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Let's Learn Katakana: Second Book of Basic Japanese Writing Paperback – 1 Dec 1985

4.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Dec 1985
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Product details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc; First Edition edition (1 Dec. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087011719X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870117190
  • Product Dimensions: 27.4 x 0.8 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 28 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a slimmish textbook which focusses on both how to draw katakana, including stroke order, and when to use them- they're not just for foreign loan words as I had believed. It also mentions how the katakana were derived and why. It does NOT, however, include mnemonics or pictures to help you commit them to memory, and will not assist you in learning the alphabet quickly except by repetition and exercises. It also refers fairly often to its sister book on hiragana, which it recommends you study before katakana. This author is obviously respected as it's a recommended text for my university course. Good for more in-depth study of katakana- I didn't realise they were so useful!
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This is a great follow up book from Mitamura's first book "Lets Learn Hiragana". This teaches the Katakana writing system in the same way the fisrt book taught Hiragana. That considered if you liked the first book then you will like this one too. The book is slightly thicker than the first and truth be told it didnt need be. Once i was Three Quarters through the book i had already mastered Katakana. However this book also teaches the uses of katakana (onomatapeia,telegrams,foriegn words etc.) which is also very important.
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By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
before I started to read this book I only though that Katakana was used for words borrow for other countries. so with that in mind I was quite shock to find out how wrong I actually was. it is use for many more things then you would expect like names on animals and plantes. I would recomment though that you at least know Hiragana before you read this one, to get a more easy way to understand it, and it has all what you need to know like it's sisterbook "Let's learn Hiragana"
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Bought this after the Hiragana book . Its the same set up, but a bit faster in pace. Very helpful to go through the same writing exercises as you know what to expect. But I found I needed some of the online apps you can get to 'picture' what each letter should look like - to stop me confusing the two letter sets in my mind.
Im still very much a beginner and would recommend this.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second istalment in a three-volume series about Japanese writing.
While the first one

Let's Learn Hiragana: First Book of Basic Japanese Writing

is perfectly suited for an absolute beginner, this second one gets rid -a little too- quickly of the basic signs and exercises to dedicate most of the pages to the several uses of Katakana.

While the transcription of loanwords is surely complex, it is also true that a beginner will not need to improvise the Katakana for some remote country or some English loanword. This kind of detail is then perfectly useless whereas it could be of interest for the advanced student willing to understand transcription rules better.
Dividing the book in two parts, the first with the fundamentals and the second with the in-depth analysis, would have suited both types of student's needs.

As in volume one, kanas are hand-written and appear different from print fonts; this could be considered a flaw.
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Great way to improve your memory skills, as with the sister book on Hiragana the characters are introduced in groups along with hints on pronunciation and writing the script.
Essential reading for those people who want to get to grips with the Japanese language as it is written, then there is the Kanji, another story!
Plenty to get your head around.
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This book is really great for learning how to draw Katakana characters, it reminds me of when you'd get letter sheets in school as a kid which taught you how to draw out the letters and pronounce them. Would recommend.
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If you are foolish enough to decide to learn the Japanese writing system then this series of books is just excellent. 6 stars.

But consider:

Japanese is really quite an easy language to learn in its spoken form. Pronunciation for example presents almost no difficulties for speakers of English and much of the grammar is way simpler than English or any other European language (though some isn't of course!)

But the writing system is a killer. If you're thinking of buying this book then you already know that all Japanese words CAN be written using just hiragana and katakana scripts (only two alphabets to learn, with only 50 letters in each - how kind!) BUT, BUT, BUT, any Japanse document you will come across will use these two alphabets and also the Chinese-derived ideogram characters called kanji.

So to read anything but kindergaten story books you MUST LEARN ABOUT A THOUSAND CHARACTERS.

I'm sure that would be a fascinating project in itself but since most Japanese people will be able to read 'romaji' (japanese written out in our roman script) learning the two kanas without also learning the kanji is kind of pointless.

That was the conclusion I came to anyway. Life is too short and I'm not an academic.

But don't let me put you off buying the book. It's a really good way to learn katakana, and learning a bit of Japanese script is enlightening. For example it helped me to realise that the smallest unit in a Japanese word is not a letter sound but an open syllable sound, and that this is why Japanese (and Chinese) words always end in either a vowel or a soft 'n' or 'm'.

Great book. 6 stars.
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