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Kodanshas Dictionary of Basic Japanese Idioms (Kodansha's Children's Classics) [Paperback]

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Item description for Kodanshas Dictionary of Basic Japanese Idioms (Kodansha's Children's Classics) by Kodansha International...

Idioms are difficult to learn in any language, but unless they are learned, it is impossible to speak with fluency. This is as true of the Japanese language as of any other. Now, within the covers of one book, the basic Japanese idioms have been collected together for easy reference. The Japanese idiom appears first, followed by its English equivalent, and finally the idiom is illustrated in a sentence, or sentences, so that the student can see precisely how it functions. Some idioms have notes explaining usage problems and historical background. All are given in Japanese script and romanized text with English translations. There are approximately 880 entries, many of which have several senses.
Students who have mastered these idioms will be able to express themselves much more easily and with greater impact than they could have otherwise. The book can be used as a reference book for looking up idioms that one has either heard or found in a book, or it can be used to find the Japanese equivalent for an English word or phrase by using the English index at the end of the book. All in all, Kodansha's Dictionary of Basic Japanese Idioms deserves a place on the bookshelf of every aspiring student of the language.
Compiled from four books in Kodansha International's Power Japanese series: "Body" Language, Communicating with Ki: The "Spirit" in Japanese Idioms, Kanji Idioms, and Animal Idioms.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   669
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.25" Height: 7"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 28, 2002
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770027974  
ISBN13  9784770027979  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kodansha International

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! THE ASSOCIATION FOR JAPANESE-LANGUATE TEACHING (AJALT) has been recognized as a nonprofit organization by the Ministry of Education since 1997. It was established to meet the practical needs of people who are not necessarily specialists on Japan but who wish to communicate effectively in Japanese.
In 1992 the Association was awarded the Japan Foundation Special Prize.

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Product Categories

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

Reviews - What do customers think about Kodanshas Dictionary of Basic Japanese Idioms (Kodansha's Children's Classics)?

Entertaining, but Japanese Friend Needed  Apr 27, 2008
There's a little down and a lot of up. I wouldn't say it's a must-have, but it is enjoyable to "thumb through."

The Down

I've had this book for a while, and referenced it considerably little because it seems i rarely find what i look for. Like just now i was looking for something like "be picky" or "pick and choose" and "take your time" but they are not in here.

There are definitely phrases that no one uses; this may be due to the phrases being antiquated, or the Japanese person who tells you "we don't use these" is from a region that doesn't use them.

The Up
However, along your search for your phrase of interest, you'll run into *tons* of things that you would find yourself saying in English. For example, I was just looking for "picky" and found "pick at" (which made me think of "nitpicking" which i looked for, and, of course, didn't find). I looked for "take your time" and found "take it easy", "take someone seriously", "ten-foot pole", etc. Which leads me to the next thing.

The index is very good.

The organization of the book is intended to clump idioms under the one element that they all use. For example, "pick at" uses the element of "foot/leg," which is "grab someone's foot while it's in the air." So, too, does the idiom for "have your head in the clouds," which is "someone's feet aren't touching the ground."
The two idioms are both under the "Foot/Leg" section. There are also sections for "spirit/mind", "head", "blood", "butterfly", "frog", "neck", "body", "eye", as well as others.
This dictionary puts them in alphabetical (yes roman, not kana) order based on their romanization. So the the section for "mimi" (ear) comes before the section for "sune" (shin) because "m" comes before "s", even though "su" comes before "mi" in the kana.

This may be an interesting dictionary for three reasons to you.
1) the number of English idioms you'll find that you never really think about is pretty high. Idioms make up a significant part of everyday language, and you realize this as you read through the index in this dictionary, and deduce that it must be the same in Japanese (or any language for that matter)
2) The difference in the way Japanese express the same idea will have you laughing out loud. And again, you reflect this, but instead of to Japanese, back to English. Like why did we settle on the term "block head", or "meat head?" It's ha-ha funny!
3) For some sections (like the above mentioned, or "crow"), there is a paragraph explaining why the element is used for the ideas that these idioms express. I like that kind of stuff.

More on the Up side, the print is clean and clear, and the pages are easy to read.

My Recommendation
Since we're not learning Japanese to talk to ourselves we should make sure we confirm with a native speaker to see if the phrases of interest are in use the first time you get a chance to use it. You don't want to sound like that dude going around saying that something is "crazy fresh!" when folks stopped saying that 5 minutes after they started. That kind of "old" should be avoided. But classics like "something else" (e.g., I tell you that Kobe Bryant is something else on the court) and "meat head" are "cool" to use.

But you never know what you'll run into while reading fiction that takes place in different times, or the main characters are children at school where you might see the idiom for "copy catting" (which i just saw is in here -- monkey mimicking).
yokoso  Apr 21, 2008
what struck me most about this dictionary is the number of example sentences for every entry. These example sentences sometimes develop into a full paragraph. I do not know for sure whether these idioms are practically used in daily conversation. Yet I find it is useful for improving my Japanese.

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