Beginner's Japanese Script
by Helen Gilhooly
McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003
The Japanese writing system was introduced into Japan by the Chinese around the middle of the 6th century AD. The Chinese language is very different to Japanese in structure and so the writing system was gradually adapted to fit the structure of the Japanese language. There are now three scripts which make up the Japanese writing system (four if you include roman script): kanji, hiragana and katakana. The latter two are known collectively as kana.
This book will make the reading and writing of Japanese accessible to you through a step-by-step approach which will help you to gradually build up your knowledge of Japanese script. It will show you that written Japanese can be interesting, challenging and also fun to learn. Units 1-4 introduce mainly kanji which developed from pictures of nature. Units 4 & 6-8 will teach you how to decipher more complex kanji giving you the tools to take your study further on completion of the book. Units 8 & 10 give you the chance to put your learning into practice through real-life examples of signs, notices and warnings, and also a number of reading passages. Unit 5 is devoted to hiragana and Unit 9 to katakana. There are lots of practice activities and ideas to help you learn and remember these two scripts. By the end of the book, you'll be able to read and write simple Japanese with confidence.
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