Issue 19: J-Book Review
Start writing in Japanese using sentence patterns and expressions!
‘d say you’d agree with me when I say, writing is a good way to practise your Japanese. After all, being able to communicate is what it’s all about. You could have memorized your whole grammar book inside and out, bringing it all together and creating a perfectly correct sentence can be a bit of a problem sometimes.
Copying and using sentence patterns from either your textbook, reading material or a chat session with a Japanese friend, is a good way to understand how to use and construct a sentence. I often like to write, but I also often struggle how to form a (correct) sentence and expressing myself. I really outta use Lang-8 more often since it’s, imo, really one of the most useful sites out there. You simply just learn a lot by writing.
Write a little every day
Because I like to write and wanted to learn how to write CORRECT Japanese, I searched for a book doing just that, rather than learning (only) from trial-by-error on sites like Lang-8. I recommend『にほんご日記ノート』, which teaches you how to improve your writing skills by using sentence patterns and expressions.
The book is divided into 30 short lessons each covering a sentence pattern (grammar). Each lesson begins with a to learn sentence pattern with 3 main examples followed by a short overview on how to construct the pattern. The next page has an in-depth explanation, explaining usage, what to pay attention to, grammar etc. Then follows a whole page of sample patterns using different expressions (a lot of examples = very handy). The book encourages you to write yourself too and the last page of each lesson let’s you do so. It first gives you (again) a sample dairy entry along with footnotes that need attention. Finally, you then can write your own entry in the book using patterns learned in that lesson at the end of each chapter. I think this is pretty effective because you need to actually implement what you’ve learned previously and therefore reinforcing it.
I love that the book uses a whole variety of practical and frequently used expression and is often very generous in doing so. There are hundreds of expressions for you to learn (copy) from and there’s even a wordlist with popular and handy words in the front of the book. This is particulary useful since Japanese often uses different wordsets when expressing certain things. By using these expressions in your diary, your Japanese writing skills will go up!
Starting to write in Japanese can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. You’ve learned the grammar, memorized the words, but putting it together in a natural way can be difficult, especially for beginners. 『にほんご日記ノート』is a great way to get into Japanese writing using easy to learn sentence patterns. Then, spice up your writing using the many expressions and useful words presented. The book is set up very easy and comfortable to read. I personally like the layout and design of the book, and even though it’s all in a darkbrown mono-color, it just looks good. All explanation is given in English, Chinese and Korean (love that!), and actually, every book SHOULD include multiple languages. Sometimes an explanation just makes more sense in another language.
I have to admit that I haven’t used the book yet (ohh, shocking! if you could only see my bookshelf!) but I’m really eager to get started (*taking a pledge: I will write more!). I do have to mention that the book doesn’t teaches very complex stuff, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We often try to create too complex sentences when in fact there’s an easier and more effective way of expressing it. And that’s what『にほんご日記ノート』teaches you. Recommended for upper beginners 〜 intermediates.
• title: にほんご日記ノート
• pages: 143
• dimensions: 25.7 x 18.5 cm
• extra: n/a
• language: Japanese – English – Chinese – Korean
• publisher: ALC (www.alc.co.jp)
• order: http://www.whiterabbitpress.com
• ISBN: 978-4-7574-1555-3
• special Chokochoko rating: 85%