13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese

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Book DescriptionPublication Date: June 30, 1999 | ISBN-10: 4770023022 | ISBN-13: 978-477002302513 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese presents tested shortcuts for Japanese language acquisition. Identifying two group...
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Book Description

Publication Date: June 30, 1999 | ISBN-10: 4770023022 | ISBN-13: 978-4770023025
13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese presents tested shortcuts for Japanese language acquisition. Identifying two groups of people who actively and effectively study Japanese to the point of fluency-successful non-native learners and Japanese children-Giles Murray has collected from both groups the most rewarding and universal techniques which can be put to immediate use by both beginner and advanced students of Japanese. 

This book is designed for people who have tried orthodox textbooks and failed, people who know a little Japanese but don't have the necessary time or motivation to make the transition to more serious textbooks, and people seeking to increase fluency using ability already acquired. It introduces new strategies for thinking, speaking and memorizing Japanese quickly, efficiently and independently. Used in tandem with a mainstream textbook, these strategies will enable any student to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations, and to speak without hesitation in natural and fluent Japanese. 

With lively and entertaining commentaries, striking illustrations, two Japanese manga-including a six-page extract from Osamu Tezuka's famous Blackjack series-brainteasing puzzles, and genuinely useful example sentences, 13 Secrets offers a unique and exciting alternative to all students of Japanese. 

- An original manga by Tezuka Osamu 
- All new custom-written 16-page manga
- 3 mini-graphic novels
- Over 100 illustrations
- Dynamic quiz format
- Full glossaries

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

GILES MURRAY lives in Tokyo, where he works as a bilingual advertising copywriter, translator, editor, and publisher. He is the author of Instant Business Japanese and also appears as Jeremy Hilditch in the Japanese for Busy People: The Video series. His personal website is at www.speaking-japanese.com.

Product Details

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
225 of 238 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There's a bad apple in every bunch... December 1, 2001
Like many foreigners, Giles Murray has parlayed his experience with the Japanese language into big bucks - ok, well at least just a book. But before you run off adhering to everything prescribed in this book, PLEASE read this review. It is well worth your time.
There seem to be some good ideas in this book. One that I particularly found helpful (one that I had already intuitively realized) was the hint covered in Chapter 6, "The Synonym Generator". Basically, Mr. Murray recommends that one possess a vast array of words to describe a certain feeling or concept. That way, if one gets a mental block and is not able to remember one expression, they can dip into their bag of tricks and express themselves in another way. Another chapter where Mr. Murray discusses how to "describe your way" out of a jam when you can't think of a word in Japanese is EXCELLENT advice. This is more or less a survival Japanese tactic, but comes in handy for advanced students as well. Rather than sitting in a conversation with a dead look on your face, it's best to dumb it down, if for nothing else, to keep the conversation moving.
What I caution you to NOT follow, however, is Mr. Murray's advice regarding gairaigo, or loan words. There are thousands and thousands of directly borrowed and some slightly altered English words used in the Japanese language. While every student should become aware of their existence and correct usage, you should ABSOLUTELY NOT use them with the frequency that Mr. Murray suggests. You will do so at your own linguistic peril. For, you see, American (and British, Australian, etc.) students who rely on these words tend to not learn the Japanese equivalents. They also tend to use a disproportionate amount of them in their speech. I heard a figure one time saying that a MAXIMUM of 13% of a Japanese person's daily conversation is composed of loan words. This is a maximum, mind you.
So, not only do you limit your proficiency by depending on loan words, but you also send a signal to the listener that you don't really know the traditional Japanese versions. Furthermore, Japanese tend to linguistically discriminate against foreigners by using these loanwords with them because they don't believe they know the Japanese equivalent. I recall one time being at a station and the manager yelling to me to "chenji (change)" my ticket instead of telling me to "kaeru (change)" the ticket. This is linguistic discrimination - there's no other word for it - and following Mr. Murray's advice will cause Japanese to speak to you with a vocabulary unnaturally heavy in these words.
Don't get me wrong. There are times when they are useful, but DO NOT use them to the extent he recommends. For example, use the word "kyanseru (cancel) suru" for cancel, but DO NOT use the word "happii (happy)" for "shiawase (happy)". The message would get across with the former, but you'll also be displaying your ignorance of TRUE (yip, I said it, Mr. Murray) Japanese (ie kango and wago).
Mr. Murray, who happens to be a copywriter (and copywriters are NOTORIOUS for overimporting English into Japanese), may use these words to a grotesque and unnatural degree, but you shouldn't. Consider yourself warned.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and fun, but not magic May 22, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese" is an interesting, well put-together book that makes a nice supplement when learning Japanese. The use of Manga is appreciated, and the tone of the book is casual conversation. The target skill level is intermediate or so. Absolute beginners will find little value.
The "secrets" are all fairly useful, but they are not quick solutions or shortcuts. Each secret requires effort and study. Some of the solutions are simple, like "Read Manga in Japanese," whereas others are more complicated like the idea of using synonyms when you can not remember the exact word. (Such as: "I feel like a train ran over my head" rather than "I feel hung over.")
All in all, this book makes is a good addition to formal Japanese language learning. Just don't expect to buy it and have everything suddenly "click."
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Japanese learning made fun and easy! June 10, 1999
I have been studying Japanese for over seven years and have read countless textbooks and study guides, but I have never found such a unique blending of humor, practical tips, and useful study pointers as what's found in this wonderful book. "Thirteen Secrets" reinforces my belief that learning Japanese is fun, while being a totally unique language learning experience. Applicable to all study levels, this gem is a must for all folks interested in Japanese.


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