Basic Japanese takes a friendly and innovative approach to beginner Japanese, emphasizing the structure of the Japanese language rather than just vocabulary.
This method was pioneered by the author, Samuel E. Martin
. Once considered controversial, modern linguists now agree that the structural based approach for leaning a language allows for more effective retention than the traditional repetition-based approach. It is especially effective for self–study and first–time learners as well as in a classroom setting. The MP3 Audio–CD helps to reinforce pronunciation and build listening comprehension.
Each lesson is set up to ease learners into not just understanding new material but mastering it, using a four-step method:
- Step 1: Basic Sentences: Each lesson begins with the key to quick mastery of spoken Japanese—learning and understanding new sentence patterns. Vocabulary is learned in context. A Basic Vocabulary section lists only essential words and phrases that are relevant to the theme of the lesson.
- Step 2: Structure Notes: Next the learner is guided through complete, in-depth explanations of the sentences' grammar essentials, to aid in mastering the sentence patterns.
- Step 3: Conversation: Authentic dialogue teaches the way people naturally speak, putting into practice the lesson's sentence patterns with common, everyday topics.
- Step 4: Exercises: An opportunity for practicing—and for strengthening your understanding of the lesson's key points and ability to read Japanese.
Accomplished teacher Eriko Sato has produced an excellent revision of Samuel Martin's classic text for the classroom and self-learners wishing to learn Japanese, while remaining true to Martin's voice and teaching style. Together they make the challenge of learning Japanese at once manageable, practical, and fun.
Samuel E. Martin was a master teacher of the Japanese language and a major force in language learning in the postwar U.S. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees in Oriental languages from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Yale University. At Yale he served as chairman of the Department of East and South Asian Languages and Literatures and the Department of Linguistics. He is the author of numerous books and papers on Japanese and Korean, including the definitive A Reference Grammar of Japanese and A Reference Grammar of Korean.
Eriko Sato is lecturer of Japanese and Japanese linguistics and the director of the Pre-College Japanese Program and the Teacher Certification Program for Japanese at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she received her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1996. She authored Japanese for Dummies (Wiley, 2002), Japanese Demystified (McGraw Hill, 2008), and Contemporary Japanese: A Textbook for College Students (Tuttle, 2005), and co-authored My First Japanese Kanji Book (Tuttle, 2009) and Essential Japanese Grammar (Tuttle, 2012).
"This book excels at differentiating really similar concepts, even adding more to the never-ending question of 'What is the difference between [this character] and [this character]?' The vocabulary words are also thematically arranged, usually with illustrations for some words for better memory reinforcement. Pronunciation in the CD tracks actually sounds natural compared to other learning materials" —Japan Reference blog