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How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese: A Vocabulary Builder (Kodansha's Children's Classics) [Paperback]

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Item description for How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese: A Vocabulary Builder (Kodansha's Children's Classics) by Charles De Wolf...

For every student, a time eventually comes when basic grammar is no longer the problem. You can say a few words about the weather, or the fact that, yes, you are feeling hungry, or explain that you are going out for the day - and actually be understood. Beyond that, however, the going gets tough. You cannot make pertinent comments about philosophy, politics, art, science, law, or business - simply because you lack the necessary vocabulary. In fact, you may not be able to say that you are interested in "philosophy" at all, because you don't know the Japanese word for it. How do you go about acquiring this specialized vocabulary (most of which consists of kanji compounds)? Usually by spending hundreds of hours reading Japanese books or picking through a dictionary.
This book is an attempt to shorten that process by collecting a good number of the more commonly used key words from crucial areas of human endeavor. Now, without spending years mastering the written language, you can occasionally come up with the right word at the right moment in a conversation that is striving toward comprehensibility. This can even be done by students who do not have a strong grasp of kanji, for they can learn the words as sounds.
The areas covered in the book are ideas and theories; philosophy and religion; politics and government; the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences; science and technology; law and justice; and business and economics. This division allows the student to go the category where vocabulary is needed and learn the key words given there, rather than floundering around in a dictionary and hoping one has found what is needed. A further advantage of this arrangement is that certain kanji tend to be repeated over and over in certain categories: for example, the kanji read "gaku" in the science section of the book. This type of repetition allows the student to get a feeling for certain kanji and usages.
Beginning students can pick up individual words and put them in sentences of their own making, no matter how simple, and advanced students can get a better understanding of context by reading the sample sentences in the book. Since no one, even in their native tongue, can hope to be proficient in every field, advance students can quickly pick up key words in areas they are unfamiliar with.
Previously published in the Power Japanese series under the same title.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5" Height: 7"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2002
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770028598  
ISBN13  9784770028594  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > Dictionaries & Thesauruses > Foreign Language > Dictionaries & Thesauruses
2Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > General
3Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > Instruction > General
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > Instruction > Instruction
5Books > Subjects > Reference > General
6Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Study & Teaching

Reviews - What do customers think about How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese: A Vocabulary Builder (Kodansha's Children's Classics)?

Sounding Intelligent  Jul 29, 2008
This is a great book for the dedicated Japanese student. Many, many useful words and phrases for someone tired of the same old "introductions and asking for directions" kind of Japanese book.

-Categorized well
-Tons of great vocab
-Kanji with furigana

-Too advanced for beginners. Dedicated third year college students, or fourth year college students should definitely consider this as a supplementary text to their assigned readings.
Excellent for the professional user and advanced students  Feb 7, 2007
This little book is of great pleasur and fun. It gives you a hole lot of special and essential vocabulary,and does it with fun examples and explanations . It's a great tool for the advanced students and the only weak spot is the lack of grammar notes. I know that the aim of the book isn't grammatical, but I would loved it if there were some Keigo, Ukemi and other advanced notes. All together a very fun book that will build up your vocab confidence.
Surprised at some comment...  Mar 8, 2005
I am a little surprised at some of the other reviews of this book. It's title I feel can be a little misleading and there is no way this book will make you sound "pedantic or insincere". It really is a Vocabulary Builder and is meant to be a quick and concise way to build specialist vocabulary across many topics. I am quick to add though, that this is not specialist vocabulary in your native language, in fact if you could not speak on the topics and using the words described in English in this book you would most probably be considered ignorant. Too many people live in Japan, learn a little Japanese and then think that the Japanese don't talk about politics, business, science, religon etc in everyday ilfe. The sad fact may be they don't talk to you about it because they don't think you could talk about it.

This book is a great way to learn a lot of vocab. Chapters are split into topics with an excellent background and etymology for most chapters and also excellent examples in both romaji and kanji, so you can increase your kana and spoken comprehension at the same time. If you are already a fairly strong reader and speaker of japanese this book can help you reach into new topics.
For professional users of Japanese  May 5, 2004
As a longtime student and translator of the Japanese language, I would like to see more books like this on the market, in contrast to the sea of books that focus on Japanese slang, foreign loanwords, and profanity. Japanese academics and professionals who operate in an English-speaking environment don't expect to get a free pass on difficult English vocabulary. "How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese" seems to be based on the premise that foreign speakers of Japanese should also be able to handle advanced terminology.

Historically, native Japanese speakers have been amazed at a foreigner who can manage even a passable sentence or two in their language. Ten years ago, it was not uncommon for Japanese to heap praise on an American visitor to Tokyo for correctly ordering lunch without resorting to English. Americans were even complimented for knowing how to say "konnichiwa" and "ohayoo gozaimasu."

Today, the bar has been raised substantially, and a reasonable comprehension of professional and academic terminology is needed in order to be taken seriously as a foreign speaker of Japanese. This is especially true if you intend to rely on your Japanese skills in a professional context. "How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese" can help the intermediate student to polish her skills to the point where Japanese speakers will regard her as an adult speaker of their language.

The book is laid out in a convenient thematic format, so you can focus on the areas which are most relevant to your own needs and interests (science, law, etc.) There are enough example sentences to give you a sense of the context in which the specialized vocabulary items are used. Nonetheless, this book does assume an intermediate to advanced grasp of Japanese, so it may be a bit too much for first-year students; and the book doesn't offer much in the way of grammatical instruction.

However, this is an extremely valuable resource for intermediate students who want to ease into more complex subject matters in Japanese. After working diligently through this book, the student will have the appetite and confidence necessary to tackle the publications that Japanese professionals themselves read.

Waste of Monetary Funds  Jan 10, 2003
This book will teach you how to sound pedantic and insincere in Japanese. It is basically a list of buzz words that stupid people throw around in the states to sound smart. It teaches absolutely no grammar, so you will spit out words like "radioactive waste" in broken, incorrect Japanese.

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