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The book features not only a sleek, new design but also a unit structure that groups thematically linked lessons together, making it easier than ever to learn Japanese.
Moreover, it now comes with a CD containing audio for the dialogues and listening exercises from the text. The exercises in the book have also been thoroughly revised to incorporate more comprehension and production tasks. Many of these exercises are illustrated, making for a stimulating learning experience, and the purpose of each one is clearly stated.
This first of three volumes introduces "survival Japanese"-the absolute minimum amount of Japanese needed to live in Japan. Thus, the vocabulary and grammatical items it introduces are limited to about a third of what is typically introduced in a first-year course. In addition, the book features notes on Japanese culture intended to expand the learner's understanding of Japan, its customs and people.
Japanese for Busy People I is available in two formats: romanized and kana.
The Romanized Version uses romanized Japanese throughout, with kana in the Opening Dialogues of each lesson.
The Kana Version-exposing students to hiragana and katakana from the very beginning-uses only kana.The content of the two books is otherwise exactly the same.
The companion volume, Japanese for Busy People 1: The Workbook for the Revised 3rd Edition contains a variety of illustrated exercises for mastering the basic sentence patterns presented in the main text.
Posted April 23, 2009
This book aims to share the Japanese language in a systematic, but introductory, manner. It is aimed at beginners, and does a fair job in the reading/writing portion. The audio has a little more difficulty in keeping to a pace conducive for a beginning learner. The workbook relies heavily on drawings to identify relationships and aid in memory, which was helpful to me.
The book is a workbook, with space provided for writing answers, thus avoiding the need for another notebook. Though I usually am averse to writing in books - I felt quite comfortable and enjoyed the ability to drag this copy around without thinking I would need a book-bag to carry it and another notebook. However, the provided space is regularly not quite enough for the work to be done, causing some headache.
I did appreciate that this version is in kana. Though written Japanese is written with the addition of Kanji characters, making kana not as regular as this book might suggest to the uninitiated, I definitely appreciate the repetition that aids recognition. This workbook is offered in English, using transliteration; I would avoid that if this version is available.
This workbook is certainly not exhaustive. A few particles had yet to be covered, while many verb formations were never even touched on. Nouns receive treatment from start to finish. Both -i and -na adjectives were covered, but spread out over an extended portion of the text. Counters and numbers as well as calendar and time words are covered. Both sentence particles and clause particles are addressed, though I would say both depended greatly on examples and were not entirely clear on distinctions where a shared English preposition is used in translation (e.g. the distinction between the use of ?/? for "at" and the use of ?/?/? to express variation in the thrust of a sentence.
In most other Japanese books I've seen, verbs are divided up into many more patterns - based on the consonant in the final syllable. This book does not use that mechanism for distinguishing verbs, relying instead on a two pattern system with an additional category for the two irregular Japanese verbs. This made some of the descriptions on conjugation less than precise, and hard to follow and remember as a whole.
I really enjoyed it, but there were a number of issues (like the short amount of writing space) that sometimes made it difficult. The measure of a language book should probably relate to the proficiency of the reader at completion; I can say that I am much more comfortable with identifying katakana characters on sight (I was already fairly comfortable with hiragana). I haven't gotten any better in listening for comprehension or conversation. And as a final note, I feel that this book has made me hungry to learn and develop my Japanese more, to keep going rather than run screaming into the night.
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Posted May 17, 2007
If you're looking for a good book to learn Japanese language, you probably have too many choices flooding your mind and have no idea which one is for you, because every one of them seems good. So, why this one? This book is very well organized. It contains 11 units to cover the most practical topics surviving in Japan, such as meeting people, shopping, getting around, dinning out, visiting a japanese home, responding inquiries at office, and socializing, etc. Each unit is consist of a culture note, a specific grammar syntax and usage, and a couple of lessons. Each lesson starts with a short dialogue to illustrate the common conversation of the unit's topic. It also provides a detail explanation on the sentence usage and the new vocabulary introduced in the dialogue. Few exercises are followed to help readers to get familiarized and practice what they have just learned. An audio CD is also accompanied with this book to demonstrate the conversation addressed in each dialogues. At the end of the book, it comes with the Appendixes, which provides a summary of all the particles, sentence patterns, adjectives, etc. in a list with examples and reference to the book's units & lessons. In addition, it has a mini-dictionary with english to japanese and japanese to english. This book also makes use of a lot of pictures to illustrate dialogues and exercises. It really helps the reader to have a more relax and interesting learning journey. After finishing this book, you should be able to have the following skills: (i) basic usage of nouns, verbs, adjectives, (b) basic conversation for essential everyday siturations, and (c) reading and writing hiragana & katakana. Well, although there's a romanji version of this 'Japanese for Busy People I (Revised 3rd Edition)', I would still recommend the readers to get this 'Kana' version to learn the real Japanese in a Japanese character forms. If you do not know about the Japanese sound system, hiragana and katakana. You can pick up the 'Japanese for Busy People I: Kana Workbook', which is an excellent book for starters. After that, go for this 'Japanese for Busy People I: Kana Version'. Indeed, this is the best! (Reviewed by Otto Yuen, 17-May-2007)
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Posted October 13, 2010
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