Wednesday, February 21, 2007

AJALT Japanese for busy people, Kana version

When we got into Brisbane we had this sinking feeling that the Japanese we knew from Pimsleur wouldn't be enough to get us by in Japan, so we headed out to a Barnes & Noble and picked up this book. It's pretty good. It's divided into Units, which are further divided into lessons. Each Unit deals with a grammatical element, and the lessons illustrate different sentence structures using said grammar. Each lesson begins and ends with a short dialog that you can read and / or listen to on the included CD. Then there is a brief section of vocabulary that will be used through out the lesson, which is also on the CD so you can nail the pronunciation. Finally there are many repetitive exercises to drill home what you are learning. We got the Kana version so that we could start to learn to read and write basic Japanese as well as speak it. This was a blessing and a curse. While it helped to know some Kana for reading a few signs and menu items, it really slowed down our process in getting through the lessons. You have to learn it sometime, but trying to learn to write, read, and speak all at the same time is too much, and it would be better just to get the Romanji version so all you're focusing on is the speaking. We also picked up AJALT's Kana work book, which really would have been enough to get the basics of reading and writing. Aside from the Kana hang up, this system works pretty well, and there are two more books in the series to grow on.