Monday, 14 July 2014

Review of BBC Japanese phrasebook

This is a book which is available in many different languages and as there's so much inside, coupled with the fact that it's so cheaply available from Amazon, it's a good place to start if you're going abroad with little knowledge of the local language. In this post I'll be discussing the benefits of this book with regards to Japanese, but many of these points will also be relevant to other books, for example Russian or Portuguese.

Ease of use: The first immediate problem with reading Japanese is that there is a completely different writing system: they have kanji (Chinese characters) as well as two syllabaries (kana) which are the equivalent of our alphabet. Luckily, everything in this book is given in romaji (in the Latin alphabet) as well as in traditional Japanese characters.

Range of phrases: For such a small book, there is an impressive range of vocab, presented in pre-made sentences. For a trip abroad, there are hundreds of useful phrases displayed in a logical sequence, with relevant links to Japanese culture. Even though this format might not teach you the language, it is a great resource for sheer volume of vocab, which could be used to design real-life language lessons.



Grammar: There is a small amount of grammar info, nothing substantial of course, however it is more than enough for the average tourist. If you wanted to take up the language properly, more resources would be necessary, but overall I would say that most people would find this book quite enough.

Conclusion: I think that this book is superb, for only five pounds new or even less from Amazon, I reckon it's an absolute steal.

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