languages, although technically Japanese lacks cases. To give one final example, the TO particle performs a listing function and is used when naming things in succession.

Since Japanese has no case structure and all but two of the verbs are completely regular, Japanese lacks many of the difficulties encountered in other languages. Compared to Indo-European patterns, it isn't very rich in verb forms that deal with time, and it even lacks a true future tense (which Latin does too, interestingly enough). However, it makes up for this in it's variety of modal constructions which indicate the speaker's attitude toward the subject, possibility, probability, conditionality, and so on, and in the complex particle system. This book will help you master this extremely important aspect of Japanese grammar.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is absolutely perfect. 13 April 2005
By George Dickerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
You cannot make progress, let alone master this language, without proper comprehension of particles and their rules and exceptions. This book is an indispensable companion for any student. The book simply explodes with information, including many good example sentences, concise usage explanations, and quick-reference sections with english equivalents and review exercises.

You should have this book.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kodansha's Japanese Particle dictionary 22 Jun. 2000
By Kevin Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I love this book! Whenever I'm in Japan, I carry it with me as I find it even more handy than my dictionary. Plenty of example sentences. Particles arranged in alphabetical order.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough 1 Feb. 2013
By CoC Believer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find this book to be very useful. As a relative newbie to Japanese, I need a lot of help with all the particles. This book lists the particles with various definitions for each one, and, the most helpful feature - example sentences. These are extremely helpful, since when someone wants to know what a particle means, they've usually found the need to learn while reading sentences in a book. Japanese particles can be hard to grasp, but this book has been very useful to me.
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