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Textbook recommendations

eric

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What are some good Japanese textbooks?

I'm still at the beginner level, I recently just finished "minna no nihongo 1" and already bought the translation notes for "minna no nihongo 2", but I have trouble locating its main textbook.

I checked "Japanese for busy people 2" and it looked alright

What are your thoughts?

thanks:emoji_thumbsup:
 

lonesoullost3

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I highly recommend Eleanor Jorden's and Mary Noda's "Japanese: The Spoken Language" series. It does an excellent job of explaining grammar using linguistics to help you really understand the implications of the language. The textbooks are written using roomaji, so if you can't read kanji or kana then it's great. You can also buy a small supplement that has all the conversations and drills (which there are over 2000 in the series) written in Japanese as well. There is also a series of books called "Japanese: The Written Language" (same authors) that teach you how to write in tandem with the textbook series. However, a slightly better book for learning Kanji is Eleanor Jorden's "Reading Japanese" which goes in tandem with her "Beginning Japanese" series. I have not seen this one so I can't compare the two. Both series have audio CDs associated with them as well.

I know this is fallacious, however I will mention two things in attempt to further support the book. Eleanor Jorden is a professor emeritus of Cornell University and was, for several years, director of Cornell's renowned FALCON program for intensive Japanese. Even outside of the FALCON program Cornell is well respected by other top universities across the world for it's Japanese program (including Harvard, Stanford, Tokyo U., and Cambridge).

All this being said, I will say the book is not perfect. It is slightly dated (published in 1989) so some of the scenarios in conversations are not applicable (such as the new-found wonder of contact lenses). However, the underlying grammar of the language does not change and that is why this textbook series is so useful (with allowance for the newer speech patterns and sayings that did come into being since then, I would say that 99% of the book is still 100% accurate).
 

kuramu

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Genki seems to be the mostly popular I seen being used by other people I've seen it and it looks very good. If I had known about it when I started I think I may have used it instead.
Yookoso appears similar, but less popular.
I'm currently I'm using Japanese for Busy People (kana edition). For me its weak points are poor grammar explanations and less aggressive use of kanji then I'd like. Its good enough though that it seemed better to stick with it then change books.

One thing I do like about it is that although it has roughly the same material of the others, it subdivides it into much smaller chapters (70 over 3 books versus 20 to 25 for Genki and Yookoso. I think this makes it easier to manage from a self-study perspective.

To supplement the grammar explanations I use Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar and the Oxford Japanese Grammar and Verbs.
頑張って
 

domokun

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minna no nihongo

Like you I bought minna no nihongo and have gone through the 1 and 2.

So where have you been looking for the 2nd volume? I didn't have a lot of trouble finding it but I guess it depends on where you are and where you are looking. I think those books are brilliant.

Cheers.
 

eric

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I finally found the 2nd text book, I'm already up to chapter 39, nearly finished the 2nd text book
 

xerxes99

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I take two different Japanese classes. One uses minna no nihongo, the other uses Genki. Minna isn't bad, but I find Genki a lot easier to use.
 

acquiredtarget

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I take two different Japanese classes. One uses minna no nihongo, the other uses Genki. Minna isn't bad, but I find Genki a lot easier to use.
Here's a lame and unreasonably unclear question, how does your class use the Genki book? Do you do work out of the Dialogue/Grammer section (first part of the book) and the Read/Writing section (latter half) at the same time or just focus on one section at a time?
 

yukio_michael

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I highly recommend Eleanor Jorden's and Mary Noda's "Japanese: The Spoken Language" series. It does an excellent job of explaining grammar using linguistics to help you really understand the implications of the language.
This is precisely the reason I do not recommend this book.

In addition to it being a book for linguists, it also uses a non-Hepburn romanization system which, though it should surely please linguists, is completely useless to everyone else.

Why is the romanization important if we plan on not being reliant on roumaji? Most all dictionaries and software that we use expect us to use romanizatins like fuji, not huzi...

The book is in fact, quite dated, and I think should be avoided, unless you like your language learning to be as stolid & rote as possible. There aren't any additional media for the text, for listening comprehension excercises, etcetera. There are a lot of reasons not to like this text.

I recommend Genki, you can order it online and it generally receives pretty good reviews, it's also a fun text, and has extensive notes and workbooks, which are generally worth it.

There are other books that are similar, like Japanese for Everyone, and the more dated, Situational Functional Japanese, which seems to have been supplanted by Genki these days as far as the most recommend coursework.

I've not seen the book myself, but as said above, Minna no nihongo get's thrown around a bit these days too.

We need to sticky a thread just full of book recommendations, these questions tend to pop up quite frequently.
 

eric

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I really like Minna No Nihongo, but the thing I don't like about it is that you have to get the translation as well as the main text, which is quite expensive, especially the Japanese printed version.

My Japanese class only finished up to chapter 20, but during my summer holiday, I'm already up to lesson 42 through self study, the explainations are clear in the translation and the examples are useful in the main text, I think its a good text for beginners/intermediate beginners.

Genki? I havent seen this book anywhere, can you guys give me more information on this?
arigatou ☝
 

Stutz

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I've never used Minna no Nihongo or Youkoso, but I've used Genki and Japanese for Busy People and I fully have to say I love Genki. I bought J4BP first before I took a class and I really didn't like it's setup and how the explanations where lacking. Also really didn't like how they explained grammar points and the audio CD really wasn't useful.

I used Genki for my first year of Japanese and plan on using it for my self study outside of class because of how well designed it is. Each section is clearly designed and easy to follow along. For speaking and listening exercises, I enjoyed the way they worked and had fun engaging in them. Grammar points are clearly explained for each chapter. There are also suplementary lessons to go along with each chapter to help your writing and reading in the back portions of the book. My only problem with it is that while I think the audio materials are great, they cost too much. The full versions that include the exercises cost about $160 for each book. You can get cheaper ones, but they don't have the exercises which I really liked using.
 

xerxes99

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Here's a lame and unreasonably unclear question, how does your class use the Genki book? Do you do work out of the Dialogue/Grammer section (first part of the book) and the Read/Writing section (latter half) at the same time or just focus on one section at a time?
We spend half the class on grammar and half the class on reading/writing. we mix it up a bit. I find that the best for me.👍
 

MissMurder

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I was going to start a thread about this.. but I guess I'll just stick my question in here.. anyways.. I'm doing self-study right now.. I've pretty much got down the hiragana alphabet and am working on memorizing katakana. I have one book on Kanji (teach yourself beginners japanese script).. which is a little confusing. SO...I've read that Genki and the Minna no Nihongo textbooks are the best ones out there.. so the question is.. which is better than the other for self study? I really need something with good exercises in it that doesn't also confuse me with english grammar.
 

dc_johnson45

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I've heard very good things about Genki - and you can get their audio on CD, which is nice.

I understand you are 'self-studying', which is great, but really only gets you so far. Do you have any facility for taking a language class? If you are near any kind of urban center you may find some kind of Japanese classes. Where I am the local Aikido dojo started classes & depends on the students to keep enthusiasm up - works wonderfully. So try looking for 'non-traditional' sources for classes... maybe even suggesting someone try it! Try the local oriental grocery (if there is one)... Meetup.com, etc.

Again, I think you will hit a wall very quickly with self study, especially when it comes to internalizing the language - becoming something resembling fluent requires you to 'think' in Japanese, and the best way to do that is interact with native speakers as much as possible.

A lot of people balk at the point of taking classes. "I don't have time", or "It costs too much", but I think if you want to become something close to fluent, you need to interact with native speakers. Simple as that. If you want to learn the language, you need to commit yourself, say for the next year, to learning it. No other distractions, put your time and resources into it & you will be amazed at the progress you make...
 
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