Japanese Step by Step: An Innovative Approach to Speaking and Reading Japanese Paperback – Apr 17 2001
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About the Author
Gene Nishi established the Nishi Institute of Language Education for extensive research and practice in Japanese and English Education.
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Top Customer Reviews
Before, I was totally mystified by the Kanji. I thought I'd never be able to understand " all of that crazy chickenscratch", as I sometimes (jokingly) put it. I tought that I could get by understanding the Kana, or maybe just the Romaji. I was totally put off by the different readings of the Kanji. Now, I understand more kanji than kana (granted, I'm still pretty much the equivalent of a slow-witted japanese kindergartener). This book erased most of my initial apprehension over the subject.
The grammatical structure is handled, in my opinion, in the proper way. For the first few chapters, the reader is presented with a somewhat simplistic view, which must be learned by rote. As the reader progresses in the book, some of the earlier schemas are expanded, and elaborated, leaving the reader with an ever increasingly profound grasp on the language. The presentation and progression is in a logical order, allowing those with a scientist's (like me) or engineer's brain quick access to the language.
This is, of course, not to say that one can attain a complete mastery of the language by reading this one book. As I alluded in the title of this review, this is merely a good first step. It never pretends to be anything more. If one studies from this book with discipline and diligence, one should not have trouble making oneself understood in japanese.
JAPANESE STEP BY STEP was written by a former IBM engineer. He applied tech-manual principles to the organization and presentation of the inner workings of the Japanese language. The author makes heavy use of logic flow charts to show how Japanese verbs are conjugated, and how present, negative, past and past-negative tenses are developed. He also presents five basic sentence patterns to be used as building blocks for more complex and compound sentences. And, the roman-alphabet representations of Japanese use CAPITAL letters to show the raised pitch accent.
Although the book uses Japanese characters above the roman text (romaji), it uses the 2000+-character KANJI with no furigana (small hiragana characters to show the 'reading' of the kanji characters.) I'd like to be able to cover up the romaji and read just the Japanese characters, but the lack of furigana forces dependence on the romaji.
Another thing I found frustrating is having to flip back and forth through the book to figure out how a particular verb conjugates. This could have been solved if the author had either provided an appendix with all the verb conjugation flow charts, or (better yet,) provided an additional set of charts showing how to conjugate each type of verb into all the possible conjugations.
This book is NOT the only book on Japanese you'll ever need. But it's a useful addition to the Japanese-language student's arsenal of reference works. It presents information in a different way, which may be just what you need to get from confusion to increased understanding.
Most recent customer reviews
a very good book for people who already have a grasp at some japanese... i own this book... and even though i dont know a whole lot i am glad i own this. Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2006 by Victoria L. E. Ollerhead
Very comprehensive and innovative book. Not only explains structure of nihon-go but also ellaborates on the reasons for why aspects of the structure are the way they are. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by HirakuRei