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Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Methods to Learn Japanese with Integrated Workbook and Online Support Paperback – 22 Aug 2014
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.
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.
This book is well laid-out and I like the way it gradually introduces you to the Hiragana script as you progress. Beyond that, I really can't find too much positive to say about it. I found the grammar points were superficial both in the way they were presented and tested, they were often confusing, and at times somewhat randomly inserted into the book, rather than being obviously linked to the topic under discussion. The authors also have a habit of introducing new words or characters before you've learned them, which I just found confusing and irritating.
The other thing that concerns me is that you would have to buy at least five books to make real progress, plus pay a monthly subscription to the website to get any audio support - so before long you could end up paying serious money for what I think is a rather amateurish approach to teaching the language.
Don't be seduced by the presentation - I'm sure you can do a lot better for your money than pursue this course.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want to enjoy learning Japanese then buy this book.
Well written structured guide that progress you rapidly towards learning goalsPublished 1 month ago by Mule
Daughter wanted this to try Japanese. She has hardly put it away. She is only 6 but has already learnt the basic numbers , can write all our names and knows pet animals. Read morePublished 1 month ago by zizzle
Soooooo helpful! The ONLY book you'll need to learn to write, read and speak JapanesePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Japanese From Zero is a book like no other in the Japanese learning industry.I watch the author-George Trombleys- videos on youtube (Learn Japanese From Zero) frequently and visit... Read morePublished 2 months ago by laura a.
Worth the price, just need the focus and motivation, amazing product, step by step easy learning,Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer