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Is genki for beginners?

Discussions for those using the Genki Textbook series

Is genki for beginners?

Postby shivles » Sat 06.19.2010 5:54 am

After looking at contents of the book online it would seem like a very difficult book to begin learning from? It seems to be learning at a very fast pace! I do already have a text book, but Ive heard a lot of good things about Genki and was thinking of getting it. Should I work through my textbook first and then move on to Genki or could I do both at once?
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby TJack » Sat 06.19.2010 11:24 am

I have been using Genki for about a half of a year, and I think it's a great textbook. I don't really feel it goes fast, I think it goes at a nice and slow pace personally. And remember, you can go as fast or as slow as you want with it. The books and CDs come with a lot of material packed in it to help with all four necessary language skills: Listening, writing, reading and speaking.

If you already bought a textbook that you believe teaches Japanese well, then it's somewhat unnecessary to buy another textbook, although you could if you want. If the book you have is #1 series, you might be able to go to Genki II after you finish your textbook. Just check the table of contents of Genki II to make sure it's new material and check Genki's I table of contents to see if you learned all the grammar points, because Genki continually uses old grammar throughout the book

By the way, what textbook do you have?
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby shivles » Mon 06.21.2010 4:12 am

I have Japanese Language and People, but it doesn't do much writing at all which is why Im thinking of getting another that concentrates on it.
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby TJack » Mon 06.21.2010 2:10 pm

Then Genki would be a useful book to have. The first two chapters focus on the Hiragana and Katakana scripts, while chapter 3 and up add roughly 12 Kanjis per chapter. The exercises focus both on reading and writing, so an example of what you might do is read a friend's letter and write out a paragraph or so replying back to them. Also, the main exercises have you write out sentences answering questions related to the grammar points of the chapter.
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby Figurethree » Mon 06.21.2010 2:30 pm

I think the "writing" issue you'll find with pretty much any textbook. Most of them do introduce writing prompts, but it's assumed that there's a teacher along with the book to grade and help you with them :( I'd suggest what the previous poster did along with one extra thing: Write a reply or something based off the prompt and chapter grammar/kanji, then post it on lang-8.com and have some native speakers correct it and help you along :) You could also post the answers you write up for the example sentences and get some corrections. It's a pretty spiffy website, all in all, and as long as you don't post a huge essay or something on it, you'll get lots of corrections really quickly. The majority of the people using the website seem to be native Japanese learning English :D
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby Musiflare » Wed 06.23.2010 12:46 pm

I personally think Genki is a great textbook. When I started self-teaching Japanese, after skipping around from a few random grammar and kanji dictionaries, I bought Genki and worked through the entirety of both of them, both the textbook and the workbook, all kanji and writing exercises. As far as textbooks are concerned, after a few experiences with non-Genki textbooks, I would have to say that it's one of the most comprehensive available to English speakers. However, it's important to keep in mind that you can't study Japanese with one resource alone. Looking at my bookshelf, it's filled with tons of different books--especially now that I'm going on exchange in the fall and I'm trying to make sure I'm absolutely prepared when I go.

In summary, Genki is a good foundation textbook, but you should also use other resources to cover all your bases.
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby Zvono11 » Fri 03.18.2011 1:47 pm

In my opinion, Genki is a great book, and it's also suitable to beginners. I used to learn from a book called Japanese for Young People. After I had done all exercices in that book, I decided to get Genki and I must say that Genki is a way better :)
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby alinavera » Mon 08.01.2011 3:08 am

Hi,
I'm new with learning Japanese. I've been at it for a few months and so far I've used a Romanian-Japanese workbook which focuses on the writing of the Hiragana and Katakana characters (and simple words that are formed by the characters learned), and truthfully it's been going pretty slow.
As I said I've been at it for a couple of months and I've learned 25 characters and 30 words so far. But I can write them without blinking because I practiced them so much.

So I bought the Genki book and workbook because I read the great reviews about it. I was really looking forward to start using it this weekend but when I opened it I was put off a little by how quickly it goes from the lesson on Hiragana and Katakana to more (dare I say) complex lesson with greetings and such.
I was going to postpone learning from the Genki book, but I tried using both of them and it works really well. I can focus on writing the characters correctly from the Romanian book (feels like learning my abc all over again) but I learn more words and phrases from the Genki book (so I won't get bored with just writing practice).

But as a first opinion of the Genki book is that you need at least the basics characters memorized so you can start using it. But then again I'm still a newbie and of course it would seem harder for me.
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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby phreadom » Mon 08.01.2011 1:21 pm

The first two chapters include romaji. You're supposed to learn the kana while you work your way through those first 2 chapters (of a 12 chapter textbook).

(I'm basing this on my Genki I first edition copy) :)

That's 24 pages of introduction material, and 53 pages of actual textbook material to work through while you're memorizing how to read the kana. :colonthree:

It's important to learn to read the kana soon (in my opinion) because it allows you to be able to read more actual Japanese material and doesn't limit you to stuff that's been rewritten in romaji. Plus it gets you used to recognizing the kana in use, as well as reminding you that you're not reading English (or Romanian), and so should pronounce things in their correct Japanese pronunciations etc.

I think it helped for me that I had already used drilling programs to memorize the kana before I started Genki, so for me it was actually a hindrance to have the romaji there because my eyes were always drawn to the roman characters instead of the kana... so I felt like I was being "lazy" and had to force myself to try to focus only on the kana. So I was happy when they finally went away. ;)

Now for instance if we look at my other textbook, Japanese For Everyone, that one is even harder and only shows the romaji pronunciation in the vocabulary sections and uses only kana for all the actual exercises right from the very beginning. And even the romaji for the vocab sections ends after lesson 5. Then it's all kana for all the vocab. So you're really expected to already know the kana before you even pick up the book. (And since the book is 27 lessons long.. that's kind of early... by page 81 you need to know the kana and can't even refer back to the vocab sections... and mind you that kanji are slowly introduced as you go along as well...)

I can't stress enough how much easier it will be once you get them memorized and start reading them regularly. You will quickly pick up your speed until you're reading them almost as fast as you could read any other unfamiliar text in your own language.

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Re: Is genki for beginners?

Postby vonessa » Sat 10.27.2012 1:00 am

Yes it is for beginners. I think it's pretty good so far. Of course you will want to be using other material as well. Develop a solid base in the language by going through a variety of beginner material, as no one approach is the same, and it's best to establish a strong core before going on to more advanced stuff.
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