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Ultimate Japanese: Basic-Intermediate: Compact Disc Edition Audio CD – Nov 7 2000


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Living Language; CD & Book edition (Nov. 7 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609607367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609607367
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 5.9 x 26.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,116,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

"The dialogues are wonderful and among the best I've seen in a language course."


ALEXANDRA LEAF, New York University

"I would not hesitate to use it as a primary text in any elementary or intermediate college-level class."
PROFESSOR VINCENZO GATTO, Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y.

"The materials are of a high quality and are fun for the learner."
CYNTHIA RAMSEY, Ph.D., Basic Language Program, University of Southern California

"A really great package for those who don't have the money to spend two years in a foreign country!"
JUERGEN KEMPFF, Ph.D., Curriculum Director, University of California, Irvine

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
Contrary to what has been stated there are exercises (and solutions) at the end of each chapter, and if you keep in mind that this is not an exercise book they are in the right ratio.

This book has been very carefully structured, the CDs are excellent, the examples and exercises are well chosen and bank on material previously covered, the grammar is clear and to the point.

I personally don't understand how some found this book difficult. I respect their opinion, but Japanese is not just another European language.

In fact, if anything, the only problem with this book is the abuse of romaji. I can understand how the authors wanted to provide a gentle introduction for novices, but this is too much. Romaji is bad for you. I have a very visual memory and romaji means that I have to learn the same language twice. I think the book would greatly benefit from an alternative furigana edition. It would be the perfect book, and this fact is very frustrating.

I mean, let's face it. People who can't be asked or don't have the curiosity to learn kana before starting (or look up a table for the first unit or two) invariably don't make it past unit two anyway. Even more appalling is the fact that even the "advanced" volume still sticks to romaji! Who on earth is going to buy that?

If you buy this, make sure you download a kana table and learn it, buy a furigana drill book and a kanji book. If you're serious you'll be ok.
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Format: Audio CD
I've used primarily the book, but the cd's are very useful for getting pronunciation right. I used the book for a few months and really did learn a lot (I didn't believe it until I took a class and stuff actually made sense without having to really strain, I was pretty supprised). The book teaches exactly the way you need to learn. They teach sentance structures, sentance particles, how to put sentances together, how to read real dialogue. I find myself reading the dialogue at the beginning of a chapter and struggling for 20 minutes or so, then reading the chapter and really understanding what I struggled through, then going back and reading it again and understanding it fully.
I actually used this book for 3 months before I lost it on a plane. I then purchased a few other books to see how they are, but I have just recently purchased a second copy of this book, I didn't find anything else taught at this level. Do know that this book isn't for your casual reader, it aims to teach you fluency and you will have to take quite a bit of time with it, but it does a good job of teaching you effectively and efficiently if you'll put in the effort to learn the language.
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Format: Audio CD
If you don't mind me writing a review after completing only the first ten of the course's forty chapters, I have to say that this is the book that turned me from a dabbler in Japanese into an actual student. Each chapter systematically covers various aspects of the language (vocabulary, sentence construction, nouns, verbs, connectors, etc.) in an orderly fashion. Even after the first 2-3 chapters you probably will be able to write a short story in Japanese, albeit with strict parameters that lessen as you move further into the book.
Nonewithstanding what's in the book, the key becomes what is in the student? Prepare to do the dirty work of making up your own homework assignments and really putting a lot of effort into the task at hand, including re-reading each chapter countless times. I found that by making summary notes on the most important concepts of each chapter, and by typing up English-to-Japanese (and vice-versa) vocabulary homework lessons, then xeroxing and working on them every few days, that I was retaining what I read much better. You basically become the teacher and the student...except when playing the CDs, which do a great, concise job of covering what is in each chapter.
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Format: Audio CD
This book takes a highly structured approach to teaching Japanese. Each lesson contains a clear and complete explanation of new grammar concepts, a table of new vocabulary for rapid memorisation, and example dialogue. It is positively jam-packed with information; there is not one sentence that will not teach you something new. New concepts are explained one at a time, for easy assimilation and revision. There is an excellent index and table of contents; I still occasionally use the book as a reference.
I didn't speak a word of Japanese when I bought this book, but within the year it took me to finish it, I had a solid understanding of basic Japanese grammar and a good foundation of common vocabulary. The vocabulary is well-chosen, reflecting the concerns of tourists, students and businesspeople. Both casual and polite grammar is shown. The accompanying tapes also complement the book nicely, teaching proper pronunciation. I highly recommend it as a starting point for anyone with the willpower to teach themselves Japanese. I found it far superior to the other beginner's books I have seen. It will not make you fluent -- no one textbook can do that -- but it will turn you into an intermediate-level student capable of learning with real Japanese material.
That said, one thing this book does not put much emphasis on is how to read and write Japanese. Although there are many reading exercises, they are optional and can be skipped over. The Japanese in the book is almost entirely written in romaji (using our letters). The book does not provide an organized framework for learning the kanji ideograms: you will have to buy a specialized kanji textbook such as Heisig's Remembering The Kanji.
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