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Choice of Text Books

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

Choice of Text Books

Postby ebo123 » Sat 10.15.2005 10:25 am

O.K. I am now finally ready to buy books. I have been looking for a long time. I am still contemplating over what type of books to buy.

1. Text book [main book]
2. J/E-E/J dictionary <-- ??
3. Kanji dictionary <-- ??

I know for sure that one of my books will be a text book; the other to books I am not sure about. Could you please share your thoughts on what type of books I should buy. Mabey one on Grammer? Or another text book?

I am looking for books that do not stress on Kana, since I can already read them; I am looking for one that has Vocabulary lists and Grammar. It would also be nice if the book would incorporate some Kanji.

If you have some suggestions please tell me.

It would be nice if you could point me in the right direction, or give me some advice.

Thanks:)
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby skrhgh3b » Sat 10.15.2005 2:21 pm

as far as textbooks, most of us can probably only recommend what we've personally used, and if we've studied japanese in a classroom, we probably didn't have any choice in our textbook. i myself use nakama, and it's pretty decent. it seems to be on par with other college level japanese textbooks i've seen, but i couldn't say if it's the best. that said, try to avoid japanese for busy people.

for a j-e, e-j dictionary, i would recommend kodansha's furigana dictionary. it's a little pricy, but you can get a good deal on amazon.com. all of the entries are in kanji with furigana and there are as many example sentences for each word as you'll need. plus, it's beautifully bound. not the most exhaustive dicionary you'll buy, but ideal for the beginning to intermediate level.

as far as a kanji dictionary, i would recommend kodansha's kanji learner's dictionary. it's based on the skip method, but it's a lot easier to carry around than the larger ntc dictionary. also beautifully bound. kodansha makes some lovely books (^^;


last year i went a college semester without taking a japanese class, but i didn't want to stop learning, so i went on a shopping spree buying up every japanese reference book i saw i thought could be useful. looking at my library, i think i have 25 dictionaries and reference books. oy. damn the power japanese series. and to think there are still a couple of more dictionaries i would like....
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby Infidel » Sat 10.15.2005 4:35 pm

I've tried many different textbooks in my misguided search for the holy grail of Japanese textbooks.

Sounds like Japanese step by step is right up your alley. It uses vocabulary lists, big ones, and kanji and kana are used along with romaji. So you have your choice of which to learn by.

I ended up droping this textbook for the very reasons you request. I found the vocabulary lists too long and I was more interested in a book emphasizing writing. Step by Step seem better for learning to read, which isn't really the same thing.

I'm using my paper dictionaries less and less. Nowadays, if you've ready access to the internet, I'd say don't bother to buy a dictionary. wwwjdic.org has a compliation of dictionaries and it includes a stroke order display that includes all the kanji in the Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary courtesy of Jack Halpern. It is also faster to use the internet dictionary. I've found that when I use jdic it takes about 2seconds-15 seconds to look something up, but much longer with a paper dictionary. Using jdic means I spend more time learning and less time looking stuff up. Best of both worlds. Paper dictionaries are still good when away from the computer, otherwise I'd say save your money. Often there are over 100 example sentences for a term I look up, entire verb conjugation breakdowns, compound lookup, etc. It is an extremely useful tool once you really start digging in. The multi-radical lookup method is great for finding those not-so-rare kanji where the radical isn't what you think.

But a starter j/e e/j dictionary is still useful for the usage rules but all starter dictionaries often are missing every other term I need to look up it feels like sometimes. I prefer the usage notes and example sentences and layout of the Oxford Starter Japanese Dictionary.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby ebo123 » Sat 10.15.2005 5:14 pm

~Basic Connections: Making Your Japanese Flow (Kodansha's Children's Classics)
~Essential Kanji : 2,000 Basic Japanese Characters Systematically Arranged For Paperback
~Japanese Step by Step : An Innovative Approach to Speaking and Reading Japanese - Gene Nishi; Paperback

Here is a list of books I plan to buy. One textbook, One Kanji Dictionary, and one Grammar book/sentence structure<--(which I think is important). I feel that I should have this book as a Grammar supplement, bucause with out understanding the grammar, I will not understand the language. If you can give me suggestions on other Grammar books, that would be great.

Suggestions/comments welcome.

Thanks:)
Last edited by ebo123 on Sat 10.15.2005 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby sampaguita » Mon 10.17.2005 10:31 pm

If you're thinking about taking the JLPT, I recommend Minna no Nihongo. If you want to know how to converse naturally, use Japanese for Everyone (but this is not a very good reference if you want a systematic approach to the JLPT).

Dictionary? I use Random House English-Japanese Japanese-English Dictionary, though I heard that Kodansha is better. There are free dictionaries in the net, but it's better to have a paper dictionary as well.

Kanji Book? I forgot the name of my Kanji book...
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby nprz » Mon 10.17.2005 11:24 pm

I have "An integrated approach to Intermediate Japanese" as my regular textbook. It has quizzes, grammar explainations, word lists, essays and dialogues in it. It is a pretty good book for overall learning. It lacks in any extra explaination about the kanji though. It just uses them in words and the back has reference to which chapter they were first used.

For kanji books, I have Intermediate Kanji Book vol 1 & 2 (by Bonjisha Co.) It has a lot of information in them and would probably prepare you for JLPT #2 when finishing vol 2, but I can't say for sure because I haven't looked at the list of kanji for JLPT#2.

For dictionary, I rely a lot on Jim Breen's wwwjdic. It has more words that most dictionaries I find. A lot of other programs use that file as well such as rikai.com's generator. The program I'm making uses it as well. I would almost say if you have a few hundred dollars to spare to buy an electronic one because it is more convenient to carry around. But I'm hoping PDAs will be able to usable for this.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby Infidel » Mon 10.17.2005 11:45 pm

I ended up with Introduction to Modern Japanese Grammar. It is hands down the best course for developing literacy at the best pace. Unfortunatly, it has no sound files so it is not the best integrated course. I'm happy enough using J-tv and Vocabulearn for pronouncian drills etc though.

Now if only I could eliminate the lulls where I don't study like I should.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby Kates » Tue 10.18.2005 7:06 am

I too own the IMJ book and like it pretty much.

For REAL textbooks... ones used in college classes (and maybe high school), the two main ones in America are:
Youkoso! (ようこそ!(=Welcome)) ISBN: 0070723362
Nakama (仲間 (=Partner)) ISBN: 0669275859
Both texts have workbooks and tapes/CDs, and cover ALL areas of study. If you have a college nearby, you can stop in the bookstore and see which text is available there. If not, or you'd rather not, I found both books (and their volume 2s and workbooks) at:
http://www.bestbookdeal.com

And Minna no Nihongo / Japanese for Everyone is good as well. I didn't find the RIGHT book at http://www.bestbookdeal.com, but they have some other "Japanese for Everyone"s that I'm not familiar with. I got better-sounding results at http://www.amazon.com, but no images, so I won't say I'm 100% there.

As for dictionaries, I have the E->J and J->E Kenkyusha dictionaries and love them. Each cost me about $30 though. If you're willing to put out the bucks, a paper dictionary is MUCH better than an online (you'll get more detailed info, as well as sentence/use examples with entries). If you just have to go dictionary shopping, here are some rules to follow: (1) Get one WITHOUT romaji. (2) Look up a swear word; if it's there, then you'll know it's a good (thourough) dictionary.

And if you are REALLY serious, I'd suggest an electronic dictionary. However, most are designed for Japanese speakers learning English, so they aren't very Japanese-beginner-user-friendly. Perhaps it's something to keep in mind. My Canon G50 has 6 different dictionaries in it: E->J, J->E, J->J, E->E, kanji, katakana, and a thesarus. All in a slim little package. <3
Last edited by Kates on Tue 10.18.2005 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby Infidel » Tue 10.18.2005 7:39 am

Kates wrote:
I too own the IMJ book and like it pretty much.

For REAL textbooks... ones used in college classes (and maybe high school), the two main ones in America are:



IMJ is a REAL textbook. :P You have to get it from the Cambridge University Press.


As for dictionaries, I have the E->J and J->E Kenkyusha dictionaries and love them. Each cost me about $30 though. If you're willing to put out the bucks, a paper dictionary is MUCH better than an online (you'll get more detailed info, as well as sentence/use examples with entries).


Gotta disagree with you there.

Not only does Jim Breen's Jdic give sentence examples, It gives a lot!
Genki has 260 example sentences just as an example. There are animated stroke diagrams, for all the Kanji in Kodansha's Kanji Learner's Dictionary (courtesy of Jack Halpern the Main Editor for KKLD), automatic verb conjugation charts, multiradical lookup. The only use for a paper dictionary is if your computer is down or you expect to be away from your computer because looking stuff up by computer is faster.

When doing a look-up. Click EX for example sentences. Usually it lists 10 at random and below provides the option to view the entire sample sentence list which often is in the hundreds. Here is one of the over 500 example sentences for 彼

自分の部屋を整頓してから、彼は出て行った。 [T]
Having put his room in order, he went out.

Click on the radio button by a kanji and select examine selected kanji, the next page breaks down the kanji and links the stroke order display and character database for really detailed character information including all the compounds it is in.

wwwjdic is pretty definitive.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby Teron » Tue 10.18.2005 1:27 pm

ishnar wrote:
Kates wrote:
As for dictionaries, I have the E->J and J->E Kenkyusha dictionaries and love them. Each cost me about $30 though. If you're willing to put out the bucks, a paper dictionary is MUCH better than an online (you'll get more detailed info, as well as sentence/use examples with entries).


Gotta disagree with you there.

Not only does Jim Breen's Jdic give sentence examples, It gives a lot!
Genki has 260 example sentences just as an example. There are animated stroke diagrams, for all the Kanji in Kodansha's Kanji Learner's Dictionary (courtesy of Jack Halpern the Main Editor for KKLD), automatic verb conjugation charts, multiradical lookup. The only use for a paper dictionary is if your computer is down or you expect to be away from your computer because looking stuff up by computer is faster.

....

wwwjdic is pretty definitive.


And from what I understand, the dictionary lists that are used for the wwwjdic are also provided in edict format for download, so you can keep an offline copy on your computer, or even better on a PDA so that you can take it with you (and it's not as heavy as a paper dictionary)
Last edited by Teron on Tue 10.18.2005 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby tsp_uk » Tue 10.18.2005 1:45 pm

Hi, is "Japanese for everyone" a good recommendation? Of all books recommended in this thread, it seems like this book is the best value for me. But could someone tell me what exactly they teach you in this book? sampaguita said it's not a very good reference, could you or somebody tell me why not?

Thanks for your replies.
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 10.19.2005 5:04 pm

wwwjdic is an invaluable resource, but it's pretty worthless as an e-j dictionary because of the sheer number of results a search can bring up. plus, the internet is not always so convenient. i can't take the wwwjdic to my japanese class, for example. so, a paper dictionary has its advantages and its shortcomings like anything else. but if i had the money (and i don't), i would buy a denshi jisho. my favorite picture from my trip to japan is actually a picture of my friend driving her car while looking something up on her denshi jisho - and i was probably shouting "abunai!" at the time too - but it says it all.
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby Infidel » Wed 10.19.2005 7:33 pm

rofl
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby yuugen » Wed 10.19.2005 8:37 pm

My school used Nakama, the "An Integrated approach to Intermediate Japanese", and now a nice variety of made in japan books...I definitely second the suggestions for the Kodansha dictionaries, they are my best friends :0)
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RE: Choice of Text Books

Postby WacKostRacKo » Wed 10.19.2005 8:44 pm

ive used 'minna no nihongo' for nearly a year after changing from 'japanese for busy people'. I certainly think that 'minna..' is better but i think it is designed for class room usage. There is no romanji (good for me!) but that can be bad for beginners who are working on there own. It doesnt allow people to check their pronounciation.

Perhaps a core text book, with various other books and sound files to practise listening, reading, speaking and writing all together. A combination rather than just the one type would be good i think!:p
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How about:

外人: これはすしです。すしが好きです。
日本人: おお!日本語が上手ですね。
外人: Erm....what?


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