I’m rather late to the grammar party, and my Bunpro subscription is about run out. I’m not planning on continuing it due to me already having too many SRS systems, but by the time it runs out I should be done with the N5 grammar it outlines.
My question: How much does A dictionary of basic Japanese grammar cover? Would I be wasting my money getting it or does it cover a lot more than just N5 level grammar?
I’m open to looking at other resources too, that’s just the ones I’ve been looking at.
@seanblue is correct, I’ve only come across a few grammar points so far that it hasn’t had (currently studying for N3) so I’m only now considering getting the Intermediate edition as I progress through my studies.
However, I’m firmly of the belief that even if it did just cover N5 grammar, you wouldn’t be wasting your money on getting it. It’s incredibly extensive in its explanations of each grammar point, with a lot of additional detail that I’ve never seen covered in textbooks. You have plenty of example sentences with specific nuances explained in detail, comparative grammar and when you may/may not wish to use it in place of the specific point you’re reading about. It’s been invaluable to my study, but obviously you’ll want something in place to practice the points you’re learning about. It’s not a textbook, after all.
Around 1 year ago, I quit doing BunPro for much the same reasons (Wanted to continue leveling fast in WK as I had momentum then). Before that, I had done all of N5/N4 and ~1/3 of N3 in BunPro.
Over the past few months, I renewed by BP subscription and started in on Dictionary of Japanese Grammar as it came highly recommended and I needed some basic review. Every single grammar point that came up for review, I would look up and read/highlight the article in DJG - note I have all 3 volumes (Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Japanese Grammar).
NEARLY EVERY SINGLE N5 and N4 point in BunPro are covered very well in the BASIC dictionary. On the other side of the coin, flipping through the basic dictionary after reviewing all the N5/N4 points, 90% of it is highlighted. Working my way through N3 now, MOST of the points I’m learning are found in either the intermediate or advanced dictionaries (but it’s anyone’s guess as to which). Very little of N3 is found in the basic dictionary, just as very little of N4 is found in the higher level ones.
TLDR: Basic dictionary almost exactly correlates to BunPro N5/N4. After that it’s very muddy - BunPro’s “N3 grammar points” seem to be jumbled between the intermediate and advanced volumes. If you’re planning on getting to/through N3 in the near future, I would recommend buying all three. If you’re happy with N5/N4 for a while, the basic volume has you covered.
Either way, I agree with Tofugu’s earlier review of the DJG series in general, the information presented is better than the entire internet for Grammar. Every time I learn a new point in Bunpro, I find looking it up in DJG and adding nuance notes to the BunPro article MUCH more effective than reading the websites attached to the grammar point.
That’s interesting to hear from two different people; this hasn’t been my experience at all. I’ve found way more N3 points in the Advanced dictionary than in the Basic. I am only halfway through N3 though FWIW.
Absolutely agree you should buy and pepper it in to your BunPro reviews, you will not be disappointed. But I disagree that you also need a textbook… then again I’ve never ever been a textbook learner as I’m still a slow reader after 11 years of post-secondary education. I’ve always found there are way more efficient ways to learn than reading a wordy textbook. Also re: more practice: you will find once you get to the intermediate dictionary that each article tends to be way longer, as most of them have around 1-3 pages full of just example sentences. I think between DJG and BunPro you really don’t need another grammar resource other than immersion once you hit that point. Just my opinion!
DoBJG was made before the JLPT, so it doesn’t have a official level, and contains a few outliers and is missing a few core ones. Nevertheless, it contains most N5/N4 points and not many points above that.
DoIJG similarly has a scattering, and I would say it contains most N3, and a decent amount of N2 grammar.
DoAJG has the remaining N2 and N1 points, along with formal grammar not on the JLPT.
The series does miss a lot of the colloquial stuff that the JLPT doesn’t cover though. The Handbook of Japanese Grammar is a bit better about it but also misses stuff.
I have it, and in my opinion DoBJG is not as worth it as DoIJG and DoAJG. This is because in Basic Japanese Grammar, a lot of the N5 and N4 grammar points are kind of clear cut, basic grammar particles which are mostly clearly distinguished from each other. However, once you get to Intermediate and Advanced Grammar, you’ll find that there is a truckload of grammar particles that have very similar meanings. This is where DOIJG and DOAJG are worth their money- the author and co-author perfectly describe the slight differences in nuance and when to use and when not to use grammar that are similar. I tried reading other Japanese grammar resources on the web, and IMO there is no resource better when it comes to explaining the nuance difference like DOIJG and DOAJG.
MegaZeroX gave probably the most accurate and succinct reply you’re going to get.
I still posit that a surprising amount of what BunPro deems “N3 grammar points” aren’t found in the DoIJG but are in DoAJG. Unfortunately though it is still quite subjective which grammar points fit into which JLPT level to begin with.