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Reading Japanese: Beginner (JPNS 1000)

For Beginners - How to Read for Comprehension (not vocabulary)


img credit: Extra Credits
  1. Read easy books first so you won't get frustrated. Check out the list of books below to get started.
  2. Don't worry about memorizing kanji, these books include furigana (ふりがな) with all kanji so you can pronounce them.
  3. Do NOT use a dictionary.
    Why not? Because you will lose your "flow" while reading. Your goal is to comprehending the text as a whole, not stopping everytime you encounter a new word.
  4. Skip words and even sentences you don't understand. You'll still read them, but it's okay if you aren't sure what they mean.

Books - after you learn ひらがな, start with these books.

Level Betsu (れベル別) series - Level 0
Norlin Library >> Asian Studies Stacks >> Mezzanine Level (floor 1.5)
Each volume (1, 2, and 3) comes with four small books and CD to practice listening. These books only use the polite です / ます verb forms. Meanings can be easily inferred from pictures.

Quick Tip 1 - pictures and context


img credit: Extra Credits
The pictures make it easy to guess the meanings of words based on context. For example:
さくらがさきません。
さくらがさきます。
You can infer the meaning of "さきます" in these photos even though students don't usually learn the word "sakimasu" in their first year of Japaense study.

Books - best for your second semester of 1000 Japanese

Level Betsu (れベル別) series - Level 1
Norlin Library >> Asian Studies Stacks >> Mezzanine Level (floor 1.5)
These books only use the polite です / ます verb forms. The grammar remains relatively simple, but the vocab is much broader than Level 0. There are more abstract ideas like あるところに, それから, or うち, that are hard to depict or guess the meaning of but commonly used.