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Language book recommendations for a beginner?


10 May 2003



Hajimemashite. Shirayama Shizuka to moshimasu. Minasan, yoroshiku onegai itashimasu. Sumimasen ga, watashi no setsuretsu nihongo desu. 28 sai desu. Baikoku no shusshin desu (mata kanada ni sunde imashita). Sengetsu irai, nihongo o jibun de benkyou shimashita. Ima, nihongo o sukoshi hanasu koto ga dekimasu. Nihongo no benkyou no kyoukasho ga hoshii desu. Jogen ka? Watashi wa nihongo no shoshinya mada desu. Demo 1 jikan mainichi de benkyou tsumori desu. Hiragana to katakana o manabimashita. Mata, yaku 300 kanji o manabimashita. Roumaji ga kirai desu. Watashi wa roumaji ga atama o itamemasu. Mata, watashi wa yuuryou nihongo no jisho ga hoshii desu. Nihon no bunka ni totemo kyoumi ga aru nodesu. Nihon he wa itsuka ikitai. Shikashi, nihon he wa mada itta koto ga arimasen. Tokorode, kono uebbu saito arigatou gozimasu.

Hi! My name is Shirayama Shizuka*. I am very happy to meet everyone.
I apologize for my poor Japanese. I am from the United States (and also Canada). I have been teaching myself Japanese since last month and I can speak a little Japanese now. I am looking for a good Japanese textbook. Any suggestions? I am still a beginner but I intend to study for 1 hour a day to improve my Japanese. I have learned the hiragana, katakana and about 300 kanji. I don't like roumaji - it makes my head hurt. I am also looking for a good Japanese dictionary that defines the words in Japanese. I am very interested in Japanese culture and I would like to go to Japan someday but I have not traveled to Japan yet. BTW, thank you for creating this wonderful website.

Because my Japanese is still so limited and it can take me a while to think of the words for the concept that I am trying to express and then type it (and because I feel a little silly writing in baby Japanese), I'll continue here in just English... I've learned quite a bit recently by reading the forums and studying other pages on the web. I hope my Japanese is understandable - my vocabulary and grammar are still quite poor, I'm afraid. I'm at the point now where I need to use what I've learned for a while before trying to add more or I will start forgetting things. Unfortunately, I live in a remote rural area and there are no other speakers of Japanese nearby for me to practice my spoken Japanese (or inflict upon them as the case may be).

I am thinking that perhaps a college textbook used to teach Japanese would be useful to further my understanding of the language. Has anyone used such a textbook that they liked a lot? A good kanji dictionary and a good grammar textbook would also be very very helpful. Once I can read Japanese better, I'd also like some recommendations of books about culture and history (or now if there are very good English-language books available).

In any case, thanks for your help!

ツ?ヲMy English name is different, but for many reasons I have chosen the name Shirayama Shizuka while learning Japanese (it is similar in meaning to my English name for one thing, and it helps me to stay focused on Japanese. I am trying to think in Japanese when speaking/thinking/writing instead of thinking of the English words and then translating; so far this has worked well). If you'd prefer, call my by my nickname, "Kat."

P.S. Is it acceptable to post in this forum with the kana/kanji, roumaji and English as I did above? It is a lot of work to type in the kana/kanji, but it helps me to understand the Japanese better. I apologize if I mistyped any of the roumaji; I'm dyslexic and my "tricks" to help me spell English correctly don't work very well with roumaji. Also, is there an easier way to enter the kanji than using MS IME in hiragana mode and having to pick the right kanji from the list when it gets it wrong (this happens much too often to me)? I am using the standard IME in English Windows XP.
GENKI Japanese, by the Japan Times, But you know what, the japan times website only lets you buy books in Yen, now I get this Cataloge form the New York Times Book Club that has the books, you have to E-Mail the lady at Japan Times, New York to get the Cataloge, they also have a website but it is only in Japanese, and I do not remember her E-Mail but E-Mail me squaresfboy[at]hotmail.com and I will give you her adress, you need the Textbook, Workbook, Teachers Edition, Audio CD's, these are not cheap on a budget, Random House's Living Language Japanese only $10 has a dictionary, Study guide and 3 Audio CD's it is basically to speak Japanese only, not write it. so get GENKI Japanese by the Japan Times, that is where it is at! 👍
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Jesus, you must be a genius. You`ve only been studying a month and you`ve memorized 300 kanji.
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