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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good beginner's book, 2 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Japanese for Everyone: A Functional Approach to Daily Communication (Paperback)
As someone who's circumstances have meant for the time being only self-study japanese is possible, I was happy to have this book recommended to me by other students of the language.

At first glance, this could be construed as a very scary book, particularly if you don't have a teacher over your shoulder.

However, I definitely recommend taking the second and the third glance. The script all being in kana from the off is actually a positive in my view, not a negative, because it forces your brain to recall the characters much more quickly when you can associate them with words. The book seems to assume that users will be more comfortable with hiragana over katakana at the beginning also, since many of the katakana written words (biiru, menyuu, etc) are written with hiragana as "furigana" over the top to indicate pronunciation. If you are serious about learning proper Japanese rather than just a holidaymaker's guide in romaji, then you're going to have to learn kana sooner or later...and the "jump right in" attitude of the book makes you do it sooner!

(One minor drawback - and the 4 star rating is because of this - is that the book doesn't really do much in the way of teaching you the Kana. Although there is a guide on the inside cover, all that is really said is "you should learn these asap". There is no instruction on stroke pattern or anything of that nature, which I have had to locate through other sources.

There are a lot of detailed and complex grammar notes in both the introduction and the back cover of the book and although it's worth reading these at the start, I would recommend going back to them once you've begun since they often make more sense in context. Particularly in terms of things like sentence construction (and the very complicated use of particles).

Kanji characters are introduced occasionally although this is not a major resource for Kanji learning as far as I can see. (However, the method obviously works, since the ones I've come across so far I've remembered, recognised and been able to use in written work!)

On the whole I really like this as a self-study guide. Even without the cassettes (which seem to be impossible to find for love nor money) the book is a solid foundation for Japanese learning (although if you can supplement your learning with additional listening/study materials, then so much to the good.)
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