Taking the world less travelled

An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese: First Impressions

Posted by on Apr 3, 2008 in Language | 0 comments

An Integrated Approach To Intermediate Japanese by Akira Miura and Naomi Hanaoka McGloin
I recently borrowed this book out from my University library, and after having it for two weeks, I decided to buy this as the next step in my Japanese studies.

I’m half way through Japanese for Everyone, and I find this book right for my level. This actually makes me more impressed with Japanese For Everyone – it is a good textbook and takes you far. I’m finding that I will learn a grammar point in one book, and then a week or so later the same grammar point is covered in the other one. Why do I have both then? I like seeing examples from both texts. I get more vocabulary from both texts. Integrated also has harder kanji and more reading passages.

Every chapter begins with a section called “Culture Notes“. These are little paragraphs in English about something to do with Japanese culture. For instance, in the first chapter they talk about “How to Address Someone”. In chapter six the culture note is about restaurants.

Next there are three dialogue conversations. They are a page in length each and are good reading practise as well as listening practise. Then there is a reading passage, again a page long. Finally a couple of pages of vocab, divided up into the conversations and reading passage they were featured in.

The Kanji section follows, and leaves a lot to be desired. It is divided into two sections: Kanji that you should be able to read and write and kanji that is just to be recognised at this stage. I lie, it isn’t exactly just kanji, what is presented here are words – kanji compounds as well as kanji with the hiragana tail. What it doesn’t do is tell you how to write them, how to pronounce them or what the words actually are. Perhaps this is genius in that you have to go out and actively discover these words for yourself (a process which would no doubt help in the learning of these kanji). I believe they are featured in the previous “vocab” section, but I haven’t checked all of them.

The Grammar Notes are short, sweet and the way I like them. That is, a brief description in English, and then example sentences. These grammar points refer back to the dialogue conversations and the reading passage in the beginning, giving line numbers to go back and check them out. There is sometimes little passages to explain a certain nuance of a grammar point. Over all, these are very easy to understand (so far!) and I find it easy to move forward.

Exercises – I admit I haven’t done any yet, so I can’t comment! There are one or two tasks for each grammar point, with five or six questions in each. There are also some questions that look like they involve group work, which hopefully can be adapted for the self learner – hopefully I can update on this when I’ve gone through the book more. There is also a listening exercise for those who have the tapes. The questions and answers are all in Japanese, which I like. I hope to tackle these soon.

To end off each chapter is another reading passage with a couple of questions at the end. Oh, and a little quote. At the end of chapter one it says:

しっぱいはせいこうのもと
失敗は成功のもと
lit. Failure is the basis for success

I like it.

At the moment I’m only in the middle of chapter two, after adding chapter one’s grammar points to my SRS. Now that I own the book, I can go through it properly, writing and highlighting in it like I like. Overall I like the textbook, and hope that I can complete it by the end of the year. I think that the “Intermediate” title is misleading – I certainly don’t feel intermediate but feel like I can handle this. The only major drawback I have with this text at the moment is the Kanji section, but as I supplement my Kanji learning with other resources, I don’t think this will be a problem for me. heart heart heart heart


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