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Contemporary Japanese An Introductory Textbook for College Students Paperback – 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Introductory, Elementary, Beginner Japanese textbook Teaches with Romaji, Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080483377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804833776
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eriko Sato, Ph.D is Assistant Professor of Japanese Linguistics and Pedagogy in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Sato's research interests include Japanese linguistics and pedagogy, translation studies, and second language acquisition. In addition to several journal articles in these research areas, Sato published a number of Japanese textbooks and grammar/kanji reference books. Sato serves as the advisor for Teacher Certification Program for Japanese, the Executive Committee Chair for the Japan Center at Stony Brook and the Director of the Pre-College Japanese Program.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael Spertus on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
There is a lot to like about this book. I am reading it to review Japanese after having taken it twenty years ago in college and it has served admirably. It would probably make an excellent text for a first year Japanese course. However, some frustrating omissions make me skeptical that someone could learn Japanese on their own from this book without substantial supplementation.

Some things are excellent. The Japanese is indeed contemporary and conversational. Romaji are completely avoided throughout with kanji being introduced at a healthy pace. Indeed, immediately after teaching hiragana, the text starts using many kanji with furigana for the ones not yet introduced, so only natural looking Japanese is used. This is by far the best approach. Also, many of the explanatory notes are exceptional. For example, they have a diagram that makes completely clear the difference between many of the "time of day" words (e.g., describing the critical difference between yoru, ban, and yuugata, even though they are all often translated similarly). Useful cultural notes are well-integrated into the text.

The problems mainly come from brevity. It feels like the outline of an excellent textbook was never fully fleshed out. The dialogs and readings are few in number and short. Since the drills are also meager and haphazard, the student actually sees relatively little Japanese. Also, the short CD is not suitable for listening to in a car, since none of the drill instructions are given in the CD. Since languages are really learned by doing, a lot of supplementation is required like a classroom, Japanese reader, or for kanji practice, Tuttle's excellent "250 essential kanji for everyday use".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. Rue on August 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a Japanese language major and in my fourth year of 'serious' study, so I'm not exactly in the market for such an elementary textbook, but I have flipped through it several times at bookstores, and I have to say this is the elementary textbook I wish I had studied! And for one simple reason too: it actually teaches pitch-accent! A textbook that actually teaches (let alone even mentions) the phenomenon of pitch-accent in the Japanese language is nothing short of a rarity. It's a little more common in more advanced materials, but not even dictionaries include the most basic information on Japanese accentuation. Considering how important good accentuation is to actually being understood by Japanese, it boggles the mind how so few learning materials for English-speakers attempt to teach it, and any student who studies from this textbook will have a serious advantage over students of college textbooks like Nakama and Yokoso. Unless you add accencenuation to your beginning studies along with vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing that other textbooks cover so well, you'll be spending a lot time and effort later in your studies trying to correct how atrociously foreign-sounding your accent is to the Japanese ear. Since accentuation has to be learned on a word-by-word basis, start when your vocabulary is at zero, not at several thousand!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tina Nawrocki on September 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Wonderful book! The first "Learning Japanese" book I found that made any sense to me. Not only do you have word for word translations, full meaning translation, but you also learn WHY you are supposed to say the things you say. Great notes on culture. Wonderful CD that helps you with pronounciation. In all, I'm really enjoying it! Great choice for beginners!
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