Learn to Read in Japanese: A Japanese Reader

    learn to read in japanese

    It's not every day that a new, old-fashioned (and by old-fashioned I mean paperback, not digital) Japanese textbook appears on the scene. Most new content aimed at teaching Japanese is located online nowadays, which is why I was so shocked to see a new book appear on my radar. Learn to Read in Japanese: A Japanese Reader was released at the tail end of December and is a pretty hefty paperback. It's meant to be used by Western speakers who are starting to get into reading Japanese. This is brought to you by the people who run JapaneseAudioLessons.com, which already has tons of free audio content.

    The tome contains 608 "target" kanji (those kanji deemed most common and important while reading) and 4,200 practice sentences. That is a ton of content for a textbook. For many people, the search for reliable context sentences can be a major pain in the butt. Many online dictionaries have an example sentence section, but they don't include readings for the kanji, and some have questionable English translations, while others don't even include where the sentence came from in the first place. With 103 small chapters, broken up by the kanji sets they use, this is a fantastic example sentence resource. Each Japanese sentence comes with a romaji pronunciation breakdown and a very literal English translation. The translations are purposefully specific and not necessarily "proper" English, but they get the original Japanese meaning across — something that can be an issue when looking at more localized translations.

    If you're looking for a good supplement to your everyday learning methods, especially if you're getting ready to read Japanese in the wild, this book has plenty of content to work through. You will also pick up kanji as you progress, if you aren't already a master at that. And it's especially nice for people who hate learning off of a computer screen.

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