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Japanese For Dummies [Paperback]

Eriko Sato
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 7 2002 For Dummies (Lifestyles Paperback)
Japanese is a wonderful language, very different from European languages. It is also the gateway to the rich culture of the exciting and complex island nation of Japan. Some people get intimidated by the prospect of speaking Japanese—worried that it’s just too complex and different—but these fears are unfounded. While you can devote a lifetime to the study of this or any language, picking up the basics of Japanese doesn’t require any more than an interest and a willingness to try something new.

Japanese For Dummies has everything you need to get off the ground with speaking the language. Author and Professor of Japanese Eriko Sato starts you off with the essentials of grammar and pronunciation, giving you a working sense of the language, before showing you Japanese in action. You’ll then explore vocabulary and expressions through dialogues taking place in situations such as:

  • Introductions and greetings
  • Eating and drink ing
  • Shopping
  • Exploring the town
  • Talking on the telephone
  • Asking directions
  • Getting around
  • Staying at a hotel

You’ll also discover social customs, formalities, and manners, from how and when to bow to how to unwrap a present. Whether you simply want to introduce yourself to the Japanese language, say a few words to a neighbor or coworker, or you’re planning a major trip or study abroad in Japan, Japanese For Dummies will enable you to get the basics fast and work towards your own goal at your own pace. You’ll also find out about:

  • How to use karaoke to help you learn Japanese
  • Movies that will introduce you to Japanese culture and language
  • Learning Japanese the “gourmet” way
  • When ignoring “no, thank you” shows good manners
  • Proper table manners
  • Proper body language
  • How to sound fluent
  • And much more!

With helpful vocabulary summaries, a mini-dictionary at the end, and an audio CD full of conversations and pronunciations, Japanese For Dummies assumes no prior knowledge of Japanese on your part—providing the perfect guide for a quick-but-thorough, lighthearted-but-not-lightweight introduction to the language.

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Speak Japanese – the fun and easy way!

Packed with clear explanations and real-world examples

Your friendly guide to understanding Japanese – quickly and easily!

Whether you’re a student, a traveler, or you just want to pick up basic Japanese, this unintimidating guide will help you start speaking the language in no time. Inside you’ll find a wealth of fascinating cultural facts and handy references – including a Japanese-English mini-dictionary, lists of common expressions and verbs, and much more!

All this on the bonus audio CD

  • Pick up Japanese the easy way –through actual conversations
  • Features dialogues by native Japanese speakers
  • Allows you to hear Japanese as it’s really spoken
  • Reinforces lessons from the book

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About the Author

Eriko Sato, PhD, is Professor of Japanese at State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. Sato is a native Japanese speaker experienced in teaching Japanese and in translation.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Won't Teach You Japanese Oct. 14 2003
Okay, let's be frank. The only way you ever learn to speak a language is through immersion in it. At least for a certain length of time, preferably a couple of hours every day, you need to speak, hear, read, and think that language. And you won't get that with this book.
Japanese never displaces English as the language of instruction. You see not one Japanese writing symbol. You get a few phrases, a few words, but very little idea how these words are used, and no real idea how to string them together into a sentence.
It's not a worthless book. If, like me, you've let your Japanese go and you need a refresher course, this book can be valuable. I'm already a little better than I was when I picked up the book. However, if you're a newcomer to the language, you best bet is to take a college course or get a Japanese friend to tutor you. Give this book a pass.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Japanese Language book I've bought yet... Sept. 23 2002
By A Customer
I am currently teaching English in Japan so I have lots of Japanese language books sitting on the shelf in my apartment. Japanese for Dummies is the only one of those books that I've actually looked at a second time. The book gets down to the nitty gritty of Japanese and explains the language in an easy and understandable way. Sato-san even gives important cultural information that explains when and why you use certain phrases in Japanese. I've been living in Japan for over a year and it wasn't until I started reading this book that I finally felt like I was understanding the usage of the language and have been a bit more confident talking to my co-workers at enkais and the drinking parties that follow. My book is competely full of highlighter and notes (something I rarely do so it truly must be a helpful book!)
Sadly I can't attest to how good the cd is because I've never taken it out of the book jacket since I constantly hear Japanese around me but if its anything like the book then it'd be quite good.
For people that are concerned about learning to read and write Japanese ... this book might not necessarily be for you - however, I taught myself to read and write hirigana and katakana over a weekend when I first got here and I've discovered that it didn't help me in the least bit getting around Japan as that would require knowing a decent amount of kanji characters which I've been picking up very slowly.
The layout of the book is great - introuduction followed by chapters that focus on a variety of things (like going shopping, inviting a friend to do something) each with new vocabulary, useful verbs (and their basic conjugations), set phrases and a practice dialogue. The back part of the book is a mini-dictionary that is suitable for this book but you would definitely need a better one if you have a more serious interest in Japanese (I can't help you with that since I've been searching for a better Japanese/English dictionary since I've arrived in Japan!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything but writing June 4 2002
I just recieved my copy of this book yesterday and I think that it's wonderful! It's difficult for me to learn on my own using a book, but like all the other Dummies books, everything was simple and I was able to understand it well.
I ordered this book mainly to get a laugh from it, not expecting to REALLY learn everything there is to know about Japanese. Well, within the first 100 pages, I got my laugh. In the section talking about eating, the author says "If you are eating at home, get it [missing condiments, table settings] yourself, or if you have children, ask them to get it for you." I got the laugh I expected from a Dummies book. Also, in the introduction, the author makes some assumptions on the reader. The author says flat out that this book is not made for the people who want to become professional translators or expect to become fluent from the book alone. It's simply to learn the basics of spoken Japanese language and use the knowledge as a stepping stone to more learning.
But other than that, there's clear explainations for verbs and their basic usage. There was no unneccesary stuff to confuse the reader with although the different forms of verbs may seem intimidating. The vocabulary used is very basic and far from complete, but it's enough to get by with. There is a mini dictionary in the back of the book and it's just that: mini. I suggest you to grab yourself a good dictionary.
This book is pretty good, but it doesn't teach anything about writing. There is not a single kana in the book so those of you desiring to learn written Japanese should not buy this book unless you want to reinforce your grammar and speaking. This book concentrates mainly on speaking putting a great deal into the pronunciation of words.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good for Review but not for Learning July 15 2003
By A Customer
I do not highly reccommend this book to learn the language from the beginning because it does not go into great detail about why the grammer is used the way it is. I bought this book at first to learn the actual language, but found it hard to learn how to put the sentences together correctly. I do not suggest you buy this book if you are a hard core learner.
On the other hand, if you know basic Japanese already than I would highly suggest that you get this book. It has a bunch of interesting details in it that tell about the style of the language you should use in different situations. It gives many phrases that you can use to make yourself sound more Japanese. I found this book very helpful when I wanted to start speaking like modern Japanese people do. It was fun to learn about the cultural facts after I learned the language from a different source and decided to look at this book once again for another rescource.
Overall, this book is a good book to have after you know the language. When I first started to communicate with other Japanese after learning the language, they said I sounded like their grandmothers, but now after using this book they say I sound more modern and up to date.
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