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Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

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

Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby Breakingchina » Thu 06.10.2010 11:23 am

Hello, I'm new here and I would like your advice on which textbook to buy :)
I am 16 so I'm quite young but I've memorised the hiragana and i'm looking for a textbook which will help give structure to my self study.
I have looked at Genki I and am finding it hard to follow and more suitable for classroom work.
Should I stick with Genki or are there other books that you find useful,
Thanks in advance!

x
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby phreadom » Thu 06.10.2010 11:44 am

I've used Genki I and found it easier to follow than for instance my Japanese For Everyone book... is there any particular part of Genki that is giving you trouble?

Genki: http://www.thejapanshop.com/home.php?cat=270
Japanese For Everyone: http://www.thejapanshop.com/product.php ... 307&page=1

I think one thing that is very helpful, even required, for both of these books is to learn the kana right away. :)
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby shivles » Fri 06.18.2010 4:01 am

I'd get a couple of different books if you can afford it because I find there is some variation between them and its good to know as many ways to say one thing as possible! Also something that is written in hiragana to develop reading skills. I bought one that isn't in hiragana and its a pain to read in romaji and write my notes/exercises in hiragana :)
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby Miaow » Sat 06.19.2010 8:27 pm

Breakingchina wrote:Hello, I'm new here and I would like your advice on which textbook to buy :)
I am 16 so I'm quite young but I've memorised the hiragana and i'm looking for a textbook which will help give structure to my self study.
I have looked at Genki I and am finding it hard to follow and more suitable for classroom work.
Should I stick with Genki or are there other books that you find useful,
Thanks in advance!

x


First, learn katakana too! :D

Have you bought Genki yet, or just have checked it out of a library or borrowed it? If you bought it, I'd stick with it. As Phreadom said, you can ask questions here as you progress through Genki. It's a popular series, and I am guessing a lot of people on these forums could help you out when you get stuck!

That being said....

If you haven't bought Genki yet, I'd take a look at "Elementary Japanese" http://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Japanese-Vol-Yoko-Hasegawa/dp/0804835047/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276992052&sr=8-1by Yoko Hasegawa. I'm a self-study student of Japanese, and it's the text I'm currently using and I really like it. There are some sections that mention having a dialogue with a partner, but I just write the exercises and "play" both roles. I'm more interested in reading and writing, than speaking.

There are two volumes in the series, as well as a teacher's manual, which has all the answers to the exercises in the main texts. The dialogues revolve around students, which, for me, is more interesting than business-oriented dialogues.

The biggest issue I have with "Elementary Japanese" is that's it's pricy, but so much cheaper on Amazon than at brick-and-mortar bookstores. The way I'd do this at 16, before I had debit/credit cards, was that I'd give my parents the cash, and they'd buy the items online with their credit card.

Both main texts of "Elementary Japanese" come with CDs, which have all of the dialogues plus some other neat materials, such as the listening exercise worksheets and a table of all of the joyo kanji, and which ones are covered, along with the lesson they are first introduced, readings, and other info.

The kanji are introduced gradually, and the book assumes you know hiragana and katakana from the start. The book teaches 300+ kanji throughout both volumes. The grammar explanations are good.

If you are interested in manga, another series I really like is the "Japanese in Mangaland" series: https://www.thejapanshop.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1&keep_https=yes by Marc Bernabe. It's completely geared to self-study. There are three main texts, a workbook for the first volume, and two kanji books currently out. (I sooo wish they'd come out with workbooks for the second and third volumes!!) It also has good grammar explainations, and in the second and third volumes, no romaji is used. This series is much cheaper than "Elementary Japanese".

"Japanese the Manga Way" http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Manga-Way-Illustrated-Structure/dp/1880656906/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276992176&sr=8-1 and Mangajin's "Basic Japanese through Comics" https://www.thejapanshop.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1&keep_https=yes are really fun supplements, if you like manga! I consider these supplements, because there are no exercises. It's fun to dip into these books to read another take on a grammar point in "Elementary Japanese".

So, in short, (I got long-winded there!), I recommend "Elementary Japanese" and/or "Japanese in Mangaland" as main texts. ^_^ I can't comment on Genki, as I have never used it.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby 1mist1 » Sun 06.20.2010 12:43 am

I'm 15 and i started with Japanese for dummies it has no Japanese characters but it explains a lot things in an understandable manner, then i got a good gammar book to that explains things in more depth, then i just moved on to using internet resources like smart.fm and livemocha.com and other free resources. i don't know if that helped. but i hope it did.
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby DLizz » Wed 07.21.2010 11:49 am

Hey, I'm 13 (yeah, that young) and I've been doing a self-study since I turned about 13 1/2 in April. What's working best for me right now is using Human Japanese and Live mocha. Also, what seems to be helping me with speaking is to watch things like plays/musicals/etc. that are subbed.

Textbook-wise? :think:

Stick with Genki
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby The Lady Ashuko » Wed 07.21.2010 2:52 pm

I swear by Minna no Nihongo (you can get them all on thejapanshop.com). It was the textbook they used in Japan for our city's weekly Japanese class. Many people don't like that it's divided into specialized books (main textbook, grammar explanation, reading topics, workbook, grammar workbook, kanji) but I like it better because I find it more organized and easier for me to sift through. All you really need is the main textbook (which is written in only Japanese) and the grammar notes and translation book (in whatever language you need), then pick and choose which workbooks you want, if any. I dislike their kanji book however. But you can see my post a few threads down on kanji study.
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby phreadom » Wed 07.21.2010 3:56 pm

People can take this as an opportunity to check out the new and improved TheJapanShop.com as well! Clay just launched it around 2 days ago. :mrgreen:

http://www.thejapanshop.com/s?searchKey ... ion=submit

Please let him know if you have any trouble with it, or any comments on the new layout etc. Thanks!
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby SakeIt2Me » Wed 07.21.2010 7:52 pm

I'm also a complete beginner...I'm thinking the Genki Elementary Textbooks look good from all the reviews, but I'm confused (happens easily). Can I get by with just the textbook, or do I need to buy the workbook and CD as well? What's absolutely necessary (I'm quite broke and feeling stingy, you see)?

I like the fact that Genki only has romaji in the first part. From what I gather this is not the case with the other texts, (but that's only because I haven't found information on that).

So, advice/information? Thanks!
Domo arigato. (?)

EDIT: Oh, I'm sorry I thought "Elementary Japanese" was the same text as "Genki Elementary Japanese". Still wondering about the necessary Genki items though.

EDIT 2: I apologize again!! After a more thorough search I found this thread:
http://thejapanesepage.com/forum/viewto ... e&start=15
Since the book Elementary Japanese comes with the CDs, for much less cost, I think that's the way I'll go once done learning the kana thoroughly. I'll be self-studying all the way so this seems more cost effective.
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby OlgaD » Thu 07.22.2010 2:39 pm

Well... For me GENKI is great, but I think that learning from many books and sites is better because every book has it's defects.
I love Shokyuu Nihongo Bonjinsha but it's quite hard to get.
Genki - great book.
Minna no Nihongo - also fantastic.
I also use The Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar - it's a great support.
Try studying Kanji from Bonjinsha's books. Very helpful :) :D
And don't forget about UNICOM (preparatory courses for JLPT)
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby creativity » Thu 08.05.2010 4:36 pm

Hey there! I've been interested in Japan since I was about 11 (now almost 19) and was lucky enough to find a stash of second hand kanji learning books at a car boot sale, and was able to buy each book for only 50p-£2! I've been picking up random japanese-related second hand books whenever I can since then, and found it was much more satisfying than actually buying them new, especially since some of them i've never used.

My favourite ones I picked up were 'Basic Kanji Book 1&2' (I have quite an old version, possibly from 1989?!) but it's perfect for starting to learn kanji, and practising your hiragana and katakana. Each book teaches you about 500 kanji, by chapters of about 10 kanji each. After each chapter you have exercises to practice reading kanji and kana. It sets a really good pace and it's fun to use. I suggest you master your kana before kanji though, and learn a few basic words.

There were some other books but I can't remember the name right now. I'll update later. But anyway, try and buy second hand as much as possible. Look in charity shops and stuff. Often you buy books with good reviews but when you come to using it yourself, it's really not helpful and you've just wasted £20. Be especially careful of CDs and audiotapes.
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby Miaow » Fri 09.24.2010 5:30 pm

The Lady Ashuko wrote:I swear by Minna no Nihongo (you can get them all on thejapanshop.com). It was the textbook they used in Japan for our city's weekly Japanese class. Many people don't like that it's divided into specialized books (main textbook, grammar explanation, reading topics, workbook, grammar workbook, kanji)
<snip>
I dislike their kanji book however.


I'm curious about what you don't like about the Minna no Nihongo Kanji Book.

I don't have Minna no Nihongo, but I've been curious about this series for some time.
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby The Lady Ashuko » Sat 09.25.2010 6:03 am

I just felt it was not direct enough. All I really want from a kanji book is that it show mean the meaning, readings, and handwritten version (not in romaji) but I felt that I was forced to look too hard for the meanings.

If you ever are in the need for a good intermediate kanji book (and they are harder to find than beginner, believe me), just ask. I have found a wonderful one, though I don't know what online stores have it and its accompanying textbook.
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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby Zvono11 » Fri 03.18.2011 8:54 am

What about the following textbook: "Japanese for Young People 1,2,3" each book has workbook also. I got Japanese for Young people 2 years ago.. I would recommend that book to all beginners...recently I've got Genki 1 (both textbook and workbook)... I think that those two books are quite similar and that both are enough good to start learning Japanese......




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Re: Beginner Japanese Textbook help!

Postby sei » Fri 03.18.2011 2:40 pm

I would not recommend Japanese for Young People, specially considering the OP's age. I also don't consider it a good self-study book at all. It's probably very good for classroom use, but the complete lack of grammar explanations, and the difficulty in figuring out what the exercises want you to do, makes it hard for a self-study person to learn from it.

I recommend either Genki or Japanese for Everyone, though the latter does move at a faster pace so you have to make sure you can deal with that amount of information. Genki is slower and has longer explanations, with plenty of exercises to drill you.
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