501 Japanese Verbs: fully conjugated in all forms
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  • 501 Japanese Verbs: fully conjugated in all forms
  • Roland Lange & Nobuo Akiyama
  • Published by: Barron’s Educational Series
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in: 2007

This Japanese course book is perfect for students who want to increase their vocabulary and become familiar with the different verb tenses in Japanese. While working with this book students will go over tenses, formal and informal verb forms, affirmative and negative forms, This book is perfect to use while working with another course book or as a reference book to use during a course.

Review posted: 03/12/2013
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While learning a language requires an organized approach that includes reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammatical study, there are a few shortcuts to quicker comprehension. Learning verbs and tenses is one such shortcut. As verbs are action words, comprehending verbs automatically helps a language student know “what’s happening” in a sentence or conversation. This is important for figuring out the rest of the conversation and, without verb power, it becomes very difficult to understand a language. Tense is also important because if you have the wrong tense, the whole meaning of the sentence is affected. For example, if you ask someone “Did you have tea?” when you mean to ask “Will you have tea?” you will probably bring them a cup of tea. That person will be surprised because he/she has already drunk it!

The 501 Verbs books are a great way to pump up your verb and tense knowledge. Since tense is often determined by the verb, you can kill two birds with one stone. 501 Japanese Verbs is a great way to learn Japanese verbs and tenses. By studying this book regularly, you can increase your vocabulary and correct verb tense. This book presents each verb in formal and informal usages for every tense possible, as well as affirmative and negative forms. In total, you will learn somewhere around fifty ways to use each verb!

"501 Japanese Verbs is a great way to learn Japanese verbs and tenses. By studying this book regularly, you can increase your vocabulary and correct verb tense."

This book is great for the purposes of memorization; the book is organized according to the Romanization of the Japanese words. This book will come in handy if you hear someone say “Tatakau” and you want to know what it means. You can simply flip to the “T” section and you’ll find out the word means “to fight against”.

There are two other strange things about this book. The first is that it simply charts out the verbs, but doesn’t ever show it in use. For example, I may now know that if I want to say “Sizumu” or “to sink” in informal past indicative then I’ll have to say “sizunda”, but without any example sentences, it makes it hard to memorize 501 verbs in 50 different forms.

The second strange thing about the book is that while this is a book to learn Japanese, the entire thing is written in Romanized Japanese. While this is helpful for pronunciation, it limits what can be learned. A true student of the language would surely want to learn to read, write and say each verb in each tense, rather than simply know how to say it. If you are a Japanese teacher using 501 Japanese Verbs, you’ll have to take the time and effort to write each verb out for your student; a cumbersome act when it should be readily available in a book like this.

All in all, 501 Japanese Verbs sounds like a really useful book, but it lacks a lot of essentials. Unfortunately, this book –which could have been great—is only decent.



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