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How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese: A Vocabulary Builder Paperback – Mar 26 2002

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Paperback, Mar 26 2002
CDN$ 47.92 CDN$ 30.72

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; New edition edition (March 26 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770028598
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770028594
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 1.3 x 13 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,220,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


" ... an easy, interesting way of learning new words." -- The Nikkei Weekly

"... an inviting read through the inclusion of interesting etymologies and, sometimes, jocular example sentences." -- John Benedict, Asahi Evening News

"... this small book offers a wealth of difficult vocabulary presented in an accessible, interesting format." -- Leza Lowitz, The Japan Times

"A highly recommended reference work for the serious student." -- Tokyo Today

"The author's explanations of usage solve long-standing mysteries." -- The Daily Yomiuri

About the Author

Charles De Wolf is a Kodansha International author.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a longtime student and translator of the Japanese language, I would like to see more books like this on the market, in contrast to the sea of books that focus on Japanese slang, foreign loanwords, and profanity. Japanese academics and professionals who operate in an English-speaking environment don't expect to get a free pass on difficult English vocabulary. "How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese" seems to be based on the premise that foreign speakers of Japanese should also be able to handle advanced terminology.
Historically, native Japanese speakers have been amazed at a foreigner who can manage even a passable sentence or two in their language. Ten years ago, it was not uncommon for Japanese to heap praise on an American visitor to Tokyo for correctly ordering lunch without resorting to English. Americans were even complimented for knowing how to say "konnichiwa" and "ohayoo gozaimasu."
Today, the bar has been raised substantially, and a reasonable comprehension of professional and academic terminology is needed in order to be taken seriously as a foreign speaker of Japanese. This is especially true if you intend to rely on your Japanese skills in a professional context. "How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese" can help the intermediate student to polish her skills to the point where Japanese speakers will regard her as an adult speaker of their language.
The book is laid out in a convenient thematic format, so you can focus on the areas which are most relevant to your own needs and interests (science, law, etc.) There are enough example sentences to give you a sense of the context in which the specialized vocabulary items are used.
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Format: Paperback
I like this book because it groups a lot of the basic vocabulary you need about specialized fields. You don't have to go searching through a dictionary to pick it all up. There is maybe one field where I feel fairly confident, but most of the rest I'm not that interested in and only want the vocabulary because I absolutely need it to listen to a lecture, read a book or the newspaper, or just talk to someone who I know will bring up a certain topic because it's in the news or it is their pet pieve.
The book is also useful because the author tries now and then to give hints on differences between certain words or groups of words. That's something you will definitely not find in a dictionary.
If you're a beginner, you can just read the commentary and look at the lists and pick up what you need, not try to memorize everything. If you're more advanced you can read the sample sentences. I definitely don't agree with those who say if you're intermediate or advanced, you can go out and read the books themselves, and don't need a book like this. I don't want to be reading many Japanese science books, but I still want to know how to say chemistry. The easier it is, the better, and this book does make it easier.
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Format: Paperback
Like much of the rest of the Power Japanese series, this book does a good job of introducing vocabulary that you may not find in other sources. However the vocabulary is so high level that beginning and intermediate learners will have a hard time memorizing it and using it in conversations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the book covers such a wide variety of specialized fields that the terms may be inadequate for an advanced learner. Advanced learners may be better served by reading books written for Japanese people about a particular subject. If you find books written for adults too difficult, books written for children and teens may be helpful. Beginning and intermediate learners might impress some people by reading sentences out of this book, but you'll probably never use a lot of this vocabulary, and hence will probably forget it. There are better books to spend your money on.
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