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Good Intermediate/3rd year textbook?

Roots

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Hi, I'm looking for a good 3rd year, intermediate level textbook. I took JPNS301 (5th semester) and part of JPNS302 (6th semester), but I absolutely abhored the text in that class. The textbook was called "An integrated approach to intermediate Japanese", published by the Japan Times. For my first and second year of Japanese study I used Nakama 1 and Nakama 2, both of which I thought were excellent textbooks and very easy to understand.


I'm basically looking for a text that would be the equivalent of Nakama 3, but haven't had any luck. Keep in mind I've already completed about 3/4s of my 3rd year work, but the text was poor and so was the class so I didn't learn as much as I should have. Also I'm going to be doing self-study now, but at this point I have a pretty darn good knowledge of Japanese (due to over-exposure to anime and manga :) ). Thanks for any help you can provide!


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PS: My first post. :joyful: Man these smilies are uber-kawaii!
 

mdchachi

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Roots

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Hmm, according to the reviews at Amazon they didn't feel as good about that text as you did... :eek: I've heard the Japanese for Busy People texts come up a lot though. Are they really that good? I usually tend to avoid books like "Learn Japanese in 2.2 minutes a day while shaving on your way to work", or any other 'hasty' titles. If someone could shed some light on the Busy People texts (and what one I should pick up for my level), I'd appreciate it! 🙏
 

mdchachi

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Well I used the Learn Japanese texts in a classroom environment. I don't know how well they'd do as standalone learning material. Now that I know the material, I find them useful as references upon occasion.
 

Case

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Hello Roots!

Let me start off by saying that unfortunately I don’t know of any upper-level text besides the one you already named. -_-“ I’m sorry…. I’ll ask some of my Nihongo pals –perhaps they will have some ideas.

*Off-topic rant*

You mentioned self-study in your post. I have been sneaking into my university’s introductory Japanese classes. Unfortunately, next year the course format will change making it impossible for me to sneak into the lectures. On top of this, I simply can’t take Japanese courses for credit due to stupid UCLA policy. T_T I want to continue studying Japanese, but do you think it's possible with only a year of instruction under my belt to do so on my own? So far I got through the Genki I book and I’m working through Genki II. Am I simply wasting my time, or do you think self-study (with only 1 year of classroom instruction) is actually possible in my case?


Again, sorry for this long off-topic rant. Tomorrow I will ask my friends for decent 3rd year textbooks!

Talk to you later 🙂:


EDIT: There seems to be a dearth of decent upper level Japanese texts, don’t you think? :emoji_frowning2:
 

mdchachi

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I think self-study is definitely possible. Especially these days when there is plenty of material available and it is easy to ask questions about things you don't understand here on the 'net. As long as you have the self-discipline, that's the most important thing. It wouldn't have worked with me. Without classes to go to, I'd never have bothered to study.
 

PaulTB

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Case said:
EDIT: There seems to be a dearth of decent upper level Japanese texts, don’t you think? :(

They're out there - but you need to start looking for ones in Japanese only rather than English / Japanese mix.
 

Elizabeth

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Most JLPT materials, at least the Level 2 workbooks I've seen, are generally very good for advanced study, with a nice variety of short essays for reading comprehension along with more traditional grammar/vocabulary/kanji exercises. Whether they're readily available in the states though I rather doubt, but someone else may have more information on this.
 

Roots

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Case said:
You mentioned self-study in your post. I have been sneaking into my university’s introductory Japanese classes. Unfortunately, next year the course format will change making it impossible for me to sneak into the lectures. On top of this, I simply can’t take Japanese courses for credit due to stupid UCLA policy. T_T I want to continue studying Japanese, but do you think it's possible with only a year of instruction under my belt to do so on my own? So far I got through the Genki I book and I’m working through Genki II. Am I simply wasting my time, or do you think self-study (with only 1 year of classroom instruction) is actually possible in my case?

Its definitely possible. Especially with the Nakama texts I mentioned. With those I didn't even need to show up to class (but I did anyway). They make learning Japanese SO easy that it seems like its something a 6 year old could learn. I actually did a little self-study before I started taking Japanese classes, because I was concerned it was going to be uber-hard so I memorized all of Hiragana and Katakana. 😊 I know what how you feel about not being able to get credit for Japanese classes. I recently graduated from Purdue's engineering program and they only gave me credit for my first three Japanese classes, but I continued anyway and made it to the sixth Japanese class.


Anyways yeah to summarize self-study is definitely possible as long as you have the self-motivation and commitment. Nakama 1 will teach you from scratch: it first teaches you all of hiragana, some basic lessons, then katakana, and more lessons for the first half (6 chapters) of the text. The latter 6 chapters teach you 60 basic (and frequently seen) Kanji in addition to the usual grammar/vocab. It also comes with a workbook, which is worth-while if you are willing to shell out an extra $20. Hope that helps, good lucky with your studies!

Oh and thanks for any info on 3rd year texts 🙏
 

PaulTB

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Elizabeth said:
Whether they're readily available in the states though I rather doubt, but someone else may have more information on this.
I'm sure they are, but possibly only in cities big enough to have a specialist Japanese store. In the UK for instance there are only around two suitable stores in London - at 30 miles away they are still the closest to me.

Next nearest is probably in Scotland. :(
 

Glenn

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For grammar I like "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" (日本語基本文法辞典) and "A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar" (日本語文法辞典【中級編】). I used them for self-study after the one year of Japanese classes that I had, and I learned quite a bit from them. I just wish that there were an advanced version.
 
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Roots

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Glenn said:
For grammar I like "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" (日本語基本文法辞典) and "A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar" (日本語文法辞典【中級編】). I used them for self-study after the one year of Japanese classes that I had, and I learned quite a bit from them. I just wish that there were an advanced version.

Wow, that book got some great reviews on Amazon. Unfortunately it's not available there or at Barnes and Noble. Looks like it will be a hard find :emoji_frowning2:

If that book covers grammar as broadly and accurately as I need, then all that I have left is to get a good vocab text. I already have a good Kanji text: Kanji and Kana - A Handbook and Dictionary of the Japanese Writing System, which covers all the Kanji I think I will ever care to know.

Oh, in my search I just found a site with an enormous amount of Japanese text reviews: csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/afaq/hon/contents.html I'll try looking around this site for now. Thanks everyone! 🙂:
 

Glenn

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Roots said:
Wow, that book got some great reviews on Amazon. Unfortunately it's not available there or at Barnes and Noble. Looks like it will be a hard find :(

I'm sorry to hear that. I remember when I ordered them three years ago (I think), they weren't in stock and had to be ordered. Are you sure you can't send a request for them to order them for you?

Roots said:
I already have a good Kanji text: Kanji and Kana - A Handbook and Dictionary of the Japanese Writing System, which covers all the Kanji I think I will ever care to know.

That book is good for learning about the writing system, but a few things that I don't like about it are: 1) all of the readings are given in ローマ字, 2)meanings are only given for the 常用漢字, and 3) the kanji aren't presented in a manner that behooves learning them. What I mean by point 3 is that the kanji 話 is learned way before the kanji 舌, even though it would be helpful in learning 話. I think that it's easier to learn the kanji if you learn them as pieces that you put together to form new pictures, so to speak, but this book doesn't allow that.
 

Roots

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Glenn said:
I'm sorry to hear that. I remember when I ordered them three years ago (I think), they weren't in stock and had to be ordered. Are you sure you can't send a request for them to order them for you?



That book is good for learning about the writing system, but a few things that I don't like about it are: 1) all of the readings are given in ニ陳債ーニ筑ナスナ。, 2)meanings are only given for the ツ湘ュ窶廃ナ?ツソナスナ。, and 3) the kanji aren't presented in a manner that behooves learning them. What I mean by point 3 is that the kanji ヒ彙 is learned way before the kanji ツ静」, even though it would be helpful in learning ヒ彙. I think that it's easier to learn the kanji if you learn them as pieces that you put together to form new pictures, so to speak, but this book doesn't allow that.

I'll try ordering it. I wish I could see a table of contents or something so I know exactly what material it presents. I don't want to buy a text where only 20% of the material is new to me :p


As for your argument, yeah I can see why its not the greatest learning tool, but you have to keep in mind its meant to be a dictionary/reference, not a learning text. I also have a little beef with the order in which Kanji are presented, but if I recall correctly I think it said that it presents the Kanji in an order of 'most frequently found in Japanese newspapers'. It would be easier if it was ordered into groups, but it presents all the information you need to order them yourself too :win:
 

Glenn

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Well, I did some looking, and this was the best I could do for you: This page lists what is covered in the basic dictionary, and this page (on the same site) does the same for the intermediate version. This page says about the same thing, but I thought I would post it anyway, and you can read some pretty in depth reviews of the intermediate version here.

I think that it will be hard to lose if you order these books. If you find that they aren't useful (which I highly doubt) you can always sell them to someone else for probably the same price at which you bought them.
 

paper

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I agree, both are great books... thejapanshop.net has both and they have an example scan of the Basic edition. sasugabooks.com also sells these books. You should probably google and see if you can find better prices too.
 

mdchachi

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I will also tell you that those books belong on your shelf. They are references, not textbooks but I suppose you could work your way through them.
 

Roots

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Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to seal the deal. I just ordered both texts, I can't wait! :LOL: By the way, I looked up the texts on Campus Books and found new copies of the Intermediate text for $57.65 and the Beginning text for $44.80, not bad at all.


So now all that's left is improving my (somewhat poor) vocabulary. Does anyone know of a good text, website, or anything to help me? I like learning vocab the way its presented in the Nakama texts: by category (ie na-adjectives, i-adjectives, ru-verbs, u-verbs, adverbs, nouns, etc). I don't know why I like learning it that way, but I do. I guess it just is easier to remember for me. If there is a site out there with a comprehensive list of basic->intermediate Japanese vocabulary, that works well for me too 👍 Thanks again everyone 🙂
 

Glenn

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Roots said:
So now all that's left is improving my (somewhat poor) vocabulary.

You and I both, my friend. :)


Roots said:
Does anyone know of a good text, website, or anything to help me? I like learning vocab the way its presented in the Nakama texts: by category (ie na-adjectives, i-adjectives, ru-verbs, u-verbs, adverbs, nouns, etc). I don't know why I like learning it that way, but I do. I guess it just is easier to remember for me. If there is a site out there with a comprehensive list of basic->intermediate Japanese vocabulary, that works well for me too 👍 Thanks again everyone 🙂

I can't help you there, but I certainly will be anticipating any responses to this query.
 
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