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Which of these books do you suggest for learners?

milindindia

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I am confused and need to choose some textbooks and grammar books to delve deeper into learning Japanese.
I am already following these,
  • 日本語初歩 Nihongo Shoho - As a textbook. It has 34 chapters along with exercises and I have completed 15 by now. I want somebody to tell me without bias how helpful they think it is. Moreover, my teacher (a native Japanese speaker) records each chapter of the text as a podcast and I shadow it repeatedly, to improve my pronunciation and develop good pitch habits. Should this practice be encouraged? What are the other ways to improve one's accent?
  • Japanese Grammar Guide by Tae Kim. I think this is a great book, but how sufficient do you think it is? What aspects do you think it lacks in?

I want people to suggest which of the following grammar books, or anything better outside of these, that I should start following. Please give reasons and if possible, kindly tell what extra do I stand to gain specifically, if I buy them, and what are the apparent drawbacks of each of these books.
  1. Japanese a Comprehensive Grammar
  2. Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
  3. Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar
  4. Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar
  5. Kodansha's Dictionary of Japanese Particles
  6. Making Sense of Japanese Grammar, a clear guide through common problems
For Textbooks or readers,
Which of the books should I go for, Minna no Nihongo Series, Genki Series or something else which you think is better? Again, it would be better if you gave reasons. Also, in the Minna no Nihongo series (Shokyu 1 2, Chukyu 1 2, Kanji 1 2, DVDs etc.) which are the books I should buy particularly, that shall be sufficient for me along with the other books that I am or will be following on this post?
 

KyushuWoozy

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Your book choices are admirable but as dry as a desert. Suggest you mix it up with graded readers, podcasts and YouTube videos. These are useful to break up the grammar study and to get a feel for language in use. I find reading graded readers aloud helpful too. Shadow reading is excellent. Keep it up. Good luck.
 
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"Genki" and "Minna no Nihongo" are the most popular book series because they are pretty good. Because they are so popular, you can get the answer to just about any line you have a question about by googling and it will already have been answered. As a self-studier you would likely need the English translation of Minna. If you're on a tight budget, used copies of Genki 2nd edition would be best. Otherwise the newly released 3rd edition Genki, or Minna would be fine.

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar is a good companion to any textbook. I don't own Intermediate and Advanced, but many people buy the whole set.

I've never heard of Making Sense of Japanese Grammar, a clear guide through common problems but, Jay Rubin's Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbook's Don't Tell You is widely recommended. I don't own it, but my understanding is that is most useful after you've already completed a textbook course, as what it has to say is hard to follow before you have the fundamentals.

Amazon product
I like Tae Kim's guide, but it is not a textbook as such. It takes an unorthodox approach to Japanese grammar, doesn't alway distinguish clearly between normal and unusual-but-grammatical, and lacks in dialogs or exercises for practice. I found it very helpful to read through after completing a textbook course, for a second point of view on Japanese Grammar.

If you do end up learning primarily from Tae Kim or other online grammar guides (imabi, wasabi), you can make up some of the lack of dialogs/exercises/audio with Erin's Challenge and NHK Lessons. These A/V courses are good supplements even to a textbook course, but don't really explain enough to stand on their own.


 

milindindia

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"Genki" and "Minna no Nihongo" are the most popular book series because they are pretty good. Because they are so popular, you can get the answer to just about any line you have a question about by googling and it will already have been answered. As a self-studier, you would likely need the English translation of Minna. If you're on a tight budget, used copies of Genki 2nd edition would be best. Otherwise the newly released 3rd edition Genki, or Minna would be fine.

Which one should I go for, Genki or Minna no Nihongo? It is not just about money, but also time. I am a student of Computer Science and Japanese is more of a soft skill I want to inculcate and too many books would only just pile up on a rack without me being able to allot time to studying them. What exactly are the merits and demerits of Genki and Minna no Nihongo over each other?
For Minna no Nihongo Shokyu series, would Honsatsu (Kanji-Kana version) 1, 2. and Hyojun Mondaishu 1, 2 along with the DVDs be sufficient? Or should I buy some of the other books like Kanji 1 2, Bunkei Renshucho 1 2, Kanji Renshucho 1 2, Translation and Grammatical Notes 1 2, 25 Topics to read as a beginner 1 2, Listening Tasks 1 2? What is the motive of each of these books?

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar is a good companion to any textbook. I don't own Intermediate and Advanced, but many people buy the whole set.

I've never heard of Making Sense of Japanese Grammar, a clear guide through common problems but, Jay Rubin's Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbook's Don't Tell You is widely recommended. I don't own it, but my understanding is that is most useful after you've already completed a textbook course, as what it has to say is hard to follow before you have the fundamentals.

It is a freely available paper, I believe. You may skim through it here, library genesis. What do you think of it? I even found the Jay Rubin's book on library genesis, but I don't know if that's legal.

I like Tae Kim's guide, but it is not a textbook as such. It takes an unorthodox approach to Japanese grammar, doesn't alway distinguish clearly between normal and unusual-but-grammatical, and lacks in dialogues or exercises for practice. I found it very helpful to read through after completing a textbook course, for a second point of view on Japanese Grammar.

If you do end up learning primarily from Tae Kim or other online grammar guides (imabi, wasabi), you can make up some of the lack of dialogues/exercises/audio with Erin's Challenge and NHK Lessons. These A/V courses are good supplements even to a textbook course, but don't really explain enough to stand on their own.

What do you think of Japanese: A Comprehensive Grammar, by Stefan Kaiser, Yasuko Ichikawa, Noriko Kobayashi, Hilofumi Yamamoto?

Also Kodansha's Dictionary of Japanese Particles and All About Particles: A Handbook of Japanese Function Words (Power Japanese Series) (Kodansha's Children's Classics), how do you compare them and evaluate them individually at first glance? Would they be redundant given the other books?

I came across these books as well, The Handbook of Japanese verbs, Japanese Verbs at a glance and 600 Basic Japanese Verbs The Essential Reference Guide. What are your views? Would using them be redundant while having the other books?


Your book choices are admirable but as dry as a desert. Suggest you mix it up with graded readers, podcasts and YouTube videos. These are useful to break up the grammar study and to get a feel for language in use. I find reading graded readers aloud helpful too. Shadow reading is excellent. Keep it up. Good luck.

What graded readers and podcasts do you recommend for beginner, N5 and N4 levels? What are your recommendation on texts and audio available online that I can use to shadow?

I am already following these,
  • 日本語初歩 Nihongo Shoho - As a textbook. It has 34 chapters along with exercises and I have completed 15 by now. I want somebody to tell me without bias how helpful they think it is. Moreover, my teacher (a native Japanese speaker) records each chapter of the text as a podcast and I shadow it repeatedly, to improve my pronunciation and develop good pitch habits. Should this practice be encouraged? What are the other ways to improve one's accent?

Chris-san, how do you evaluate the book I have been currently following, Nihongo Shoho 日本語初歩? Do you think it is helpful, or since the book was published really long ago, do you think it is outdated? What are the ways in which I can improve my pitch accent, and where do I go if I want to check the exact pitch accent of a certain word in Standard Japanese (online)?

Also, what do you think of and compare the New Kanzen Master Series and the Nihongo So Matome Series?
 
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I didn't learn with either Genki or Minna. They both have good reputations, but I have no reason to recommend one over the other. However, if English is not your first language and there is a Translation and Grammatical notes of Minna in your first language, that is a good reason to use Minna. Some people prefer the minimal English of Minna, and some prefer the extensive English of Genki.

Honsatsu (Kanji-Kana version) 1, 2. : the basic book.
Hyojun Mondaishu 1, 2 : the basic questions.
Kanji 1 2, : kanji lessons.
Bunkei Renshucho 1 2, : sentence pattern practice.
Kanji Renshucho 1 2, : kanji practice.
Translation and Grammatical Notes 1 2, : translations and notes in your language.
25 Topics to read as a beginner : reading practice.
1 2, Listening Tasks 1 2 : Probably questions to go with the DVDs for listening practice?

You would need "Translation and Grammatical Notes" in order to understand the first book. You'll have to learn some Japanese before you can read instructions and explanations in Japanese. There are other kanji learning systems out there, but if you learn kanji from Minna, you'll need that too.
Everything else is for practice. I would recommend going through it all, honestly. You can make your own practice by working with a dictionary and any native material, but exercises like these are designed to match your level and accompany the lessons which will be a lot more effective at the early to intermediate stages.

Also, what do you think of and compare the New Kanzen Master Series and the Nihongo So Matome Series?
These are both well-regarded test prep courses; Kanzen Master is recommended more often. I did not use any specific test prep materials for the JLPT, but those who do use them pass the test in much less time than I did.

If the certificate is important to you, I would study one (probably Kanzen Master) alongside your textbook course. If you don't care about certificates but just want to develop Japanese ability, I would not use either.


As for the other books you ask about, I'm not familiar with them. If I get a chance to look them over I'll let you know. I can say that in all my time studying Japanese I have never felt the need for a book specifically on "particles" or "verbs". Particles are at the heart of Japanese grammar and covered heavily in textbooks, likewise with verb conjugations, while verb meanings are in the dictionary.
 

KyushuWoozy

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What graded readers and podcasts do you recommend for beginner, N5 and N4 levels?

Any graded readers should be fine. I use tadoku because that's what they happened to sell in the shop. You'll need to know a bit of Japanese first obviously but not much because the lowest level ones are super-simple. I don't know any specific beginner podcasts, I listen to nihon go con teppe but it's a bit higher level. Suggest you don't overthink this, just dive right in, there's a zillion beginner podcasts and YouTube videos, once again good luck.
 

milindindia

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Honsatsu (Kanji-Kana version) 1, 2.: the basic book.
Hyojun Mondaishu 1, 2: the basic questions.
Kanji 1 2: kanji lessons.
Bunkei Renshucho 1 2: sentence pattern practice.
Kanji Renshucho 1 2: kanji practice.
Translation and Grammatical Notes 1 2: translations and notes in your language.
25 Topics to read as a beginner 1 2: reading practice.
Listening Tasks 1 2: Probably questions to go with the DVDs for listening practice?
Thank you. This was actually what I wanted to know.

These are both well-regarded test prep courses; Kanzen Master is recommended more often. I did not use any specific test prep materials for the JLPT, but those who do use them pass the test in much less time than I did.
If the certificate is important to you, I would study one (probably Kanzen Master) alongside your textbook course. If you don't care about certificates but just want to develop Japanese ability, I would not use either.

The certificate is important for me but I don't like to rush the learning, my motive right now is more of delving deeper into the language and strengthening my command and knowledge at my own pace. どうすればいいかな...

As for the other books you ask about, I'm not familiar with them. If I get a chance to look them over I'll let you know. I can say that in all my time studying Japanese I have never felt the need for a book specifically on "particles" or "verbs". Particles are at the heart of Japanese grammar and covered heavily in textbooks, likewise with verb conjugations, while verb meanings are in the dictionary.

Thank you. But you could actually read those books through the links I gave, on the online library. If you could at least review Japanese: A Comprehensive Grammar (since I am thinking of buying it), and Nihongo Shoho 日本語初歩, it would be very generous

Any graded readers should be fine. I use tadoku because that's what they happened to sell in the shop. You'll need to know a bit of Japanese first obviously but not much because the lowest level ones are super-simple. I don't know any specific beginner podcasts, I listen to nihon go con teppe but it's a bit higher level. Suggest you don't overthink this, just dive right in, there's a zillion beginner podcasts and YouTube videos, once again good luck.

Thank you very much. :)
 
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