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Good Reading Material?

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

Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby スーゼン » Sat 10.17.2009 5:13 am

Hi!

I'm going to drag up this thread. I have a question about HP and this seems to be the right place to put it (?).

What would you say is the number of kanji required to read something like HP -- without -- having to struggle through with a dictionary?

The reason I ask is that I've promised myself a book once I finish both kanji workbooks from "CosCom Language Service" 2000+ kanji (JLPT 2級) I've also seen all the JLPT2 grammar. (I haven't "mastered" the grammar, but it's familiar.)

Would 2,000 be sufficient to read one of the books?
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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby JaySee » Sat 10.17.2009 7:03 am

Your question is probably not the right one to ask. You might know the readings and 'basic meanings' of all the Joyo Kanji, but that doesn't mean you will know all the words (compunds) these kanji are used in. It's a bit like asking how many letters of the alphabet you'd need to know to read a novel in English (well, I guess that comparison might not be completely valid... but still). A better question would be whether or not your vocabulary is big enough.

I think that if your Japanese is good enough to pass JLPT2 though, there's nothing wrong with trying to read a book written in Japanese. I don't think you'll have many problems with the grammar that is used in the HP books, but as for how often you'll be using a dictionary, that depends on your vocabulary.
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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby Fillanzea » Sat 10.17.2009 7:45 am

Agree with JaySee that even if you know 2000 kanji you'll still have to look compounds up in the dictionary. But with my own reading, it made a big difference when I stopped having to look the kanji up in a kanji dictionary and then try to guess the reading of the compound and look the compound up in the dictionary. So, do you know the on and kun readings of the kanji that you know? That would give you a pretty good head start.

It's been years since I paged through one of the Japanese HP books, and I haven't tried to read any of them--but I do remember the vocabulary as being pretty advanced.

If you like fantasy books, can I suggest 獣の奏者 by Uehashi Nahoko? I have the Aotori edition -- they're a children's publisher, but I'm not sure if their edition has more furigana than the other editions. I found it quite easy to read and a good story, and there's a section with unfamiliar vocabulary related to beekeeping, but other than that, there's nothing much that's obscure. It's about a village where dragons are tamed and kept as war beasts. The main character's mother is in charge of caring for the dragons, but one of them dies under her care, and she's sentenced to death.
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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby furrykef » Sat 10.17.2009 8:03 am

Fillanzea wrote:But with my own reading, it made a big difference when I stopped having to look the kanji up in a kanji dictionary and then try to guess the reading of the compound and look the compound up in the dictionary. So, do you know the on and kun readings of the kanji that you know? That would give you a pretty good head start.


Compounds shouldn't be a problem to look up using a computer or electronic dictionary. I have never needed a kanji dictionary just to look up a compound word.

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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby Fillanzea » Sat 10.17.2009 9:41 am

Yeah, I'm looking back to the days before I had Japanese input on my computer, never mind any electronic dictionary -- but if you don't know the reading, don't you have to use stylus input or radical lookup to look up the kanji? (well, unless it's an electronic text). It's a two-step process; it's a little slower.
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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby スーゼン » Sat 10.17.2009 12:26 pm

JaySee wrote: A better question would be whether or not your vocabulary is big enough.


I see your point, JaySee (and Fillanzea). I hadn't really thought of that.

Well, I guess the worst thing that could happen is that I have to put it away for half a year. I've read the English (it's been a while), and I've started reading it in French to help boost my aquisition in that language. I'm already familiar with the content and I'm kinda anxious to see what it's like in Japanese.

Nights are getting colder, longer -- I dunno, I guess I have the urge to read something :mrgreen:
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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby furrykef » Sat 10.17.2009 6:06 pm

Fillanzea wrote:but if you don't know the reading, don't you have to use stylus input or radical lookup to look up the kanji? (well, unless it's an electronic text). It's a two-step process; it's a little slower.


Well, you can use the IME pad with a mouse. I find it reasonably fast if you have a basic understanding of stroke order (which I do). In fact, about a year ago I was trying to dump the text to The Legend of Zelda: Kamigami no Triforce, which has 256 kanji in its ROM, and to do this I had to compile a list of all those 256 kanji into a text file. I entered nearly every single one of them using the IME pad (though I did use a Wacom tablet rather than the mouse), even though I didn't even know most of those kanji other than their Heisig keywords and their stroke order. I didn't find it to be too much trouble.

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Re: Good Reading Material?

Postby スーゼン » Sat 11.07.2009 11:05 am

Luckily I don't have to do that with the Harry Potter book that I got. I had no idea that it would have furigana -- WOO-HOO 8)

I assume that the reason that it's in furigana is because it's targeted for younger readers.

As a matter of fact, I'm hoping I can find another book like this! I'm still reading the first HP, but I'm setting my sights on my next project. What do you guys think of 魔法使いハウルと火の悪魔―ハウルの動く城 "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diane Wynne Jones? This book is just as available as the HP Series in Japanese because of the success of the 宮崎駿 film.

(I think) I read in one of the customer reviews at Amazon.jp that this book is for "middle school-age kids". If so, then the chances are good it will have furigana -- right? :?
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