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Handbook of Modern Japanese Grammar Paperback – June 1, 1992
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From the moment I first opened it and flipped through it, I was in love. There are lists of particles, verb/adj/noun-ending phrases (even slightly more obscure ones), and even Onomatopoeic words, as well as explanations and examples of their use. Within the first 5 minutes of owning it, it became my favorite book (it hardly ever leaves my side).
This book is one of the bests (and definitely a necessity) for those who are just beginning to learn, those who have finished the "this is a simple sentence...this is how you conjugate a verb..." stage and are unsure of what to learn now, and even for advanced learners as a source of new knowledge or just a quick reference guide.
Bottom line: Get this book.
Because the subject of a japanese sentence is most of the time hiding behind the curtain of multiple propositions, one has to wait the end of the entire sentence to know, like in the Noh theater (excuse my pun), what the action is all about and then deduct who is ... acting. Keep cool, the enigma is not always that intricate. Thanks gods (yes with s because in Shinto they are many).
Yoko M McLain in "Modern Japanese Grammar" give us the tools to capture the intimate structure of modern japanese. She starts with the end of the sentences: the verb. The verb, I don't want to go biblical, is the beginning of everything in japanese. When a japanese mother talks to her baby, she starts by using verbs and then slowly add up more details making more elaborate sentences.
That's how this book is structured. The author has used the japanese grammatical terminology, making it easy to read japanese books about the subject but took into account her readers. This book is your compass, don't travel this beautiful language without it.
One last word: one of the very last part is, again, about verbs but this time to explain their honorific forms, a tricky form at times, but which allow you to definitely know who is hiding behind the curtain, who is the subject.