November 22, 2011 at 4:23 am #21102
^reading exercises? Hmm…just read (yotsuba or read real japanese and so on), if you NEED exercises? I’m not that sure.
Like others I’m going to also recommend Tae Kim if you haven’t finished it already. If you want a Textbook but you don’t want an EXPENSIVE one, then Japanese For Everyone is very cheap and contains a lot of info in such a small format (both a pro and a con). I think its only $20 from amazon.November 22, 2011 at 5:00 am #21105
Thanks, I’m talking about structured exercises though that are based on the readers level. For me that made learning from textbooks better than anything I’ve found online (not counting pure vocab resources/SRS). A beginner doesn’t have a chance of understanding Yotsuba, but a good textbook should have him reading easy paragraphs in Japanese right from the beginning, based on his level. Then build up in complexity as he learns new grammar, so by the end he is reading conversations, short stories and articles in Japanese.
It may not sound much, and some may not care for them, but for me such exercises improved my reading comprehension in a way that I was never going to get from just reading short, contextless example sentences on Tae Kim, or in a reference book. I actually went through all of Tae Kim before doing any standard textbooks, but I found there wasn’t enough reading practice in there, and when I tried native material I didn’t understand enough of it to really get any benefit from trying to use it as practice – my reading comprehension wasn’t good enough.
Going through the Genki books and then on to ‘Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese’ (which is written entirely in Japanese, aside from the grammar, and is a fantastic book) improved my reading ability so massively that I can no longer dismiss textbooks as a learning tool. I think some people just benefit from more structured learning and practice, while others do better jumping right into more difficult stuff. It’s good to have to so many options available, and would seem a mistake to dismiss any of them too easily when making recommendations, as we all learn differently.
I think a lot of people discount how useful good exercises can be though, and no online based textbooks seem to have put any effort into this area. Though Lang-8 can largely take care of the writing based stuff.November 22, 2011 at 7:07 am #21106
Oh just to emphasize, Japanese for Everybody (different from Minna No Nihongo) has really natural dialogue sequences, but not pure reading I think.
Also its probably my perception, that even if you can read Yotsuba you are still only near beginner level, but thats maybe because I dont feel that good at Japanese at the moment haha.
Something else that I havent really explored myself is graded readers, which they do make for JLPT N5. I think they’d be really good. Although I dont know if they actually have excercises, some might?
November 22, 2011 at 9:35 am #21108
- This reply was modified 12 years, 3 months ago by Sheepy.
Reading exercises are just short stories and articles in the target language that are specifically written to be readable by learners who have gone through the associated lesson. Then the next lesson they will learn new grammar and have another reading exercise which incorporates the new grammar, along with grammar learned in previous lessons so that they build up in complexity as you progress. It provides a good sense of progression and builds up your reading comprehension over time.
I think graded readers would probably be similar and a good alternative (though probably not as specifically structured), but I haven’t seen any that are available to read online. Unless you’re lucky it seems the only option is to import from Japan, it’s a good idea though.
I think Yotsuba is mostly just hard for beginners because it’s so full of casual language, contractions and expressions that learners likely haven’t encountered. I don’t think it’s all that great for focused reading practice anyway as it’s mostly just brief dialogue exchanges (no written descriptions and so on), but it’s enjoyable and that’s important. Reading anything is good. I think some of the popular children’s books/stories are perhaps a bit more useful for practice, but maybe I’m wrong.
Really though, the point was that a good textbook will have beginners reading easy Japanese from before they’re even at that stage, so right from the beginning they’ll be working on their reading comprehension and it will keep improving from there at a steady pace. Of course some textbooks are better than others, and not many are cheap :(November 22, 2011 at 11:37 am #21132
I appreciate every book recommended here, and I think this discussion is very interesting! I have bought “Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication”, but I think some of the other recommended books look very interesting. I am currently looking on reviews for some of them, and I will most likely be picking up 1-2 more(depending on the cost).
Thanks!November 22, 2011 at 11:46 pm #21215
Yeah its weird because Yotsuba is such a mixed specimen. Disregarding it as a learning tool, its one of my favorite manga of all time, its cute and somewhat childish but even for adults the humor is pulled off so well and with such clean artwork, I cant fault it
In terms of learning though its weird. I don’t think I know an easier manga, but casual/slang wise its incredibly dense with. Either way its always good to just be doing SOMETHING. Some people end up obsessing over which method is best/safest but don’t get into it.November 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm #21258
How about living in Nihon?November 23, 2011 at 10:28 pm #21260January 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm #23643
This book is really good for reading practice.
http://www.amazon.com/Homestay-Japan-Nihon-Deai/dp/0962813761/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325733178&sr=8-1January 5, 2012 at 12:38 am #23660
This thread was started on November 9th, and I have decided what I wanted to continue with a loooong time ago, thanks for the advice though.January 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm #23939
What did you go for?January 7, 2012 at 4:56 am #23974
RTK, Tae Kim, Japanese Sentence patterns [...] & a sentence deck.
I tried to download PDF versions of some of the textbooks you guys recommended, and I wasn’t really impressed with most of them (and they cost $$$) so I decided to stick with Tae Kim for now. I might decide to pick up a textbook at some point, but I think I would prefer A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar to a textbook.
Again, thanks for the recommendations, made it easier for me to make a choice :DJanuary 7, 2012 at 6:03 am #23978
You should get Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar regardless of whether or not you get anything else :)January 7, 2012 at 6:14 am #23979
I just started using Genki for reading practice this week, as Elenkis suggested. It’s really a great reading resource. It’s hard (impossible) to find texts suited for N4/N5 level of Japanese. Even example sentences for N4 level at ReadTheKanji.com have higher level kanji and grammar in them, making comfortable reading impossible. And the price of Japanese Graded Readers is just too damn high! :)January 7, 2012 at 6:34 am #23982
You should get Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar regardless of whether or not you get anything else :)
I know it is a good idea to get it, but what I wanted to point out was that I would rather be studying grammar in Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar than in a textbook ^^
As for now I will wait till I have completed RTK before buying new materials.
- This reply was modified 12 years, 1 month ago by マーク・ウェーバー.
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