Japanese In Mangaland 3: Intermediate Level Paperback – May 30 2006
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About the Author
Marc Bernabe is a Japanese-Spanish/Catalan translator and interpreter, working mainly on manga and anime translations. He also specializes in language and Japanese culture didactics for foreigners, and he combines his professional and academic activities with the Internet web page Nipoweb.com, of which he is founder, co-webmaster and regular contributor.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Books 1 and 2 finished off discussions of conjugations; book 3 delves into the complexity of the grammar *surrounding* the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. Topics such as linking sentences, casual speech, compounds, and dialects make this a very useful guide to the more painful parts of informal Japanese text/speech.
There is no romanji here and the lessons are very dense. Each chapter is shoved full-to-bursting of facts, expressions, and information. This is good, but can also be a little overwhelming.
The Appendix II is worth its weight in gold. Here the author has listed, in alphabetical order, the conjugations and common bits of grammar (such as particles, special verbs, counters, and similar) with a one-line description and the chapter (from book 1 to 3) where it is discussed in more detail.
The only downside: the first printing of volume 3 has many typos, including, annoyingly enough, in the grammar index. No correction guide is available on the web. :( This was a problem that popped up occasionally in 1 and 2, but it's gotten a bit out of hand in 3.
However, if you're prepared to get out a pen and start making corrections here and there as you read, then this is an unbelievably great set of resources.
More importantly, this course hits reading head on from the first page. While it's true that they hang on to romaji throughout the first book, it is eliminated in the two that follow. As the author warns in the preface to Vol. 2, it's time to strap on a headband and get to work after you've made it through the introductory first volume.
I'm now nearing the end of the second volume and ready to tackle the third in preparation for the JLPT in December. The author claims that you should be ready for the level 3 after Vol. 3, and I intend to put that to the test...literally.
Frankly, I would like to see this series repackaged for college use with more workbooks like that accompanying the first volume (and the answers only found in the teacher's edition!), it's that good and most college course books that I've seen are that BAD. (Don't even get me started on the dense, dry style and confusing romaji in "Japanese: The Spoken Language". It's horrible, and is yet one of the more commonly used series. *sigh*)
The format changes slightly after the first volume, with in depth work with those evil particles and verb conjugations. But to get to the heavy hitting work, you first must make it through the first volume.
My suggestion is to buy all 3 and the workbook for volume one and give yourself the goal of passing the level 3 JLPT (there are 4 levels with 4 being the easiest and 1 the hardest). With a definite goal and a once a year testing schedule with a definite date that YOU have no control over, it's much easier to buckle down and study.
It's working well for me, anyway. I've already noticed myself automatically reading the signs in pictures I took on vacation in Japan a few years ago..and not just the ones in English or kana!
Things I liked:
-Furigana over the text in the non-manga parts of the book.
-Grammar and vocabulary appendix
-The book size and cover (It's a fairly nice-looking book, not overly fancy but it's not crap)
-It uses the hiragana and katakana, and uses a fair amount of kanji
-It's designed to help you prepare for the L4 JLPT exam (The exam has changed where L4 would be N5)
-The price is very affordable, and a good value(Yay!)
-It has cultural notes that will be helpful if you visit Japan
-Probably a few other things I can't remember
Things I disliked:
-There was no furigana in the manga examples. It was in the boxes that translate the manga examples, though, so it's more of an inconvenience. It's a good feature if you want to try practicing the kanji pronounciation without the furigana next to it, though
-The vocabulary and grammar appendixes are only Japanese to English, with no English to Japanese section.
-There is no kanji appendix in the third one. (There are 2 different kanji appendixes in Japanese in Mangaland 1 & 2, so you can still use those, or simply buy a kanji dictionary, which you should do anyway)
-I don't remember the series ever mentioning that the Japanese used in manga/anime is not quite the same as the Japanese used in real life. It's not that you can't understand it (otherwise the Japanese would have to learn a second version of Japanese), it's just that you will apparently sound like an idiot if you only speak like in manga and anime. However, the series is designed for people who want to read manga, so it's not that big of a deal.
-There is no index (But there is a perfectly fine table of contents. An index would have been very useful for looking up specific word nuances or things you remember reading about but don't remember enough to use)
-A section with advice on continuing beyond the books would have been nice, or one about other resources for more practice or extra resources. I can recommend [...] if you want to practice writing in Japanese (it's free).
Overall, I enjoyed the book, and it is an excellent value. The things I disliked about it were minor details, although it would be nice if the things that were lacking were there. It's a good book to buy if you're interested in learning Japanese. Of course, it's best if you also have the first two books in the series. It's rather pointless to just jump into the third book of a series for learning a foreign language, unless you've already mastered (or at the very least read) the contents of the other two volumes.
''''''''' (ganbatte kudasai)
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