Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary

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Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary

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Review of "Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary"

published 15/08/2007 | kaledrina
Member since : 30/07/2007
Reviews : 25
Members who trust : 3
About me :
Excellent
Pro 4 books in one, clear, practice exercises
Cons None
very helpful

"Nihongo ga dai suki desu!"

(I love Japanese!)
I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture and history, so the next logical step for me seemed to be to learn the language. I started around 6 months ago, learning the scripts and some basic grammar but doing it all through the internet (which is fine, if you can find what you need). A few months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to get a dictionary as a ‘physical’ base for my learning.

Looking in my local bookshop there were quite a few books on Japanese – but only two actual dictionaries, as the rest were phrasebooks. One of the dictionaries was way too big and so I settled on the other - the ‘Oxford Beginner’s Japanese Dictionary’ for £10.99.

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Layout
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The Oxford Beginner’s lists its words in the Japanese section in ‘hiragana’, a script. Therefore if you’ve never learnt any of the scripts and you want to know what a word means you’ll be a bit stuck. ‘Hiragana’ is a syllabic script, so it also offers the ‘kanji’ (character) for that word, which is generally more commonly used in Japanese. This usage of both makes it very useful for beginners, as hiragana is generally easy to learn whereas kanji has around 50,000 characters to its name!

The characters are very clearly set out in blue whereas the meanings are in black, making it easy to see everything.

The Japanese-English section is first. Then there is a very useful section in the middle which is to do with grammar and other peculiarities of the Japanese language. So here, you’ll find verb tables, tables for hiragana and katakana (another script), and pages about formality of language, a mini phrase-book and so on. There is then the English-Japanese section and finally yet another useful section on Japanese culture which will tell you about geisha, tea drinking, shrines, and pretty much anything to do with Japan.

The range of this dictionary is therefore absolutely incredible – as it has a mini phrase-book, culture guide, grammar guide etc, it is essentially about 4 books in one, making it essential for a beginner.

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Quality of Entries
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(Note, as said before the dictionary uses Japanese script, but as I am aware that not everyone has the feature to display Japanese characters on their computer I will use ‘romaji’, a romanized form to show an example.)

HAPPY adjective
- (content) = shiawase(na)
To make happy = shiawaseni suru
I’m happy with this language school = kono gogaku gakkouni manzo kushiteimasu.
- (in greetings)
Happy Birthday! = o-tanjoubi omedetou!
Happy New Year! = akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

And a shorter example:

GIRLFRIEND
(in a couple) = gaarufurendo
(a female friend) = annano tomodachi

As you can see, pretty much everything you would need as a beginner and more are covered.

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Notes
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Throughout the dictionary there are also useful ‘notes’ to help you gain a better understanding of the language, for example one under ‘to be’ is:

“! There is no exact equivalent of this verb in Japanese”

These notes are fairly common and make it a lot easier to understand the language.

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Practises
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Aside from the numerous other uses this book has another is the exercises near the back of the book which help you practise word order, false friends, transitive/intransitive verbs and many more. And it has the answers too, which many books seem to lack! These exercises, whilst short, are invaluable and really help you to gauge how well you are doing so far.

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How to use…
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Something I probably should’ve mentioned at the beginning, at the beginning of the dictionary the author has provided an excellent guide to finding verbs and adjectives by converting them into dictionary forms, and also a mini guide on English grammar so you know exactly what, for example, superlatives are.

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Summary
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If you are learning Japanese, you need this book! There is no other way of putting it. You could save yourself a few pounds as well as this really is everything you need to know as a beginner condensed into one – it isn’t just a dictionary, it’s a phrase book, a grammar guide, a culture guide – granted not as detailed as separate guides but detailed enough for beginners. It’s clear, it’s got many, many meanings, and at 15,000 words it isn’t too overboard for a beginner – it’s just got the words that you’ll need to know at the beginning of your education. Highly recommended!

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Stats
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£10.99 RRP
Published by Oxford
15,000 words
20,000 translations

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Comments on this review

  • vonney1967 published 15/08/2007
    EXCEPTIONAL write xxx
  • MarcoG published 15/08/2007
    Konichi-wa - have a shiawase day :)
  • kaledrina published 15/08/2007
    Sou desu ne, Mitsudan-san? Arigatou to everyone :)
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Product Information : Oxford Beginner's Japanese Dictionary

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Listed on Ciao since: 06/08/2007