- Series: Kodansha's Children's Classics
- Paperback: 72 pages
- Publisher: Kodansha USA; 1 edition (June 15, 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0870117092
- ISBN-13: 978-0870117091
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 0.3 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,188,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Let's Learn Hiragana: First Book of Basic Japanese Writing (Kodansha's Children's Classics) 1st Edition
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About the Author
JOYCE KOSAKA MITAMURA was an experienced and respected educator who taught Japanese in California for many years.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Japanese writing system is so different from the English alphabet that written Japanese may seem to be more complicated than it really is. Actually, Hiragana symbols, which comprise the basis of Japanese writing, are not difficult to learn. By using this workbook as a study guide, the student should be able to learn all the Hiragana symbols easily, in a relatively short time.
This workbook is specially designed and organized so that the beginning student, who is studying Japanese as a foreign language, can learn Hiragana through self-study, without the aid of an instructor. Each section contains sufficient explanation and exercises to enable students to study and practice on their own until proficiency has been attained. Consequently, the use of this workbook will eliminate the need for extensive writing drills in class. The class time can then be utilized more effectively for matters that require the presence of an instructor, such as question-and-answer type oral drills.
This book is composed of four chapters: chapter 1 introduces the forty-six basic Hiragana and the sixty-one modified symbols which are derived from them. Chapter 2 explains how to write words using Hiragana symbols. Chapter 3 shows how to write sentences, and chapter 4 contains review exercises. The derivation of Hiragana is presented in Appendix B.
In learning any foreign language, it is important to place equal emphasis on the four skills: hearing, speaking, reading and writing. Therefore, it is an essential prerequisite to become very familiar with Hiragana for the eventual mastery of Japanese. The student will find that diligent use of this workbook will be of great benefit in the quest for proficiency in Japanese.
Throughout this workbook, the Modified Hepburn System is used, for the most part, to Romanize Japanese words and sentences. This widely used system comes the closest to representing the correct Japanese sounds and facilitates learning Japanese pronunciation. It is also known as the Hyojun, or standard, System. (The original Hepburn System is no longer used, so references to the "Hepburn System" actually mean the Modified Hepburn System. The two are nearly identical, differing in only a few points.)....
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Top customer reviews
It's a fun book. You practice handwriting. You get information on the syllables and the language, and a little history and culture. But mostly you get a lot of practice to learn the proper stroke order and stroke type.
You practice reading words written in hiragana, writing words in hiragana, translating hiragana to romaji, filling in the blanks, and other exercises and games that are useful and enjoyable.
This book is a practical and efficient way to learn the 100 or so total hiragana syllables and be able to read, write, translate, remember, and comprehend words and syllables.
You can use it alone, with a CD/DVD/Software (such as Rosetta Stone) for pronunciation, or with home-made or bought flash cards for easy memorization and recall. Personally I think it complements other Japanese language learning "programs" well.
It can most definitely be used alone, without accompanying supplies or a teacher, for quick, accurate independent study of Hiragana.
If you haven't learned Hiragana yet and you plan on learning Japanese (whatever level you are or want to be) you've got to get this book! You can learn at your own pace and finish it in a couple of days or a week, but it's so well made that you're sure to get it in no time.
Good luck and Ganbatte!
The hiragana are set out in manageable chunks of 10, each of which can be learned in an hour or so of dedicated study. All in all, I finished this textbook in about a week of work (in conjunction with some other aids which I will discuss in a minute), and I felt like I had a good grasp of the entire hiragana syllabary. You could burn through this faster than that, but you'll probably get more out of it if you give yourself time for the new characters to sink in before learning the next set. Many characters look similar and if you try to go too fast, it's easy to get them confused, especially since there are no mnemonics for any of the characters in the text itself. This is where a good set of flashcards, such as the Kana Flashcards (Japanese and English Edition), will come in handy. After you learn all the basic hiragana, it will walk you through all the voiced and contracted versions in a similar fashion, and will explain the basics of forming Japanese sentences. The book ends with a series of nice review exercises that consolidate everything previously covered.
I'll outline the way I used this book, since it might be helpful to someone. When I started a new set, I filled out handwriting worksheet to practice writing the characters. Then I would write down the sounds in romanji on a piece of notebook paper and try to remember the hiragana attached to each sound(This is a good place to pull out those flashcards). Once I could remember all of them without having to look, I filled out all of the exercises except for the reading one, which I read aloud to myself (this allowed me to do reading drills multiple times without having the answers right in front of me). And then I would fill out the second handwriting worksheet, since I found that my characters tended to get a bit sloppy over time, and it was easier to remember how to write the characters correctly after I had practiced using them. During this process, and whenever I needed to review after that, I would use my flashcards, which had picture mnemonics that made it easier to recall and distinguish the various hiragana Once I knew all the basic hiragana the rest of the book , dealing with voiced and contracted hiragana and forming sentences, went fairly quickly.
If you think you'll need more practice, you could photocopy the pages and redo the exercises periodically or look up hiragana worksheets from the internet (easily found through Google). The exercises are progressive, so each new set will help you practice all the hiragana and concepts you have learned so far, not just the ones which are being focused on in that section. As another reviewer pointed out, this book does not have an answer key, but quite frankly one shouldn't be necessary, since most of the exercises are very basic ones designed to enhance memorization. It is quite easy to go back and double-check whether you used the right hiragana and punctuation without a key.
It also does a good job explaining some details about using hiragana that other books sometimes leave out. The phonetic explanations in this text seem reasonably clear, and in any case, if you're just beginning to learn Japanese, you'll have plenty of time to master pronunciation after you know your hiragana cold. The only grammatical points covered are very basic, but that's only to be expected, since this isn't a grammar book. This book should be used in conjunction with other materials, such as language learning computer software, or a good Japanese grammar book (Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure, which I will review later, could be a good start). This book is meant to teach you hiragana- and at that, it excels.
The book Kanji pict-o-graphixs has a table of katakana and hiragana with picture mnemonics to help learning them.
I would say this book is a must have for anyone trying to tackle the Japanese language.
I do wish there were more worksheets/exercises in it. The book's length is perfect if you are reviewing some previous knowledge; however if you are a real beginner, you may want to scan them first for repeated use. Doing the worksheets multiple times has been a huge help for me. I plan to purchase Let's Learn Katakana: Second Book of Basic Japanese Writing because of my great experience with hiragana in this one.