Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Techniques to Learn Japanese for Students and Professionals 6th Edition
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About the Author
- Publisher : Learn From Zero; 6th edition (August 22, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 329 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0976998122
- ISBN-13 : 978-0976998129
- Item Weight : 1.34 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.44 x 0.75 x 9.69 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Along with this book, I purchased the McGraw Hill's "Complete Japanese Grammar Workbook", the Kondasha's Kanji Course, the 'Kanji Study' app (I highly recommend for learning kanji. It allows you so many options for however you want to learn. It also made it easier to learn specific kanji, since you could decide what groups you wanted to put them into) and Tuttle's Hirigana and Katakana workbook. I bought each as my own part of a course. The Grammar workbook was fantastic in an aid with Japanese from Zero (JFZ) since it didn't really teach me basic grammar at the beginning, which for me makes it easier to memorize certain phrases since I understand why certain things would need to be there. However, the grammar book itself gives a lot of information and with no previous study, it has been almost too much to digest even with the fairly plentiful workbook sections. That's where JFZ comes in and gives that much needed back support (without intending it).
I cannot speak to the hirigana and katakana sections, since I already knew them beforehand other than that it did help reinforce my knowledge. I do wish that I was learning kanji right away in the book too. I have to supplement that with the Kondasha's kanji course or with other self-study methods.
As I got towards the end, however, my other books were teaching me miles faster than this book was. The same amount of time I spent studying JFZ was not nearly as effective as studying Kondasha or the Grammar book. I do think it was an essential component as it was the application and vocab part of my studies, but it makes me wonder if there is a better book out there that could keep pace with a very serious self-studying Japanese student. I am very torn between ordering the second book of this, or just trying the famed 'Genki' series since it might be cheaper to buy those two books instead of buying all 4 of these (and perhaps not learning as much in the process).
I bought this book because it seemed like the most efficient self-study tool. However, after getting it, while fun and helpful, I don't think it is the most efficient in learning. I may end up trying another book just to see. Though, if you are split in trying this book, I would say just buy it. It is still a fantastic book to start and will test your dedication to learning the language. it also is slow and steady which is great if you want to study Japanese occasionally. The best part of all is that is one of the few books that inspires me to push on with my Japanese by making it all seem so easy. It's up to you for you to figure out what is your goal in studying Japanese.
The big difference for me - JFZ is the full experience. You get the books, which are great, but you also get the accompanying video lessons, the website with quizzes (after book 1, there is a small charge) and Ask-A-Teacher and the Discord community (which is amazing!)
Japanese From Zero is the next best thing to an actual in-person language course.
Pros: For myself with a full time job and normally only a few hours at night, this is the perfect pace. It gives me time to finish one lesson every two days at a casual pace, or if I want to really push on the lesson activities I can finish one lesson a day (which I did for this book, as it was introducing the starting concepts of the language and I couldn't wait to learn more and more). The lesson activities are the perfect length to make sure you've taken the concept of the lesson to heart - not so short that you don't use them enough and might forget them in a few days, and not so long that you get bored of it and just want to move on.
Further, the author really knows how to explain the concepts and coupled with his YouTube videos I feel like I understand so much of the grammar so easily. I took 5 years of Spanish in high school (which I've since all but forgotten unfortunately) and I feel like in a month I know the same amount of grammar in Japanese because of his teaching style. If you treat this like an actual Japanese language class, you'll love it.
Neutral: Despite me explaining why the speed works for me, it may not work for everyone. I've seen plenty of reviews suggesting Genki over this, and I can understand why they might prefer it. If you have a lot of time, the pace this goes at will definitely feel slow. A lot of people say that Genki's method of teaching Hiragana and Katakana (the Japanese symbols) is better - or even more, that JFZ's way is horrible, but I don't agree with that. For the pace this goes at - again great for someone working or going to school all day - the method of teaching them where it's mixed with the English letters is a godsend that I never even considered a potential method.
That said, I don't believe the speed is *that* far off. Genki is essentially a college textbook and I've seen suggestions to use it like you would in school - spend a week on each chapter, doing the learning, writing activities, quizzes, or whatever else it provides. As mentioned I spent a day on each JFZ chapter. If you're going to spend the same amount of time on the chapters in each book then yes JFZ will seem horribly slow, but the chapters aren't actually comparable for content. I feel like I'm going to complete JFZ book 5 in the time it's suggested to complete Genki 1 (which as far as I'm aware both will put you at similar stages of language knowledge). So be wary when reading about how much slower JFZ moves.
Cons: It's probably a praise of this book that this is the only con I can think of, but the cover art characters really doesn't do it for me. Especially book one, with an anime schoolgirl in a short skirt, it makes the book feel childish. The content definitely isn't, and if it helps sell more books then I'd much rather it have this cover than not have any more content made, but it definitely makes me a bit self conscious taking it out to work on in public because it feels like a book for someone who's not really serious about learning. I'd much rather just nice artwork of Japanese locations or something like that. It's nothing a paper bag book cover can't fix, though.
Suggestions to the Author: I'd love to see the vocabulary in each section used more in the activities. It may be that in the next revision it will be as I've already seen book 2 do this, but I find that the writing activities seem to focus on only one or two words throughout the entire book, so you really know those two vocabulary words you learned in chapter 1 but besides that... nothing. As mentioned this may already be a planned change though, as book 2 is a lot better about it.
All in all I'd definitely recommend it! For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm actually learning a second language.
Top reviews from other countries
I found a YouTube channel called Japanese from Zero and instantly found I was gaining knowledge way faster than I had before. I dont know why but something about the teaching method really connected with me. I decided I wanted to start learning Japanese again from the VERY start and properly dedicate time and effort. I had seen this YouTube channel and noticed as well as their FREE and very useful website they also released a series of books. To cut a long story short, I decided to purchase.
It was one of the best decisions I have made when it came to learning Japanese. I can guarantee from experience if you dedicate time to learning you will have Hiragana, numbers and even basic speaking and reading down to a tee. The book has a very good pace and will take you through different stages at a decent level. The book does not treat you like and idiot and you will feel the benefits from using it pretty much instantly.
I would recommend using other resources along side this book of course, however If for some reason this was your only resource you could do much worse. They have a website with a tonne of FREE content which would be great for learning along side this book and a YouTube channel. A great book filled with REAL Japanese phrases that people actually use in Japan. Most textbooks while grammatically correct, make the mistake of teaching phrases that no one uses for multiple reasons. This textbook will have you sounding like a pro and talking like a native very quickly, or at least put you on the right track.
All-in-all a really great book and series. If anyone is learning Japanese and considering this book, I can tell you it's very good. You of course need to put the effort in but you will get so much from this book as a result. Great book, fun to use and easy to understand.
The book is well presented in large text which I find useful, especially for absolute beginners, as other Japanese text books I've read tend to have small, light text (smaller, narrower font size) which can be challenging to read if you aren't comfortable with either HIragana or Katakana (two of the three writing systems used in Japan). The pages are also not crammed full, this could be a slight negative if you prefer quantity over quality though I find this useful for absolute beginners as other books may be intimidating at first sight.
The book is well structured into logical chapters and Georges progressive approach to Hiragana is helpful for newcomers to the language. However, if you are already comfortable with Hiragana you may find this limiting.
There are many pages dedicated to exercises whereby you are presented with hiragana and the meaning and as an exercise you can copy the hiragana a few times; which I could see as useful to those first starting out.
I'd highly recommend this as a first Japanese book if you have not yet experienced Japanese given the presentation of the books content, the progressive approach and the easy going look to the page layout as there is lots of white space to help you focus on a few concepts at a time.
With this being said, if you are somewhat comfortable with Japanese and the two writing systems (excluding Kanji) I would recommend that you purchase another book.
If you are looking to be eased into Japanese, and it can be intimidating at first I should know I've been learning for only 1 year, then this is the book for you and you'll hopefully develop a hunger for learning more Japanese and go on to purchase the other books in the series.
You can really tell George is passionate about languages, teaching and learning. This is what got me into Japanese, and I'll forever be grateful :)
It's a great resource, i recommend his youtube channel too as well as the website - it gives you a great all-round experience and especially when you'Ve studied the book, listen to his youtube because stuff makes a helluva lot more sense
Als ich mich für nach einen Japanischkurs umsah, musste ich feststellen, dass ich an allen Terminen keine beruflich keine Zeit hatte. Also musste ein Selbstlernkurs her.
Obwohl es einige deutschsprachige Kurse gibt und ich Englisch zwar problemlos lesen, aber nicht perfekt beherrsche, entschied ich mich für die Japanese-from-zero!-Reihe - und ich habe es in keinster Weise bereut.
Allem vorran muss ich zwei Punkte herausheben:
1) Als ehemaliger Lateinschüler brauche ich keinen Kurs, der mir Alltagsphrasen gibt, die ich auswendiglernen, aber nicht hinterfragen darf. Ich brauche systematische Grammatik, mit der ich auch eigene Phrasen und Sätze aufstellen kann. Hier geht der Kurs so vor, dass lediglich das Gerüst den Alltagsbezug herstellt, der Inhalt aber in den ersten Kapiteln wenig zusammenhängend, nach etwa einem drittel des Kurses aber plötzlich sinnhaft zusammen passt.
Beispiel: Verben werden erst sehr spät behandelt. Zunächst werden grundsätzliche Dinge wie das Zählen, Bezeichnen (Farben etc.) und Verknüpfen von 'Dingen' behandelt. Hier reicht ein einfaches "です" ("ist"). Dann kommen die Verben und alles kann schlagartig verbunden werden - und man selbst fühlt sich beinahe wie ein geborener Japaner. Sowas motiviert!
Anderes Beispiel: Einige nützliche Phrasen werden immer wieder eingeworfen. In den ersten Kapiteln habe ich mich schwer getan "すみません" (Es tut mir Leid) und "ごめんなさい" (Vergib mir) auseinander zu halten. Später - wenn man ein kleines gramatikalisches Detail mehr lernt, ergibt auf einmal die Vokabel an sich Sinn. Und schon hat man seine erste Phrase selbst herleiten können.
2) Die Verknüpfung mit Youtube. George Trombley hat einen Kanal eingerichtet, in dem die ersten drei Kurse (=Bücher) auf Englisch behandelt werden. Diese Videos sind auch ohne Buch verstehbar, aber zusammen entfalten sie ihr Potenzial. In den ersten Videos hatte ich leichtere Probleme, mit der Englischen Sprache Schritt zu halten. Mittlerweile verstehe ich alles ohne (vollkommen ohne!) Probleme. Dazu gibt es die Möglichkeit in live-Schaltungen über die Sprache zu sprechen und Hilfe zu holen - ach und nebenbei wurde auf der dazugehörigen Internetseite eine Möglichkeit eingerichtet, mit Japanisch lernenden auf der ganzen Welt gemeinsam zu lernen (via Sprachanruge bspw.).
Alles in allem versteht George Trombley es in didaktisch ansprechender Art und Weise auch komplexere Zusammenhänge zu vermitteln. So macht Sprache lernen Spaß! In Kurzform folgen die für mich relevanten Vorteile. Nachteile lasse ich außen vor, da diese längst nicht ins Gewicht fallen und individuell zu sehen sind:
+ Ansprachender Aufbau - didaktisch wie optisch.
+ Sprachlich so aufgebaut, dass auch für Neulinge "Aha-Erlegnisse" anfallen.
+ Häppchenweise Hiragana lernen (*).
+ Unterstützender Videokurs mit zahlreichen weiteren Möglichkeiten auf YesJapan.com.
+ Systematische Grammatik statt Phrasenlernen.
+ Mit unter 30 Euro ausgesprochen günstig für den Umfang.
(*) viele Werke raten zum Lernen aller Hiragana (Buchstaben) vorweg, da das schrittweise ersetzen (zB. a zu あ, wie bei okaasan -> okaあsan) hinderlich sei. Ich fand diesen Weg aber gerade gut.
Jetzt aber geht es erstmal mit Freunde an den zweiten Kurs!