Japanese for Dummies

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2018-12-27
  • Publisher: For Dummies
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Learn to speak Japanese

Japanese language enrollment is up by 27.5 percent since 2006, making it the sixth most popular language studied on college campuses. Whether studying for school, business, or travel, Japanese For Dummies provides complete coverage of all Japanese language essentials including grammar, usage, and vocabulary.

Complete with free conversational audio tracks online, this handy book offers everything you need to learn the Japanese language to get ahead in class or on a trip to Japan. In no time, you’ll make sense of the language well enough to communicate with native speakers!

  • Includes expanded coverage of grammar, verb conjugations, and pronunciations
  • Provides a refreshed mini-dictionary with even more essential vocabulary
  • Offers useful exercises and practice opportunities 
  • Helps you learn to speak conversational Japanese with ease
Whether for work, school, or fun, Japanese For Dummies is the fast and easy way to add this language to your skillset!

Author Biography

Hiroko Chiba is professor of Japanese at DePauw University, where she teaches all levels of Japanese language and directs the Japanese language program. Eriko Sato, PhD, teaches Japanese at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She authored the previous editions of Japanese For Dummies and Japanese Phrases For Dummies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 4

Icons Used in This Book 4

Beyond the Book 5

Where to Go from Here 5

Part 1: Getting Started with Japanese 7

Chapter 1: Japanese in a Nutshell 9

Discovering Basic Japanese Sounds and Script 9

Getting a Grip on Basic Grammar 10

Counting on Numbers 10

Speaking Japanese around the House 11

Using Japanese in Social Scenarios 12

Beginning (and ending) conversations 12

Getting to know you 12

Asking for directions 13

Making sense of money 13

Going shopping 13

Dining out and exploring entertainment opportunities 14

Doing business and using technology 14

Tackling Travel-Related Topics 15

Preparing for a trip 15

Getting around with local transportation 15

Securing a place to stay 16

Taking action during emergencies 16

Chapter 2: Checking Out the Japanese Sounds and Scripts 17

Pronouncing Basic Japanese Sounds 17

Vowels 18

Consonants 19

Sounding Fluent 20

Don’t stress 20

Watch out for pitch and intonation 20

Get in rhythm 21

Keep your speed up 22

Introducing the Japanese Scripts 23

Kana 23

Kanji 27

Chapter 3: Warming Up with Japanese Grammar Basics 33

Using Appropriate Speech Styles 33

Forming Sentences 35

Ordering the words correctly 35

Marking nouns with particles 35

Telling the topic 39

Dropping understood words 39

Asking Questions 40

Yes/no questions 40

Content questions 41

Getting a Handle on Pronouns 42

Demonstrative pronouns 43

Personal pronouns 44

Working with Verbs 45

Understanding basic verb forms 46

Doing the conjugation thing 48

Speaking politely with –masu 51

Introducing the Verb Desu, to Be 52

Describing People and Things with Adjectives 54

Using Adverbs to Describe Your Actions 57

Creating adverbs from adjectives 57

Perusing pure adverbs 58

Turning to sentence-like adverbs 58

Spicing Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia 59

Expressing Moods and Attitudes 60

Chapter 4: Getting Your Numbers, Times, and Measurements Straight 63

Ichi, Ni, San: Counting in Japanese 64

Numbers from 1 to 10 64

Numbers from 11 to 99 65

Numbers from 100 to 9,999 65

Numbers from 10,000 to 99,999 66

Numbers over 100,000 66

Expressing amount or quantity with counters 67

Indicating ordinal numbers with -me 70

Telling Time 70

Noting hours and minutes 71

Talking about time 73

It’s a Date! Delving into the Calendar 74

Talking about the days of the week 74

Naming the months and counting them up 75

Counting the days 76

Counting the weeks 79

Reeling off the years 79

Specifying dates and times 79

Familiarizing Yourself with the Metric System 84

Chapter 5: Speaking Japanese at Home 87

Taking a Tour of Your Home 87

The kitchen 88

The dining room 89

The living room 90

The bedroom 91

The bathroom 91

The laundry room 92

The storage room 93

Home Is Where the Food Is 95

Getting cooking 96

Using two verbs at the table 96

Considering proper table manners 97

Enjoying foods of all kinds 97

Talking about foods you like and dislike 100

Engaging in Common Household Activities 101

Keeping your home clean 101

Performing a safety check 101

Talking about What You Do Regularly 102

Part 2: Japanese in Action 107

Chapter 6: Icebreakers and Conversation Starters 109

Beginning (and Ending) Conversations 109

Addressing friends and strangers 110

Greetings throughout the day 112

Saying goodbye 113

Initiating Small Talk 114

Breaking the ice with “excuse me” 115

Talking about where you’re going 115

Discussing the weather 116

Making Introductions 117

Introducing yourself 118

Introducing your friends to each other 118

Asking people their names 120

Being polite with o- 120

Expressing Gratitude and Regret 120

Showing gratitude 120

Apologizing 121

Speaking about Speaking: The Verb Hanasu 121

Chapter 7: Getting to Know You 125

Chatting about Your Life 125

Your job 126

Your family 126

Existing and Possessing: The Verbs Iru and Aru 129

Specifying Where You Live with the Verb Sumu 132

Finding Out about Your New Friend 133

Asking people where they’re from 133

Talking about your language skills 135

Living the Sporting Life 137

Using Your Artistic Talent 137

Making Music with Instruments 138

Playing Games 139

Using the Verb Suru (to Do) 140

Saying “I Can” 141

Chapter 8: Asking for Directions 145

Figuring Out Where Places Are Located 145

Asking “where” questions 145

Getting basic location/position answers 147

Pinpointing an exact location 150

Finding Your Way to Your Destination 153

Requesting travel instructions 153

Referring to landmarks 155

Providing actions with directions 156

Making directions flow 157

Chapter 9: Dealing with Money in a Foreign Land 161

Getting Money 161

Exchanging money 162

Opening a bank account 165

Making withdrawals from your account 167

Using an ATM 168

Spending Money 169

Ka-ching! Shelling out cash 169

Charge! Paying with plastic 171

Chapter 10: Shopping Made Easy 175

Naming Shops and Stores 175

Going Grocery Shopping 176

Going to a butcher 177

Purchasing fresh fish 177

Buying vegetables and fruit 178

Shopping at a Konbini (Convenience Store)! 179

Telling a Salesperson What You’re Looking For 180

Exploring the Variety of a Department Store 182

Going Clothes Shopping 184

Considering the clothing and accessories you need 184

Examining the color 185

Trying something on 185

Talking about sizing 187

Deciding What You Want to Buy 189

Using demonstrative adjectives 190

Comparing two items 191

Comparing three or more items 193

You Gotta Pay to Play: Buying Your Merchandise 195

Identifying prices 195

Stating that you want to buy something 195

Paying for your purchase 196

Chapter 11: Going Out on the Town 201

Checking Out Entertaining Activities 201

Getting cultured at museums and galleries 202

Heading to the theater 203

Eating Out at Fast-Food and Sit-Down Restaurants 204

Ordering fast food 205

Making a reservation 207

Ordering in a restaurant 211

Chatting with the waiter or waitress 215

Paying for your meal 215

Drinking and dancing at bars and clubs 216

Singing at a karaoke box 218

Talking about Entertainment 220

Getting Your Friends to Go Out with You 221

Making a suggestion with “Why don’t we?” 221

Saying “Let’s go” and “Shall we go?” 222

Inviting Friends Over and Asking Them to Bring Something 224

Chapter 12: Taking Care of Business and Telecommunications 229

Using Japanese at Work 229

Making Sense of Your Office Environment 233

Checking out the supplies 233

Touring the rest of the building 234

Phoning Made Simple 235

Brushing up on phone-related vocab 235

Asking to speak with someone 236

Calling your client 238

Leaving a message 240

Having Meetings in the Workplace 244

Navigating Technology: Computer Basics,

Mobile Phones, and Social Media 245

Familiarizing yourself with basic technology terms 245

Sending email 246

Using mobile phones and social media 247

Part 3: Japanese on the Go 251

Chapter 13: Planning a Trip 253

Picking the Place for Your Trip 253

Dealing with Passports and Visas 257

Getting Help from a Travel Agency 258

Stating Your Opinions 259

Packing for Your Trip 261

Exploring Nature 262

Taking in the landscape 262

Changing with the seasons 263

Chapter 14: Making Your Way Around: Planes, Trains, Taxis, and More 267

Getting On and Off with the Verbs Noru and Oriru 268

Asking about the Best Method of Transportation 269

Navigating the Airport 271

Now boarding: Making it to the plane 271

Going through immigration 272

Getting through customs 273

Leaving the airport 274

All Aboard: Hopping on a Train or Boat 275

Now entering the station: Riding the train 275

Setting sail: Cruising around by boat 278

Conquering Public Transportation 278

Riding a bus 278

Taking the subway 279

Hailing a taxi 279

Driving Around 281

Renting a car 282

Deciphering road signs 283

Chapter 15: Finding a Place to Stay 287

Picking the Right Accommodations for Your Needs 287

Narrowing Your Choice Further 290

Looking into room size and amenities 290

Comparing costs 292

Considering each possible scenario with nara 293

Making a Room Reservation 294

Checking In 295

Keeping Track of What’s Yours during Your Stay 299

Using possessive pronouns 299

Using “uchi” possessively 300

Checking Out 301

Chapter 16: Handling Emergencies 303

Asking (or Shouting!) for Help 303

Seeking Medical Attention 305

Looking for a doctor 305

Going to a hospital 306

Navigating a Doctor’s Visit 308

Referring to your body parts 308

Complaining about your pain 309

Describing your symptoms 311

Receiving a diagnosis 312

Getting treatment 313

Contacting the Police 314

Reporting an accident to the police 314

Reporting a crime 317

Reporting lost or stolen belongings 317

Getting Legal Help 319

Part 4: The Part of Tens 321

Chapter 17: Ten Ways to Pick Up Japanese Quickly 323

Use Digital Technologies 323

Cook or Eat Japanese Foods 324

Read Japanese Comic Books 324

Watch Japanese Anime, Films, and Sports 324

Do Karaoke 325

Spend Time with Japanese 325

Exchange Language Lessons 326

Get to Know a Monolingual Japanese 326

Travel to Japan 326

Be Positive, Curious, and Creative 327

Chapter 18: Ten Things Never to Say in Japanese 329

“San” after Your Own Name 329

Your Boss’s or Teacher’s First Name 330

“O-genki Desu Ka” to the Person You Saw Yesterday 330

“Sayonara” to Your Family 330

“Thank You” for a Compliment 331

“My Mom Is Pretty” to Outsiders 331

“Yes” Right after Being Offered Food 332

“Anata” When Talking to Someone 332

“Aishite Imasu” to Express Likes 332

“Do You Want Coffee?” 333

Chapter 19: Ten Favorite Japanese Expressions 335

Yatta! 335

Hontō? 336

Sasuga! 336

Mochiron! 336

Ā, Yokatta 337

Zenzen 337

Nani? 337

Dōshiyō? 338

Yappari 338

Ā, Bikkurishita! 338

Chapter 20: Ten Phrases That Make You Sound Fluent in Japanese 339

Enryo Shinaide 339

Mottainai 340

O-saki Ni 340

Kanpai! 341

Ganbatte! 341

Shikata ga nai 341

Okage-sama De 342

Tsumaranai Mono Desu Ga 342

Yoroshiku 342

Taihen Desu Ne 343

Part 5: Appendixes 345

Appendix A: Japanese-English Mini-Dictionary 347

Appendix B: Verb Tables 371

Appendix C: Answer Key 381

Index 385

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