Learning an entirely different language is such an accomplishment. Not only because it is proof of a person’s commitment and determination, but it also opens up a whole new world of opportunities for a person. So, it is just a natural thing that some people invests on reading and study materials to learn a new language.
But, the process of learning a new language is not easy, especially if your goal is to master its grammar. In the case of Japanese grammar, there are a lot of options to choose from. However, you do not just pick one randomly, in the hopes that what you just grab will be the perfect book that will help you achieve your goals.
Here, we provide you with a list of the top Japanese grammar books. However, before we dive into that, let us help you narrow down the choices of grammar books through some insights on how to choose the best paper that will work for you.
Factors to Consider
Faced with so many options to consider, here are some factors that you might want to consider in order to find the best Japanese grammar book.
Determine which level you are at in terms of the Japanese language skills
Jumping right ahead into a grammar book intended for advanced users is not a good idea. You will get confused and find it hard to understand its content if you do not have at least, a basic knowledge of the Japanese grammar. If you are a beginner, you might want to look for a book that comes in a series—not just a single grammar book. You need to learn about the vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension, and, at least, some basic kanji. If you already have the basics and are ready for more intermediate-level materials, then look for Japanese grammar books which have short reading passages and conversations that will show the practical application of the grammar rules. Lastly, if you are already at an advanced level, then what you need are reference books which can clearly spell out the differences between similar usage and forms.
Determine your goals
You need to identify first the reason behind your desire to learn the Japanese language, specifically, the grammar. Are you studying the Japanese language because you need it for professional development? Then, you need to consider that you need to polish your grammar as well as you enrich your vocabulary. Choose a book that will help you achieve both, preferably one that will also teach you about the Japanese culture, as you will also need to have a little background of such if you intend to work with Japanese businessmen. If you want to study the Japanese language with all its intricacies, then choose a book or a series of books that will help you gradually build your skills and knowledge.
Determine your learning style
Choosing a study material that will suit your learning style will optimize the entire process. If you are a visual learner, books with excellent illustrations and incorporates a lot of images will efficiently help you with your studies. On the other hand, books that are accompanied by an audio file will help a lot if you are more of a listen-to-learn person. If you learn more by actual practice, choose a book with lots of practice exercises and short quizzes. Once you find the right Japanese grammar book for you, studying and learning will become such a bliss.
The top Japanese grammar books
Now that we have laid down the factors you need to consider in order to find the right book that matches you, here is the best Japanese grammar book where you may choose from.
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar-The Japan Times
A straightforward grammar book, this one is for the more serious students who need a no-nonsense guide to Japanese grammar. It lays out extensive details and information to the students so they will have a thorough understanding of grammar and its everyday use. This is a perfect book that will allow delving deeper into Japanese grammar. Moreover, students will be able to use this book for a long time and even after they already learned the Japanese language, as it can also serve as a handy reference book, in the future.
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Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure
Fret not, Manga lovers, here’s a surefire way to learn Japanese grammar. More of a fun supplement than a traditional textbook, the book, ‘Japanese the Manga Way’ contains 493 bite-size grammar lessons accompanied by examples from the real manga. Though it is not the best choice for primary study material, it is an excellent choice of an alternative book to refer to in case a student needed further explanation of specific grammar points.
A Japanese Guide to Learning Japanese Grammar
This book will present grammatical structures that make sense in Japanese, and the sample sentences provided will show how ideas are expressed in Japanese. Though this book is not the right choice for those who want to learn useful and common Japanese phrases quickly, it is an excellent book that will help students build a solid grammatical foundation. It is quite different from most Japanese textbooks and grammar books as it presents the most difficult parts of Japanese grammar, which is, actually, the most fundamental concepts. The book believes that if the students were able to breeze through the fundamental concepts of Japanese grammar, the rest of the lessons would be more comfortable.
Japanese for Busy People
We mentioned earlier that if you are looking towards perfecting your Japanese language for professional purposes, you need to work on both grammar and vocabulary. This book will help you do that. Intended for career professional, ‘Japanese for Busy People’ uses relevant dialogues and conversations which are often used in business, rather than everyday life conversations which are often featured in other Japanese textbooks. Each chapter has a target grammar and vocabulary topic so students will never experience information overload.
Japanese: The Spoken Language
Written by linguistics experts, expect this book to have in-depth grammar explanations that will let you gain excellent grammar knowledge. It has a companion audio material that you need to listen to before reading the book. Since it is phonetic-based, students will be able to build a better foundation in speaking Japanese. However, the entire book is written in romaji or phonetics.
Japanese Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook
This is an excellent choice of a book for those who are already at the intermediate level when it comes to Japanese language competence. More of a workbook, it contains a lot of examples and exercises to reinforce learning with practical applications of each lesson. There are charts and infographics to make learning more dynamic and exciting, instead of just the usual block of text found in most books. Aside from the grammar drills, there are also tidbits of language tips and insights on the Japanese culture.
Japanese for Professionals
Another book that is intended for business use, the ‘Japanese for Professionals’ is a perfect study material for those involved in trade, commerce, and government. This book stands out from the rest as it discusses various formalities of the Japanese language that is required when communicating with colleagues, superiors, and clients. It also includes a few chapters that discuss different Japanese business practices.
English Grammar for Students of Japanese
Here is a book that uses a unique approach in teaching Japanese to English speakers. While it discusses the basics of the English language, such as parts of the speech, it also relates them to its Japanese counterparts. This method shows the similarities and differences between the English and Japanese language. The book might not be able to teach students about new grammar rules; it helps them gain a deeper understanding of grammar, both English and Japanese. By doing so, they are able to understand patterns as they go along with their studies efficiently.
The Japanese Grammar Bible
With more than 700 pages, this book contains around 3000 grammar patterns. It is actually way more than what a person needs to pass the JLPT N1 level. For each grammar point, the book provides three to ten sample sentences.
However, in using this book, the student is already assumed to have and able to understand basic grammar pattern, as he or she will find a little if there are any, explanation when it comes to that. Considered to be as a Japanese grammar bible, this book comes in the Japanese version and in a version translated into English. Those who are already in the advanced level may choose the Japanese version.
Fundamentals of Japanese Grammar
This book will not only tell you how to use specific grammar patterns but also how not to use them. With grammar points organized into categories, this book presents grammar points in an easy-to-understand way. However, the book is actually intended for linguists, educators, and other people in the academic field, so the lessons might feel too heavy for some. Nevertheless, diagrams are used to break up large blocks of text so students who choose this book as their study will not get too intimated or bored.