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A Dictionary of Japanese Particles (A Kodansha Dictionary) [Paperback]

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Item description for A Dictionary of Japanese Particles (A Kodansha Dictionary) by Sue A. Kawashima...

For English-speaking students of Japanese, particles are perhaps the most difficult aspect of the language to learn. It would be no exaggeration to say that, for most people, they can never be completely mastered. Thus, the study of particles is a lifetime undertaking, and students need a lifelong companion to help them along the way. That companion is A Dictionary of Japanese Particles.
Covering over 100 particles in alphabetical order, the dictionary explains the meanings of each (most have more than one) and gives sample sentences for each meaning.
Illustrations are provided where necessary for clarification. There are also exercises at the back of the book for those who wish to test their knowledge of particle usage. Appendices and endpaper charts are provided for easy access.
A Dictionary of Japanese Particles is an essential reference work, meant to be used over the years as students continue to confront puzzling particles.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 1999
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770023529  
ISBN13  9784770023520  

Availability  0 units.

More About Sue A. Kawashima

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! SUE A. KAWASHIMA received BA (Cum Laude) and MA degrees from Columbia University and is now a lecturer in Japanese language at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Dictionary of Japanese Particles (A Kodansha Dictionary)?

She is my teacher at Hunter College  Jan 27, 2008
Eight years after the last person who posted about Kawashima-sensei being their professor, here I am posting because she is my professor this year at Hunter College, three times a week. She is wonderful, and so is her dictionary of particles which she often refers to in class. She has us read the chapter on each particle we learn, and it is certainly enjoyable with all its lovely illustrations (drawn by Kawashima-sensei!) and is very detailed in it's information. A very good dictionary of particles by a wonderful teacher and author.
Very good, but not in-depth enough.  Jul 19, 2005
I may be 13 years old, but I have been studying Japanese for about 10 months. Yet I already know about 340 kanji, can write kana almost as well as english, and already studied particles from a previous book. The book I previously used was barely in-depth at all. I had so many questions that I couldnt have answers to. So I came on this site to look for a better book. I saw this book, read the reviews, and got it.
I bought this book about a month ago, and when I first bought it and looked at it I thought it was awesome. However, the more I read in this book, I had more questions than answers. This book covers the basic particles wonderfully and deeply, but it lacks in some details with other particles. Like the difference between "made" and "kiri" to translate into the word 'just' and so on and so forth. This book is great to begginners, but I dont recommend it to people who want and in-depth study into particles.
This book is absolutely perfect.  Apr 14, 2005
You cannot make progress, let alone master this language, without proper comprehension of particles and their rules and exceptions. This book is an indispensable companion for any student. The book simply explodes with information, including many good example sentences, concise usage explanations, and quick-reference sections with english equivalents and review exercises.
You should have this book.
Great book on Japanese particles  Mar 10, 2004
In some ways, particles are the key to Japanese grammar, which are one of the many ways Japanese differs from Indo-European languages like English. As the author points out, someone can have a very good grasp of nouns and verb conjugations in Japanese, and yet without particles, still can't construct a grammatical Japanese sentence. And by using two different particles, two sentences that are otherwise the same can be made to mean totally different things.

The definition portion of the book discusses all the particle meanings, giving main as well as variant meanings. There are lots of example sentences, which are in both Roman transliteration and Japanese script. Another helpful aid is the 12 x 14 table of particles in blue in the front and end papers of the book, which is very convenient. At 340 pages long, there is a lot of material here considering it's not that expensive a book.

In the grammar discussion section, the author shows why you just can't replace the prepositions in an English sentence with the particles in Japanese. For example, take the sentence, "My mother and my father had dinner at a restaurant in Tokyo with a friend," which is Watashi NO haha TO chichi WA tomodachi TO issho NI tookyoo NO resuturan DO yuushoku O tabe-mashita in Japanese (the particles are in all caps). This sentence contains 8 particles serving various functions and only two prepositions, so obviously they aren't equivalent.

Particles can serve many different functions, ranging from altering the meaning of the verb to functions that resemble case-marking in Indo-European and other Ural- Altaic languages. The Negara particle indicates that the action described by the verb it follows is being carried out at the same time as another action is taking place. The English approximation is "while doing" or "also doing," as in Boku WA ongaku o, kiki negara doraibu o shita, which means, "I was listening to music while I drove."

Other interesting particles include Tara, which indicates the subject or topic of the sentence, similar to the case marking in so-called Active languages, as opposed to the Nominative-Accusative pattern in English in most Indo-European languages, or the Ergative-Absolutive pattern found in Eskimo, Caucasian languages, south Pacific island and Austronesian languages, and so on. (Basque is also an ergative language, but is the only one in Europe that is.) Then there is the Nite particle, which is placed after a noun of location, which shows where an action took place. This also seems similar to the locative case in many languages, although technically Japanese lacks cases. To give one final example, the TO particle performs a listing function and is used when naming things in succession.

Since Japanese has no case structure and all but two of the verbs are completely regular, Japanese lacks many of the difficulties encountered in other languages. Compared to Indo-European patterns, it isn't very rich in verb forms that deal with time, and it even lacks a true future tense (which Latin does too, interestingly enough). However, it makes up for this in it's variety of modal constructions which indicate the speaker's attitude toward the subject, possibility, probability, conditionality, and so on, and in the complex particle system. This book will help you master this extremely important aspect of Japanese grammar.

I never knew there were so many particles!  Mar 7, 2004
I've been studying Japanese for about 3 years and I'm approximately JLPT 2kyuu level. However, I was dumbfounded when I saw this book. Every page there's particles I never even knew existed. I mean you always learn the basic particles in school: wa, ga, de, ni, to, mo, made, kara, yo, ne, bakari, hodo, yori, etc. And you even learn how to combine particles for compound particles: ni wa, ni mo, made ni, kara mo, just to name a few. But do you know what "made mo" is? In all the Japanese books I've ever seen, this has never even been given a mention. Did you know that "nite" was equivalent to "de" to mean the location where an action takes place? I'd never even HEARD of "nite". How about "kara shite"? I learned "tokoro de" to mean "by the way", but I had never even thought of the fact that perhaps "tokoro e", "tokoro ga", or "tokoro wo" existed. And they don't mean anything like what you might expect.

This book is a true gem.


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