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3.8 out of 5 stars
Japanese Vocabulary (Barron's Vocabulary Series)
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book is good but it has two flaws. One the vocabulary is extremely English orientated. Basically they took a English vocabulary book and wrote 'near' Japanese equivalents for the words. For nouns this leaves out a ton of important Japan only cultural words. For adjectives and phrases there are forced translations like 'Thank goodness! - Arigatai.'
As mentioned before, there is no kanji except for in the index. Why this book was orientated towards travelers and why travelers might need to use words like "nuclear proliferation," and "unemployment compensation," is beyond me however.
There is another book called Japanese Vocabulary for Speakers & Readers ISBN 4-590-00706-1, I don't think it is printed in the US. In terms of volume, it is inferior to this title, but it is very Japan orientated and contains the actual kanji for each entry.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
This handy little vocabulary covers so much it is incredible. However, I have two little complaints. While there are characters for all the words, they are in the summary glossary in the back instead of on the main pages. So, everytime I read a word I have to flip to the back to see the Japanese spelling. That gets annoying when I'm trying to cover a lot in my limited time. I also have noticed that, like almost all the books on Japanese in America, this one follows the trend on omiting any details on the Japanese pitch accent system. The book does indicate long vowels with an accent mark, but that isn't the same thing. I'm talking about the method by which one indicates the difference between words with meanings keyed to the pitch, like hashi (bridge) versus hashi (chopsticks). Lots of students know this phenomenon exists, but most books don't tell which sounds within these words should be louder. It would be nice to see a vocabulary that does address this. The only published work I have found that explains it is the Oxford Pocket Kenkyusha Dictionary. All its entries have marks indicating appropriate pitch.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Despite its usefulness or not, on the Kindle, most of the text is in the form of images which do not zoom and are too small or faint to read. Completely unusable. Do not buy this!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is superb. It has vocabulary for various diverse categories(e.g. "Animals", "Characteristics and social traits", "The hotel room", "Hardware", "The changing world", "Computers", and dozens and dozens more) and a brief but very useful English-Japanese dictionary at the end. Most importantly for a beginner like me, the pronunciation of every Japanese word in the book is given and the dictionary presents the Japanese translation of English in romanized letters and Japanese characters. Therefore, if you're going for the gold like me and trying to learn the spoken and written word, you have an excellent ... book to start with. It will take you awfully far for just a few bucks. *****Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I thought it would have hiragana/kanji included but it doesn't - except as a glossary in the back. I agree that kanji is a pain and it's hard but that is the Japanese writing system and we're stuck with it. If you don't include that in a reference for students of Japanese then don't bother. Sure tourists don't need more than a handful of kanji and romaji is plenty good enough but a vocabulary list of 8,000 words can't be seen as targeted at tourists. This is for students of Japanese. And we need the kanji included.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
We are a military family stationed in Japan. Our children, aged 13, 12, and 9, have opted to attend Japanese public school. This book is helping them to recognized vocabulary related to school subjects, especially math and science. Reading words, then hearing them in context is a valuable learning tool, and this book is divided effectivley for that purpose. I have ordered two extra ones, on for their Japanese tutor, and one for me! I recommend this book for anyone studying Japanese.
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on March 9, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
First, please allow me to explain that I am an intermediate [ish] student of Japanese, been at if for over a year now.

Ive had the 'second edition' book for almost a year now, and ive had plenty of time to decide what I like and dont like about it. I have seen people before complain that it lacks the original script in the first part. as a response to that, I think its not a big deal, the japanese script is provided in the back index for those who want to read, and for simple travelers the main section is kept easy and does not overwhelm. In my opinion its an ideal balance for travelers who want to just read the words, and students who want to retain the words and learn to read.

What I really like about this book is how the words are grouped by topic. It makes several easy to follow lists for which one can study. with a white board, its easy to make sentences and the words stick easier that way. also, there are a lot of words in this book, its boasts 8,000 but I didnt count, I just know there are enough words in there to stay busy for a while.

things that could be negative include most importantly, I have noticed a few typos... they happen, no one is perfect, but be aware of them. and the other thing is some of the words are simply japanized english words. very common in japan, at times I almost feel like im listening to an accented english conversation, but some of the words I wonder if its more practical to learn the original japanese word, as opposed to the english loan word... again, not terribly frequent, but please be aware.

one more thing I feel needs to be said, if you are a traveler with no knowledge of the grammar, to use this book you should have a basic knowledge at least, otherwise a regular phrase book would serve you better.

If you feel I left anything out or would like to know more, please feel free to comment, and I hope this review help you all out. Traveling or Studying, I wish you the best of luck :D
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a dictionary that is catoragized in subjects not alphabeticly. There is no kana or kanji in here, instead there is some rediculous pronunceation. I have been living in japan for 6 months and bought this book to help me BUILD my vocabulry. Unfortantly it doesnt help you learn anything. I recomend this book for travelers not for anyone actuly learning japanese.
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on November 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book really breaks down the Japanese language. What I like most about it is it breaks down the fundamentals of the language so you understand first the very basics so you can move forward with confidence. I highly recommend this book for people that want to learn Japanese effectively.
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on October 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Like many dictionaries and grammar guides about Japanese language, it presents outdated conventions as strict rules that are actually seldom adhered to by native speakers of Japanese. It's a good guide to grammar and vocabulary, but if you speak or write the way the book teaches, your Japanese will be stilted and awkward. Take it with a grain of salt. Nothing compares to actual conversation as a learning method.
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