Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Guide to Learning Hiragana & Katakana cover
A guide to learning hiragana & katakana - first steps to reading and writing japanese

The book is a very useful guide in learning the Kana signs. Pronounciation and stroke order are included for each sign, while in the end of any 'set' of characters is followed by a mini review session with basic words and space for writing practice. The vocabulary may not be vast, but has exellent cultural reference and is definitely useful in both the long and short term. What is most important, it certainly helps the student to familiarize himself/herself with the scripts. Additional aspects of writting, such as consonant and vowel doubling and origins of the kana signs (how they developed out of the chinese characters) are also there. The material is divided in sets of characters (8-10), at the end of each the mini review follows. A good way to study (my suggestion) is to practice writing the characters (preferably in a blank piece fo paper, one sheet per character), do the mini review, make 'flash cards' with the words and the next day do a review of previously studied material and advance to the following set of characters. In that pace I was able to finish the book in about two weeks (I borrowed it from the campus library), but my ability to read and write was very good by the end (a couple of Japanese classmates where quite impressed). The book definitly does what it claims to do, that is to teach reading and writing the Hiragana and the Katakana. It does not claim to be a grammar, syntax, vocabulary or phrase book and does not deal in any way with such aspects of the language. It has nothing to do at all with the Kanji; nevertheless, it is rather futile attempting to read anything in Japanese without prior solid knowledge of the syallabaries (they are used to show pronounciation of the Kanji at many texts and the common script is always a mixture of Kanji and Kana signs). If you want a place to start your trip through the actual Japanese language, going beyond romanized scripts and phrase books, this is an exellent place to start.

Some good point of A Guide to Learning Hiragana & Katakana

“ Easy to learn with and a good guide for beginners. ”

 “ It could've been a lot more succint as to describing grammatical structures and etc... Good thing is, this book offers very good pictures of the kanas. ”

 “ The book definitly does what it claims to do, that is to teach reading and writing the Hiragana and the Katakana. ”

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