Best textbooks for home learning?

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?
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Re: Best textbooks for home learning?

Post by Dustin » Mon 07.21.2008 12:55 am

I just recieved Japanese for Everyone from ThaJapanShop a couple weeks ago and I am extremely impressed with what it has had to offer. It has a lot of information, many examples to make grasping concepts as straight-forward as possible.
The price offered a lot of value as well, I wish I had the supplemental audio as well, if anyone can locate it, let us know!

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Re: Best textbooks for home learning?

Post by furrykef » Mon 07.21.2008 5:26 pm

SKushner wrote:The only problem with Japanese for Everyone is that I can't seem to locate the supplementary audio material.
Nobody can... not for a decent price. You have to pay roughly $100 to get a copy in the U.S., which I think is absolutely ridiculous. Especially considering that they're not even CDs, but tapes! Me, I, um, "borrowed" the tapes from the Great Library of the Internet. I obviously can't tell you where, but they're not that hard to find if you know where to look. *shakes his head* There's no excuse for it. What were the publishers thinking?

- Kef
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Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)

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Re: Best textbooks for home learning?

Post by sushi4ever » Mon 07.21.2008 6:09 pm

hm, so, i'm working with the genki series and i'm very satisfied with it, it has lots of review and practices, so it's cool for home study.

but i'm thinking about getting Japanese for Everyone as well, just as a supplemental book since it's so cheap. but we'll see. audio would be nice though...
my japanese learning blog:

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Re: Best textbooks for home learning?

Post by Pork Chop » Thu 07.24.2008 1:51 pm

Had a couple years of Japanese in high school while living on base in Okinawa- we used a book series I haven't seen since: 今から日本語
Graduated high school in 95, and started University the same year.
University classes used Japanese the Spoken Language & Japanese the Written language.
Kept up the conversational Japanese ever since; but really started studying seriously again at the end of 2006.
For the most part I largely ignored kanji, only ever picked up 2 or 300 hundred.

I was taking classes through the DFW Japanese Association, which uses Japanese for Busy People for a lot of their courses. I ran out and bought all 3 text books, plus the later 2 workbooks.
I blew through JBP 1 in under 2 hours.
The second one was pretty easy, but I had slowdowns with the kanji and the vocabulary.
The kanji slowdown was mostly due to my history of being proud of being illiterate. :p
The vocabulary slowdown was my main beef with the book- and that is the topic of most of the lessons.
So much of it is stuff like "regional office", "company president", and other business terms; I had a really hard time caring enough about it to remember it.
Even the stuff that was a little more applicable - like leaving your umbrella in the train station & having to pick it up from the lost and found; wasn't even that applicable to me given that I usually visit Okinawa - which has no train stations.

Later I transferred to the Japanese Society of Fort Worth, which uses Japanese For Everyone for a lot of their beginner and intermediate classes. JFE looked a lot more reasonable as far as the lesson topics. I wish I'd saved the JBP money and spent it on JFE instead. In the advanced level we used a text book from Japan.

All that being said, I don't go the single text book route anymore.

For kanji it's:
Beginning Kanji Volumes 1 & 2, followed by Kanji in Context 1 & 2.
I also have kanji games that I do concurrently:
Tadashii Kanji Kakitori Kun, 250 mannin no kanken, and another game i picked up in Japan.
Oh yah, I also do the kanji-a-day calenders.
Between the 3 sources I get a lot of repetition, which helps me memorize.

For grammar:
I use the Unicom JLPT study guides.
Currently working my way through 3級 and am about half way.
I have almost all of the pocket-sized books from Kodansha, especially Making Sense of Japanese, which I've gotten a lot from & try to read periodically.
For reference, I use Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar books.
Plus, Tae Kim's Grammar site.

For listening:
I primarily use Japanese pod 101 and the audio from all the text books & graded readers I've picked up over the years.
There's also music, movies, and interaction with friends on a regular basis.

For reading comprehension & translation:
Graded readers from thejapanshop site, trying to break into novels (Yoshimoto Banana), and my friends' mixi blogs.

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Re: Best textbooks for home learning?

Post by NuSix3 » Sun 10.05.2008 10:00 pm

Hey people, first post so let me just throw in the off-topic thanks to everyone who has been contributing to this site cause I've been hitting it for awhile now and even though my knowledge in Japanese is still limited the forums and exercises have helped me alot. Now that I've said that...

For a little while now I've been using genki 1 as my main guide for self study. I've sampled alot of other text books and I'd have to agree that it is the best but it has issues that all textbooks have. (Forgive me, I'm about to get really picky here but that's my style) For example, it breaks up vocabulary words that should probably be learned together. Like days of the week for example, you learn saturday and sunday and then a chapter later learn the business days. Granted, it's not all that difficult to throw your own vocab list together correcting some of these issues, but it's time spent away from progressing in the book just to reorganize things (and there is already enough of that).

And then there is what I like to call "half true" facts that drive me completely insane - like right now I was doing an exercise and was looking at the verb 雨が降る, this was given to me as a single vocabulary word with the translation "it rains". Clearly this is not a single word but a noun, a particle and a verb (that may or may not be able to be used alone, I don't know yet), but nothing pointing that out. May not seem like a big deal, but what if I wanted to say something like it's raining hard or it's raining lightly, it's going to rain soon...etc.? If I went strictly from what I know from the genki series I'd end up attaching the adverb or adjective before 雨 and now I don't know if that is right (I'm not really asking, but feel free to let me know :P). That and why not just tell me what 降る is and get it over with? Anyways, there are other things like 背が高い being given as the adjective for tall, which is probably right but again there is more going on in that adjective than just a tall body. The fact that they both use the が particle really bugs me because what if I'm writing a sentence that already makes use of が? Can I use two in a sentence?

I'm really unsure if genki expects me to know what's going on here or if there is more to learn later. I don't expect genki to be the all in one answer for everything, this is exactly the type of thing I would have end up asking a teacher if I was sitting in a class but I don't have that option. These may seem like really small, or even stupid questions to anyone with more Japanese language know how, but that's just how the learning process goes - everyone has there own silly questions and hang ups so I'm not totally ashamed to be blurting this out.

4 Paragraphs later let me get to the point, is there a grammar book that goes into alot more detail about these things? I really feel like the main hang up of genki is that it builds a mildly weak foundation of the language. It does the job of giving me good basic grammar practice, words and kanji but doesn't fill in the tiny holes. When it comes to self study, these kinds of things are really important since I have no one to ask and get an immediate response from.


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Re: Best textbooks for home learning?

Post by Myuka » Mon 10.06.2008 2:16 am

Well when I was in Japan I had a lot of success with Kumon. It's expensive but, it's pretty good and you learn very quickly. Plus you take a placement test so you don't have to keep going over the same stuff(like I do everytime I start a new textbook). It's worth it if you have the money.

I like Ima right now. They do tell you to do a lot with your class but, I never do and I'm still learning okay. The workbook offers a lot of excercises and practices so it's good.

I have Nakama as well, that offers a lot of good explinations and is also a really good textbook. The only problem is once again the classroom assignments and the fact that I don't have the workbook or the audio(my japanese teacher at school is always giving her textbooks away since we use youkoso(or did when I was in her class). She gave me ima to).

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