Japanese Language Insights
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  • Japanese Language Insights
  • Zen Loy, Harumi Willow
  • Published by: Soroban Pty. Ltd
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in: 1996

Japanese Language Insights is the perfect complementary course book for any group or private Japanese class. While working with this book, students will come across extra grammar and writing practice as well as interesting cultural insights about Japan.

REVIEW BY Chris Saldana Book EXPERT
Review posted: 18/12/2013
Have you used this book?

When learning a language, it’s great to have a complementary material that gives you more insight to what you are learning in class. When it comes to learning Japanese, Japanese Language Insights serves as perfect complementary material to give you more in- depth information. Japanese Language Insights provides activities that focus on culture, expressions and information relevant to Japanese life to help develop a stronger understanding of the language.

"The way the book is written is perfect for elementary students since it gives examples in Romaji (Japanese written using the Latin alphabet) and Japanese, and translations in English."


Japanese Language Insights doesn’t contain any grammar points, but to make up for that it provides useful insight on common expressions. It also gives background information on important idioms and gives examples of when to use certain phrases. The book has 17 chapters that touch upon various topics ranging from basic greetings and work dialogue to the more casual words, profanity, and slang. The way the book is written is perfect for elementary students since it gives examples in Romaji (Japanese written using the Latin alphabet) and Japanese, and translations in English. The book explains the expressions, gives examples and even provides a back story for each one. By taking this approach, the reader can gain a better understanding of the new language learned. At times the book has lots of text explaining the history and not too many examples, but overall there is a fine balance between the two. The book places a strong focus on cultural aspects like when it’s appropriate to use certain phrases and some intonation practices to say each word perfectly.

Each unit follows a specific structure. The units start off by providing cultural notes for the vocabulary or phrases that are going to be analyzed. After that, examples are provided with sentences in both English and Japanese as well as practice dialogues to get an overall glimpse on how the language point is used. Depending on the amount of new vocabulary a lists of words/phrases is provided at the end of each unit. The information on this list is also written in Romaji, English and Japanese.


· This is a very informative book which provides the student with expressions that aren’t found in most common textbooks.

· The intonation arrows and masculine/feminine tags make it easy to pronounce each word.

· The book can make a great complement for textbook/classroom studying if you want to gain a better understanding of the language.


· At times the book provides too many explanations of technical things that explain the language but don’t help the student speak better.

· There aren’t many pictures or images. Pretty much text all the way through.

Recommended For:

· Students who want to know the story behind the language and gain some cultural knowledge.

· Students who are going to stay in Japan for a long time and want to understand the atmosphere and environment much better.

· Extra ambitious students who are keen on learning the culture as much as the language.

Overall I’d say Japanese Language Insights is worth picking up simply because it’s what the title says: an insight on the Japanese language. It’s like a small history book combined with a phrasebook. Japanese language Insights will teach you how to better understand Japanese culture and in return gain a better understanding of the language. This book is a great piece of material and you will find useful information that many Japanese course books do not provide.



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