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advanced japanese

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advanced japanese

Postby tsukino.kinichi » Sun 04.13.2008 9:40 pm

Does anyone know a book textbook for learning advanced japanese and/or classical japanese introductory text?

as of right now i have went through genki I-II, an introductory text to intermediate japanese (basically genki III), progressing from intermediate japanese to advanced japanese (almost like genki IV because they are all by the japan times and similar authors) as well as barrons japanese the easy way, japanese for everyone, and japanese verbs and essentials of grammar.

However, my speaking and listening are lacking a little as well as my understanding of classical japanese (because my school does not have language labs for listening or speaking; we talk/listen nearly nothing in class; nor do they offer ANY classical language instruction). So, basically does anyone know some good textbooks for advanced/post-advanced modern japanese and some textbooks in classical japanese?

online tools are fine as well.

thank you,
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby Sairana » Mon 04.14.2008 2:08 am

It's my understanding that beyond intermediate studies, your primary source of new info is reading daily Japanese texts (newspapers, popular books, websites, etc) and having a dictionary for the words you don't know and/or can't pick out from context.

Textbooks only take you so far. But if there's any out there, I hope someone can point you to them anyway. I just think eventually, you need to step beyond the 'lesson' mindset and explore.
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby Ichigo19 » Fri 04.18.2008 7:11 pm

I don't know too much about Advanced Japanese since I'm still in the beginner-Intermediate phase but you've gotten the Japan times books as well as I have so I'm guessing you have the dictionaries of grammar?

Well I don't know exactly what is included, but the Japan Times is releasing A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar soon. The publish date on the site says the 25th of April so it will be out soon. I don't know how soon/if the Japanshop.com will have it in stock but you could always order it Amazon.co.jp

Here's the link to the product page:


A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar
私がいちごです。女じゃありません。いちごの名前がアニメの名前じゃありません。
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby Tenorikuma » Wed 04.23.2008 7:37 am

Make some Japanese friends if you don't have any, and get ahold of their old middle school and high school textbooks. These will include lots of classical texts and other literature written in archaic and literate styles. It's hard to read at first, but you get a deeper sense of how Japanese works.
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby AJBryant » Wed 04.23.2008 1:15 pm

You can also check out my introduction to Classical Japanese, and look at the biblio and texts.

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Re: advanced japanese

Postby Franz » Mon 05.05.2008 5:06 pm

You might want to try Classical Japanese: A Grammar by Haruo Shirane (ISBN: 978-0231135245). It contains a lot of example sentences lifted from different sources of classical Japanese literature, with a break-down and analysis/explanation of each sentence in English.

If you look it up on Amazon, you'll find a lot of 5-star reviews on it, but having bought the book myself, I feel it necessary to voice some of my own concerns.

Unfortunately, it doesn't contain any complete texts, just random sentences taken from here and there. Since context is extremely important, I think it would've been nice for the author to use complete passages instead of single sentences. He does explain the context of each sentence, but I still would've liked to see the context for myself as it appeared in the original Japanese.

Also, since it's such a niche interest, the author formatted it in a way that would make the material accessible to people of all levels of Japanese proficiency. It assumes the reader has absolutely no knowledge of the Japanese language, hence the heavy use of Romaji throughout the book. It does contain the Japanese sentence in kanji/kana, but instead of furigana, the sentence is printed underneath it again in Romaji. I guess depending on who you are, that could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Concerns aside, I think the book is decent, and it delivers on its intended purpose of familiarizing you with classical Japanse. Shirane wrote a follow-up to it (Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary, ISBN: 978-0231139908) last year. I don't have the second book, but I think it's safe to assume that it follows the same format as the first one.

If you want to get hard-core about your classical Japanese studies, you can pretty much order any bunko from Amazon.co.jp. One that comes to mind is the 万葉集 (まんようしゅう). You can get a "Beginner's Classics" edition that has the original classical Japanese on one page, and a modernized Japanese translation of the passage on the facing page, along with annotations, historical explanations, analysis, etc (all in Japanese). Here's the ISBN: 978-4043574063.

If you're in Japan, you can also stop by any 100円 shop and pick up more modern (20th century) novels by the likes of authors like Natsume Soseki. I got こころ and 坊つちやん in the original Japanese, and they have annotations for young Japanese readers (elementary school to junior high) to help them understand the more difficult literary points. Archaic kanji and phrases are in red with superscript numbers and explained in accompanying footnotes on the page. Considering the price, it's probably one of the best book purchases I ever made in the three years that I lived there.

Hope this helps.
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 05.05.2008 5:43 pm

If you're at the stage of your studies where you're ready to study classical Japanese, I don't think romaji use is any longer a concern. I haven't seen the book so I'm not entirely sure, but there may have been reasons for romaji use other than aiming the book at beginners -- romaji is used in linguistic papers, and it's very often used in articles on classical texts due to several issues of historical phonology that can be obscured using kana.

Shirane has published a followup to this book which has full excerpts:
http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Japanes ... js_title_1

As for jumping into real classical texts, Man'yoshu is kind of tough, and the grammar is archaic in comparison to most other classical Japanese. I think that Hojoki (方丈記) and Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語) are good choices, although in classical Japanese it's probably best to just choose the text you're interested in (and if you're not interested in any of them, the reader above will probably give you enough of a background to understand the classical Japanese that occasionally makes its way into modern texts.)

I recommend 坊つちやん also. This is the first novel that I read in Japanese, and it's fairly straightforward (at least in comparison to some other literature).
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby AJBryant » Tue 05.06.2008 1:15 pm

I believe Hojoki is the best text for a beginning classicist to work with. It's fairly straightforward grammar, the author was educated and intelligent, and wasn't writing scribble.

Pretty much required for anyone getting into bungo is McCullough's "Bungo Manual", though. It's brilliantly thought out and presented, and NEEDS a place in your library. I'm surprised that they left out the one thing that I consider vital: a paradigm chart. (Fortunately, I have one on PDF on my bungo website; just print it out and tape it in the bungo handbook.)

The way WE learned it was "sink or swim." We had a copy of the Bungo Manual, a kogo jiten, and a copy of Hojoki. On day one, we started a round-table translation by parsing the sentences. "Yuku kawa no nagare wa taezu shite... yuku is the yo-dan verb yuku in the rentaikei..."

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Re: advanced japanese

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 05.06.2008 3:49 pm

I actually barely used the Bungo Manual -- I bought it but it's been sitting in a box for a long time. We did the same "sink or swim" thing (with Taketori instead of Hojoki), but I just used the Obunsha kogo jiten on my electronic dictionary, plus some conjugation and particle explanation tables at the end of a different paper dictionary. (I'm not saying it's a bad buy, just that I personally didn't use it.) "Sink or swim" might be tough without a teacher, though, so the reader above would probably help a self-studier.

EDIT: For texts themselves, I highly recommend the 日本古典集成 published by 新潮 (they are small blue books). They have interlinear glosses for many things, restricting the explanatory notes to cultural explanations and the like. This drastically reduces the frequency with which you have to jump back and forth between notes and text (or notes, translation, and text) -- especially annoying when the notes run into the next page, which happens very often with the Iwanami and Shogakukan sets. It can make you kind of lazy, however, and you have to resist the urge to read only the glosses and not the text itself.
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Re: advanced japanese

Postby AJBryant » Wed 05.07.2008 4:05 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:"Sink or swim" might be tough without a teacher, though, so the reader above would probably help a self-studier.


Very true.

Our prof was... well, he was great, but he was also terrifying. I remember one guy in class making a mistake in the conjugation of a verb (I *think* it was mistaking 見ゆ for 見る, but we were all so traumatized I have forgotten the specifics), and his palm slammed down on the desk (there were only five of us around a seminar table in a SMALL room, so it echoed like a cannon -- again, the trauma...) and shouted, "No, dammit! That's a J-101 mistake!!" ...

But I digress. We learned a LOT in that class. But, yeah, a teacher definitely helps. There is so much with bungo you need to learn to watch for (for example, all those false friends like あした and so on!) that guidance is really necessary -- especially early on.

EDIT: For texts themselves, I highly recommend the 日本古典集成 published by 新潮 (they are small blue books). They have interlinear glosses for many things, restricting the explanatory notes to cultural explanations and the like. This drastically reduces the frequency with which you have to jump back and forth between notes and text (or notes, translation, and text) -- especially annoying when the notes run into the next page, which happens very often with the Iwanami and Shogakukan sets. It can make you kind of lazy, however, and you have to resist the urge to read only the glosses and not the text itself.


It happens even to the pros. I remember reading a review of a literary translation where the reviewer commented that the translation owed as much -- if not more -- to the glosses in the critical text used than it did to the original text. That can be damning.

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