Japanese for Busy People
8/15/2006 2:21:04 PM
(CST) - Michael Wells
A great friend of mine (suteki na tomodachi?) named Miyuki loaned me a book named Japanese for Busy People. Many other nihongo-speaking friends of mine have recommended this book to me, so this was a fantastic stroke of luck, but even better (!) this particular edition is written in hiragana! Essentially, there is no kanji, and very little katakana in the book, and it has some English text for explanation of usage.
Sure, it will be a bit harder to get started, but its a major impetus to finish learning the hiragana character set, so that at the bare minimum, I can read and sound out the text of the book phonetically. This is incredibly exciting, already I can read simple words and phrases like ano, anata no, watashi wa, Tanaka-san, ... I imagine I'll have to read it with a hiragana dictionary in hand, but I can't imagine a faster way to expand my practical vocabulary and reading skills.
Unless I didn't mention it earlier, I have a big beef with romaji in that it seems to be often misleading in pronunciation. Even if you know the particular rules romaji system you're reading (Hepburn, etc.), there are key elements of the pronunciation such as glottal stops, which seem to be lost in the romanization. The hiragana, however, is completely trustworthy in its pronunciation.