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Making Sense of Japanese : What the Textbooks Don't Tell You Paperback – May, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
And I guess that is how it is when learning languages. Only the true geniuses of language can grasp these things in a ready and total fashion. And unfortunately for me, this piecemeal approach left me missing things from my study of the language. And then Jay Rubin stepped in.
Jay Rubin knows the Japanese language. He teaches it, and is a translator of Japanese literature. (Most famously he translated into English Murakami Haruki's "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" and "Norwegian Wood", as well as writing a biography of Murakami.) To steal a line from Lawrence of Arabia, "He knows his stuff."
And so it is that Rubin decided to stuff all that stuff into a book for those of us who struggle with the more delicate grammatical issues of the Japanese language. And he does so with brilliance and wit and ease of use that I have yet to have seen surpassed. "Making Sense of Japanese" is indeed a precious little gem in my collection of Japanese learning aids that fills in so many holes in the facade of my shoddy language capacity. For instance:
Wa and Ga - Never before has there been a more thorough and easy to remember explanation of the delicate differences between these two particles.Read more ›
The title pretty much sums it up when it says "What the Textbooks Don't Tell You." This book ! ! essentially takes the information from your textbooks and makes sense of it. If you study independently, like me, this book should be on your list. If you don't need this book, you probably know someone who does.
If it is credibility you're looking for, Jay Rubin has it: besides a position as a professor of Japanese at an ivy league, he is a famous translator whose works read like English rather than an attempt to superimpose foreign syntax upon each sentence. In other words, this is someone who is comfortable with Japanese and can explain it both as an expert and as one who at one time studied it in school (and struggled, as he explains briefly.)
As for content, the book is concise, funny (I laughed out loud a dozen times,) and incredibly helpful. The content is focused upon the greatest ills of English-speaking students of the Japanese language. The book begins with a fun introduction in which Rubin assaults the myth that Japanese is somehow vague or alien in comparison to other languages of the world. He begins by debunking the tale oft-perpetuated by well-meaning Japanese instructors. You know what I'm talking about: the subjectless sentence. In actuality, these are NOT subjectless anymore than an English sentence using a pronoun or demonstrative is subjectless. Rubin spends time warning the reader to re-evaluate his/her understanding of what it means to have a passive/intransitive verb versus one with an agent and helps to once and for all expell the confusion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I expected a book about Japanese. With more examples, and at least written in Kana and Kanji.Published 1 month ago by Max Parker
Rubin explains the finer points of Japanese grammar while making you laugh out loud.Published 3 months ago by Elin Säfström
The Romaji makes this book unreadable. This book doesn't make sense to me.Published 4 months ago by skeptik
Unbelivably readable. A real student of Japanese will lve it.Published 4 months ago by Marianne E. Graham
Very useful in understanding the difference(s) between Wa and Ga, a part of Japanese that trumps tons of Japanese students.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a brilliant and fascinating book. As a beginner a fair amount of it went over my head, but it's still interesting if you're trying to get a handle on the primary... Read morePublished 7 months ago by D.J. Howard
If you are a teacher of Japanese, you owe it to your students to read this book. It will help immensely in the effort to clearly convey some important distinctions that are often... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Get this book for the explanation of は and が, and implicit pronouns. The rest of the book contains things you may or may not pick up from intermediate studies, but it can't hurt. Read morePublished 12 months ago by NH