Do you recommend a dictionary of Japanese grammar?

So title. I’m looking at “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese grammar” on Amazon (they have the ebook and it’s way cheaper). Anyone recommend/not recommend this book? Whereabouts should I be in my studies before I purchase it? I’ve done a little bit of Genki and added the little I know to Bunpro, but that’s it at this point, in addition to WK. Just wanted to get some opinions or if people recommend a different way to really cement the grammar points when I run into them.

To be honest I’m not even sure if I were to look at a Japanese sentence that I would know what to even look up in a grammar dictionary so I’m wanting to get as much info as I can since on paper it seems like a good resource.

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I don’t think there’s any reason not to recommend it on the basis of your ability level. It’s basic after all. If you are reading level-appropriate texts, it should be helpful. If you read more difficult things, you’ll run into grammar points covered in the intermediate or advanced volumes, but you can always turn to a different resource in that case. The nice thing about these books is they always have lots of examples written by natives, usually with additional notes of caution or nuance.

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Can’t imagine not recommending it. Even if you’re not getting a lot out of it now, consider it an investment

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As someone who has, quite literally, read the book from cover to cover, I heartily recommend it. :grinning:

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You can’t go wrong with the Basic grammar dictionary. Even though it’s called “basic”, it has a ton of grammar points. Even if you don’t use it much now, you will find use for it later if you keep studying Japanese.

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Thanks (to you and everyone else)! I’m looking at getting the graded readers with my Christmas money so I was thinking it would complement that well.

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For a beginner, the Graded readers are probably the best thing you can get

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highly recommended. I own all three of these (basic, intermediate and advanced), and took them into my recent translators exam (including the basic one).
The explanations and examples are great, they’re good to read cover to cover or just as a reference to look up the odd grammar point.

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I also strongly recommend these books (I also have all three). Possibly the most comprehensive collection of grammar examples with thorough explanations, and they’re thoroughly vetted by some of the best in the industry. The Basic Dictionary probably covers everything up to and including N3 material, and does a really good job explaining the various nuances that other language resources (including Genki and Bunpro) flat-out miss. It’s not that other resources are bad, it’s that the Dictionaries are that thorough. There are so many example sentences you’ll probably learn quite a bit of Japanese just from reading it.

Also, I recommend getting a physical copy. It’s easier to use, in my opinion.

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I recently bought a copy from Kinokuniya and I’m actually disappointed in it because it is far below my current level (JLPT N3, studying for N2), which I did not realize from the reviews others had posted. I should have probably bought the Intermediate or Advanced versions (or both) instead as most of the grammar patterns I am learning are not included in this book.

That said, for a beginner, it seems a very good supplementary grammar reference / refresher. That is, say you are using a regular grammar textbook to learn Japanese but have trouble understanding a new grammar pattern. This book may describe it differently or give more examples, which can be helpful. Also, if you encounter a grammar pattern you don’t know when reading a book or an online article this book is very good for quickly looking up that grammar and seeing an explanation and example sentences, and because it is organized alphabetically (using the English alphabet) it is easy to find whatever you need.

Every single example sentence is written normally (i.e. combination of kanji / hiragana / katakana) and then also in Romanized form (romaji) and then an English translation, which is very beginner-friendly. I personally would have preferred no romaji, though this is in part because in University my class used “Japanese the Spoken Language” as a textbook and I think that I really fell behind on reading due to that crutch, so I try to avoid it whenever possible.

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Is it really from 1989? Cant seem to found newer editions

Yes, it’s a good purchase. It’s the best grammar book I’ve come across. The explanations are clearly explained and it has a lot of grammar packed into it that will last you well into the intermediate level.

I also wholly recommend a kanji dictionary to go along with your wanikani lessons as well. I’ve used the Kodanshi Kanji Dictionary but there are others out there that you can use (ideally, this is better as a digital purchase so you can look up kanji quicker).

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Yes, I bought mine this year and it is copyrighted 1989 and printed 2020.

I bought both the basic and intermediate version, don’t think they are the latest versions though since I got it off secondhand too. I used it occasionally when the notes I’m looking at is not sufficient for me to understand, so I would recommend it to everyone else.

I don’t think older versions suffer in the same way that old textbooks do. Like, I don’t think there are lots of sentences about listening to music on cassette players or saving a file on a floppy disc.

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A while back someone made them all searchable. I believe it uses an Anki deck as the backend database. It makes it really helpful for quick lookups. Here’s the website

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damn that’s way better than swimming through the full pdf versions

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wow, and that contains all that is in the book?

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Yep, as far as I know. The search function is pretty decent, too

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Or “as well”. Get the full set.

Intermediate and Advanced volumes lack the romaji (though they do have furigana). And I think the less said about Japanese the Spoken Language, the better. :stuck_out_tongue:

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