A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar 💮 Reading Club // Reading the Basic one

Welcome to the A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar :white_flower: Reading Club!

Have you ever had the crazy thought of reading A Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar from cover to cover? Do you sometimes feel a sting of guilt knowing you should review some of the basics or not so basics? Do you feel like you get the gist but want to deepen your understanding?

Then you might be just the person for this club!

A Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar are lookup dictionaries for grammar with English explanations. The explanations are short, but it does cover all uses (at least if you have all three books). Every entry comes with example sentences.

OBS! If you haven’t studied Japanese grammar before, reading a grammar dictionary cover to cover is not an ideal way to start your grammar journey. There are plenty of good textbooks, websites and apps that will guide your knowledge in a more intelligent and legible way.

This club is meant more as grammar review, not learning it for the first time. It doesn’t mean beginners can’t join, I’d never say that, but do realize that the aim is very different and could potentially be detrimental.

Sample pages + toc









Where to purchase

Digital: Amazon/Kindle · Kobo
Physical: Amazon · CDJapan

Schedule

Schedule for A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Main entries is a good guess how many weeks it will take, but might change later if it turns out that more/less is needed. Also, I might have counted weeks/dates wrong for when appendix 8 will start, we shall see.

Week Start Date Reading Page Numbers Page Count
Week 1 Mar 25th Grammatical Terms 1 - 15 15
Week 2 Apr 1st Characteristics of Japanese Grammar - Part 1 16 - 35 20
Week 3 Apr 8th Characteristics of Japanese Grammar - Part 2 36 - 60 25
Week 4-32 Apr 15th Main Entries, 7 per week n/a ca 14-21 / week
Week 33 Nov 4th Appendix 8: Improving Reading Skill by Identifying an ‘Extended Sentential Unit’ 612 - 618 7

Main Entries thread links (each covers roughly 57 pages):
A-D
E-J
K
M
N
O-R
S
T
U-Z

Discussion Guidelines

Spoiler Courtesy

In general, this doesn’t have a problem with spoilers, however there are two instances where spoilers are a good idea.

  1. When you share sentences from what you are consuming, any potential spoilers for external sources need to be covered by a spoiler tag and include a label (outside of the spoiler tag) of what might be spoiled. These include but are not limited to: other book club picks, other books, games, movies, anime, etc. I recommend also tagging the severity of the spoiler (for example, I may still look at minor spoilers for something that I don’t intend to read soon).

  2. If you decide to translate a sentence you are sharing, please hide that behind a spoiler so people have a chance to take in the sentence without a translation. Or if you are helping someone and use translation as a part of that help, then hiding it behind a spoiler tag would be good too.

Instructions for Spoiler Tags

Click the cog above the text box and use either the “Hide Details” or “Blur Spoiler” options. The text which says “This text will be hidden” should be replaced with what you are wishing to write. In the case of “Hide Details”, the section in the brackets that is labelled “Summary” can be replaced with whatever you like also (i.e, [details=”Chapter 1, Pg. 1”]).

Hide Details results in the dropdown box like below:

Example

This is an example of the “Hide Details” option.

The “Blur Spoiler” option will simply blur the text it surrounds.

This is an example of the “Blur Spoiler” option.

Posting Advice

  • When asking for help, please mention entry (and the page number), and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked. As the threads get longer, it becomes more convenient to use the Search function, which is located in the upper right corner of the forum. It is the magnifying glass which is near your profile picture! The best way to search is usually to type part of the sentence you are confused about, and select “in this topic”. This will show you all posts within the current thread which has that string of text.

  • Be sure to join the conversation! It’s fun, and it’s what keeps these book clubs lively! There’s no such thing as a stupid question! We are all learning here, and if the question has crossed your mind, there’s a very good chance it has crossed somebody else’s also! Asking and answering questions is a great learning opportunity for everyone involved, so never hesitate to do so!

Resources

For additional explanations, here are some options:

Membership

Will you be reading with us?
  • Yes
  • Yes, but I might start late
  • Maybe
  • No

0 voters

Which version will you be reading?
  • eBook
  • Paperback

0 voters

Don’t forget to set this thread to Watching in order to be notified when weekly threads get posted!

21 Likes

So here we are. :cold_sweat: Enough people have signified an interest every dang time I have mentioned this as a crazy idea.

Like who reads dictionaries from cover to cover? :stuck_out_tongue: Just joking, there are people out there that do that and there is nothing wrong with that. But I don’t know why I’m thinking of torturing myself this way. :woman_shrugging:

So here are some facts about the book (taken right from my study log):

Just for fun, I went through the index in the back of the basic (aDoJG) and counted how many entries there are. There are a few different ways to count, for example, if a certain point is covered in another point then I decided not to count that separately (they actually showed that in the index). I did count each individual entry if they were numbered.

It came out to 204 entries (I could have miscounted, of course, but the variance shouldn’t be more than 1-3, I think). Now, I guess, it could be reduced a bit by having all numbered entries count as one point… and then we are down to 159. So ca 5,5 month (if reading “one entry” a day) with sometimes quite a few entries in one day (に especially had quite a few, otherwise it would take a whole week by itself :joy:), or just under 7 months if doing each numbered entry as its own day. :sweat_smile:

And that is just the first book. xD But I guess with this kinda thing, faster isn’t necessarily better.

EDIT: Also, there is quite a bit of text, I guess on the basics of grammar in general, before the entries start in the book, and that might be worth reading too.

14 Likes

Potential starting time would probably be April/May. Oh, and if it wasn’t clear, we’ll start with the basic one first. xD

When can you start reading aDoBJG with the club?
  • March 25th
  • April 1st
  • April 15th
  • April 29th
  • May 6th
  • May 20th
  • Other (comment below)

0 voters


How much to read each week? Well, good question! I have a start on how that might look in the previous post. And until we’ve had a chance to discuss the options a bit more, I don’t see the point in a poll yet. :slight_smile:

8 Likes

Wow that was fast! :grimacing:
Thank you for that. I’ve heard several times that it’s a good resource but would never go on reading it by myself. Reading it as a book club would be pretty fun though and I’m sure the benefits would be great. So, I’m in!

7 Likes

Well, I first mentioned it on my study log in December last year, and I’m guessing I mentioned it in the Read Every Day Challenge - Autumn edition (2022) around then too, so it has been percolating at the back of my mind for a while. xD

7 Likes

This sounds both insane and also way more fun to do with other people than to do by yourself :laughing:
Would definitely help with some long term goals, and I don’t think would add tooooooo much reading load per week, probably (starting to come to understand how y’all end up in like 50 book clubs)

19 Likes

I have reason to believe a certain friend of mine is getting me a hard copy of the book for my birthday (next week) so if this happens it would be perfect timing!

14 Likes

I had tried to do that with the Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns, and I can tell you it was hard. But the Handbook is very dense, with many example sentences and only a very short explanation for each pattern. I believe the Dictionary tends to be wordier in its explanations?

10 Likes

I’ve been copying entries from there and other internet sites in an Obsidian file over the last few weeks, doing one grammar point per day, but I’d rather continue on reading with you all ^^ Great idea for a bookclub :smile_cat:

6 Likes

Having a bookclub for a dictionary sounds so hilarious that I’d just be forced to join for science.

I’d have to check if I can get my hands on it for a reasonable price first so I’ll say maybe for now. But it seems like an easy thing to burn out from so I’d suggest a very chill pace (and it’s not like we’ll be on the edge of our seats wanting to know what happens in the next chapter… probably).

27 Likes
Artist's rendering of reading A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar by oneself.

33 Likes

I’ve already done it. Albeit Basic only. :stuck_out_tongue:

17 Likes

I wouldn’t say so. They are usually incredibly short. I haven’t read the book you mentioned, but aDoJG tends to have a very short explanation first, like a sentence or two. Then a key sentence, broken down. Followed by formation (like v-て もらう, 話して もらう), a few example sentences and then notes. Notes can sometimes be very short or non-existent, and sometimes they are a few paragraphs or over a page long; it is also where comparisons between similar grammar happens.

But a simple entry takes about a page with a lot of white space, very well designed to be easy to find the right element. While longer entries might be 3-4 pages long. Might be longer ones, I don’t know, I haven’t read it cover to cover yet. xD


And how would you say that was like? What are we in for basically? xD

7 Likes

I didn’t read this book and I’m too much of a novice to really make much of it, but judging from the sample on Amazon the format appears similar to the “Comprehensive Russian Grammar” book that I have, which is a highly regarded as a reference for Russian grammar (my Russian is vastly more advanced than my Japanese at this point).

I think for advanced intermediate learners these types of books can be very interesting because they’ll (re)explain some of the more subtle nuances of the language and can help fill some gaps.

However one big hurdle for a book club in my opinion is that I don’t know that these books make for good “linear” reads. When I read grammar references like those I tend to skip over both points that I already know well and feel trivial, and points that feel too advanced or irrelevant for my current objectives. Then sometimes later on I will backtrack and revisit some of the points I ignored.

If you decide to methodically read and discuss every chapter then it’s going to be pretty boring for advanced students and quite complicated for beginners, I fear.

For instance I just opened my Comprehensive Russian Grammar at a random page and found:

  1. Agreement of the predicate with a subject which contains a numeral

Then follow 2 dense pages of explanations broken down in 12 subsections.

Certainly useful knowledge, but it’s not exactly a light read…

Then again, Russian grammar is well known for causing alcoholism in people, maybe a Japanese equivalent won’t be quite as soul crushing.

7 Likes

I just looked through the sample, and the problem with it is that it doesn’t show the actual entries of the dictionary, that is still just kinda the forward/introduction part that is a small part of what the dictionary is actually for. So while it might seem super dense and heavy, the actual entries tend not to be.

I’ll have to grab some photos tomorrow and add to the OP, so people can see what the general feel of the book is.

4 Likes

Ah ok, that’s interesting. I’ll have to order a copy eventually, it does seem like a useful book.

3 Likes

This seems like an interesting idea! I haven’t reviewed the basics in a while so this would be a good opportunity, then I could move on to the intermediate and advanced dictionaries. I have read a few pages in the past for the basic and intermediate dictionaries, although I never did finish them. I don’t remember the explanations being too dense, but it has been a while.

5 Likes

Well, it’s a read. It’s certainly understandable enough - not too dense or technical. I also used the example sentences for reading practice by covering up the translation with a piece of paper or whatever.

14 Likes

Better title: When will the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar Book Club Make Their Move?

16 Likes

19 Likes