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Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia: For All Levels [Paperback]

By Hiroko Fukuda & Tom Gally (Translator)
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Item description for Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia: For All Levels by Hiroko Fukuda & Tom Gally...

Onomatopoeia is one of the most outstanding features of the Japanese language. Its acquisition is essential for students who wish to speak (or understand) natural Japanese, read literature or manga, or watch anime in the original. The problem is that Japanese onomatopoeic words are so different from their English equivalents (words such as pop, bang, splat, and squeak) that they are extremely hard to remember and put into practice.
The book begins with an introduction that outlines what "onomatopoeia" means in both English and Japanese. It covers sound and meaning in general, onomatopoeia in English, sound symbolism in English and Japanese, Japanese onomatopoeia and mimesis, types of Japanese onomatopoeia, grammatical functions of Japanese onomatopoeia, Japanese written forms, and how new Japanese onomatopoeic words are formed (for example, in manga).
This introductory material is all-important, for without the overall picture it presents, students are forced to learn Japanese onomatopoeia by rote, one word at a time, as if each was unique unto itself, as if each had no logical connection with any other word, and as if Japanese onomatopoeia was a huge, ugly hodgepodge instead of the beautiful, well-organized microcosm that it is.
However, this introduction alone would not suffice to produce fluency. Onomatopoeia must be seen in action for that to happen. This is done in the second part of the book, which consists of eleven situational dialogues that allow students to eavesdrop on Japanese speaking the way they do in real life. The dialogues are given in Japanese script (with furigana over all kanji), romanization, and English translation. Each example of onomatopoeia that appears in the dialogue has its own commentary, including definitions, usage, and two or more sample sentences. Cultural notes are given when they help to clarify the situation presented in the dialogue. Each dialogue is followed by a quiz.
With its edifying introduction and lively dialogues, Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia: For All Levels will, without a doubt, help students come to grips with this intriguing aspect of the Japanese language, whether they be intermediate students who can benefit from seeing onomatopoeia used in a variety of situations or beginning students who, as they slowly add new onomatopoeia to their vocabulary, will profit from seeing how these words fit into a larger, fully developed scheme. The book will also, whatever the level, make Japanese much more fun to study.
Previously published in Kodansha International's Power Japanese series under the title Flip, Slither, & Bang: Japanese Sound and Action Words (1993). Now with a new introduction and quizzes.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.25"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 12, 2003
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  477002956X  
ISBN13  9784770029560  

Availability  0 units.

More About Hiroko Fukuda & Tom Gally

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! HIROKO FUKUDA, born in Tokyo, graduated from Keio University with a major in Japanese literature, after which she studied the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language in the International Division of Aoyama Gakuin University. After working as an editor, Japanese teacher, translation coordinator,
and program director of language courses, she undertook the study of Applied Linguistics and Communication at the Graduate School of Aoyama Gakuin University. She is a frequent contributor to magazines and journals and has published several books on language, culture, and communication, including
T-Shirt Japanese Versus Necktie Japanese: Two Levels of Politeness. She is currently Associate Professor at the College of Humanities of Ibaraki University and also teaches at Aoyama Gakuin University.

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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 > Instruction
4Books > Subjects > Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Study & Teaching

Reviews - What do customers think about Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia: For All Levels?

I don't understand the negative reviews  May 14, 2006
This is really a very good supplement to more traditional studies. The onomatopoeia here I have used with native Japanese speakers and all are understood and expressive.

I study Japanese to talk to my peers, to go out drinking, to watch and understand television, to tell jokes and offer conjecture. I don't study the language in order to make hotel reservations or constantly conjugate in an unnaturally polite fashion. Likewise, I spend time in Osaka and Nara, where people say "okini" and "nanbo", so the occasional kansai-ben is welcome.

Just this week I memorized casual sentances like "You don't look so hot", "When I got up this morning i felt a little woozy", "yeah, it's the pits all right" and "It's not like I drank too much last night - maybe I'm getting old". Do these really NOT sound useful? Do you never hear this sort of language in English?

These dialogues are AUTHENTICALLY casual, and they alternate between male and female. As a supplement that absolutely ROCKS - after all, 99% of Japanese-language learning material is polite and contrived... great for learning grammar and basic structure, but once you get to Japan you realize you can't understand anyone.

I was in New York and I used the phrase "shimijimi" with a Japanese woman and she smiled and asked - "How do know THAT? I don't even know how to say that in English." The sentence I used translated as "I was getting a little sentimental..."

This is a SUPPLEMENT, not a textbook, and a fairly advanced one, but emminently usable. It takes work to memorize and put into practice, but when I used 'berobero' and 'gongon' in conversations my friends unanimously agreed that Japanese folks use these phrases all the time. What else could you want?

this book was previously published as "Flip, Slither and Bang", which was a physically smaller edition, easier just to drop in a pocket. I would recommend this if you plan on hanging out in Japan, spending time with friends - it might be too much if you just need ask where the bathroom is.
A confused mess  Oct 15, 2005
This book can be useful for learning onomatopoeia words but you can quite easily find them in a good dictionary.

The big problem with this book is its simply takes the Japanese language and tries to conjure up a sentence so complex that its just boderline stupid. The realtiy is that no japanese person I have ever met talks in such a ridiculous manner and you'll simply make yourself look stupid talking like this.

For example a sentence like; "my wife always bawls me out because I'm no good at pinching pennies"

seriously, who talks like that in real life? Nobody. This book could have given examples that made use of the onomatopoeia's without making the sentence sound so ridiculously silly and over the top.

Unless you're an experienced student with a desire to conjure up the most silly and ridiculous sounding sentences imaginable you'd be best to avoid this book
maamaa ne  May 16, 2004
This book claims to be "For all levels," which in my opinion it isn't. It also claims to be a book on Japanese onomatopoeia.

The Japanese sentences are in my opinion way too hard to a beginning student, so if your Japanese is still very basic it is of limited usefulness.

50% of the dialogue in chapter 2 is in kansai dialect, which i find a bit tedious. If i wanted to learn kansai-ben I'd buy a book on it (infact i'm planning to).

The biggest annoyance however is the inclusion of romaji, which is near universal in books on Japanese-language. (but 2 wrongs doesn't make 1 right so i allow myself to complain about this too). Each dialogue is first presented in Japanese script with furigana, then a romaji version, and then English. If there'd been no romaji version in between I wouldn't have had to keep flipping pages all the time to get to the English translation. It's a matter of course that people who don't even know kana can't possibly benefit much from this book. (assuming they're as new to speaking and listening as they are to writing and reading.)

That's it for the negative stuff. Anyhow, I do strongly recommend this book to intermediate students of Japanese who're looking to improve both their understanding of the nature of Japanese onomatopoeia, and their vocabulary. I would've given it 5 stars had it not been for the ulcer-inducing romanization, the somewhat lack of focus at times, etc.

Japanvisitor Review  Nov 11, 2003
Originally published by Kodansha as Flip, Slither and Bang: Japanese Sound and Action Words as part of their Power Japanese series, this volume has undergone a makeover for the 21st century. Fukuda has added a useful overview introduction, and revision quizzes, both of which should help key Japanese onomatopoeia stick in your head.

And there's a lot to remember. While Japanese has appropriated Chinese script for most of its conceptual words, and promiscuously borrowed from English and other languages for more recent phenomena such as computers, it can be proud of the homegrown nature of its pervasive onomatopoeia - not to mention their expressive `punch'. While in English, such words are often associated with animal noises and children's tales, Japanese uses onomatopoeia widely, in anything from literature to everyday adult conversations, and to express everything from a simple sound to a complex emotional state. What English often uses metaphor to express, Japanese gets across with onomatopoeia. Wanwan may indeed be the sound of a Japanese doggy, but mukamuka means seriously cheesed off, gennari means worn out, and sesseto means as regular as clockwork. Adult enough for you?

Fukuda's introduction helps the learner contextualise the different forms and uses of Japanese onomatopoeia. This, along with an overall book structure based around situational dialogues, creates a fairly structured learning approach. As usual with a book focusing on one aspect of language, there is the temptation to pack in as many target expressions as possible until the dialogues become a bit buyobuyo (bloated). But apart from this, the language is very natural (in fact, `too' natural for the beginner, who should first be learning standard Japanese verb forms, for instance). The dialogues are followed by clear explanations of the target onomatopoeia and example sentences. All text is provided in original Japanese (with furigana readings) plus an English translation, while the dialogues also come in a romanised form for the less able reader. Helpful cultural notes are also scattered throughout the text.

The quizzes at the end of each section review the onomatopoeia, and the handy indexes allow you to find both Japanese and English definitions, so you can locate a particular expression you've heard in Japanese, or find an equivalent for the English concept you want to get across, independently of the dialogue contexts. Note though that this book is not a substitute for a dictionary of onomatopoeia, as it chooses to be selectively detailed rather than comprehensive.

Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia is subtitled For All Levels, which I think is a little ambitious, as much of the material would be overwhelming for neophytes. But this very density of information is a boon for the more advanced student. It will reward close study by significantly enhancing your knowledge of an underemphasised aspect of Japanese language that in many ways embodies the Japanese mindset.


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