Many have asked me how I studied Japanese as a beginner. Genki or Minna no Nihongo is probably what most people have used, but for me, I seemed to use more textbooks written in Chinese or Korean.
If you are learning Korean and thinking of starting Japanese, here are 2 books you can consider!
- 일본어 무작정 따라하기 (beginner)
- 일본어 분법 무작정 따라하기 (intermediate)
There is a huge selection of learning Japanese books in Korean bookstores. What attracted me to these two was their tagline (듣기만 해도 말이 나오는..). I found the method used here quite refreshing and fun. There is a focus on listening so basically it’s like learning through audio examples!
Basically, the idea is that you keep hearing sentences and examples and then somehow you will get the grammar pattern and then learn new words.
A book you can use anywhere, during commute or at home!
일본어 무작정 따라하기 (beginner)
The book starts out with the usual introduction of Hiragana and Katakana and moves straight away into using the writing system (no romanisation or Hangeul-isation).
It starts with simple sentences to get the learner accustomed to grammar points and new vocabulary are also introduced via example sentences.
Kanji is used around halfway through the book and I actually like how they just use it and not bother with ‘teaching it’. Okay, I know this may not work for everyone, but I liked it. It trains you to recognise characters but probably doesn’t do much for the writing part.
I love how it’s very audio-focused, so right from the start it trains your ears to get used to the intonation / pronunciation etc! You don’t really feel like you are studying, so this book is good for auditory learners!
There are loads of extra notes / cultural stuff and little exercises that I really enjoy!
A book that I really loved and hence I bought the intermediate one too!
일본어 분법 무작정 따라하기 (intermediate)
Funnily enough, I didn’t use the intermediate book that much because I was using other books and by the time I come to it, I had learnt quite a lot of what was covered already. I think one drawback of this book is that it’s time consuming. Since it’s best used with the audio, you have to spend quite a bit of time listening to stuff.
There isn’t a glossary too, so I found it hard to find the grammar points I needed more help with to revise.
That being said, I thought it was very well organised and covered a lot of grammar points, so if you prefer learning via a resource that isn’t that ‘textbook-y’ or dry, this might be the book for you!
There are passages every now and then too, so great reading practice!!
I love how they are exercises that you can use to practice using the said grammar point too! Listen and learn via examples and then apply what you learn!
Simple, but effective method.
Each book also comes with a ‘portable’ version, so basically just all the transcripts of the audio stuff, so you can bring it out to revise whenever, wherever!
All in all, I love these books and would recommend them 😀
What I love:
- Great structure
- Fun learning approach
- Great use of audio learning
- Extra notes / explanations were helpful
- Practical exercises
What can be improved:
You can get the books at major Korean bookstores or via Gmarket! There are also a number of other books in the series (: