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Best textbooks to learn Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean from scratch? watch

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    I am going to begin learning all 3 of these languages (speak and listen, not read and write) very soon, from scratch.

    However, can anyone recommend me a great text book from which to learn the basics in each of these 3 key languages?
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    (Original post by Isambard Kingdom Brunel)
    I am going to begin learning all 3 of these languages (speak and listen, not read and write) very soon, from scratch.

    However, can anyone recommend me a great text book from which to learn the basics in each of these 3 key languages?
    I'm studying Japanese at university, and we've been using Genki 1. Myself and my coursemates absolutely love the textbook, but there are some other very famous ones as well such as mina no nihongo which some might argue is as good or better.

    At the moment, we use: Genki 1 textbook, genki 1 workbook, genki kanji textbook and genki kanji workbook.
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    (Original post by Quick-use)
    I'm studying Japanese at university, and we've been using Genki 1. Myself and my coursemates absolutely love the textbook, but there are some other very famous ones as well such as mina no nihongo which some might argue is as good or better.

    At the moment, we use: Genki 1 textbook, genki 1 workbook, genki kanji textbook and genki kanji workbook.
    Would you say that using a textbook is worthwhile if I am only intent on learning to say and listen to the language, rather than read and write?

    Do you think, thus, an audiobook which I can listen to while commuting may be a better idea?
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    (Original post by Isambard Kingdom Brunel)
    Would you say that using a textbook is worthwhile if I am only intent on learning to say and listen to the language, rather than read and write?

    Do you think, thus, an audiobook which I can listen to while commuting may be a better idea?
    The Genki 1 textbook also comes with a CD so it can help your listening.

    However, I'm not so sure now seeing as you only want to speak and listen Japanese. Maybe an audiobook would be better (and cheap). It's up to you, but I found that Genki 1 was excellent for improving my listening, writing and reading. I'm confident of my speaking as well but the exercises in the book concerning speaking are often for pair-work, so I'm not sure if it would be handy if you're learning it by yourself. I don't use the CD often but I suppose that could help you?

    It's up to you I suppose.
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    Some of my relatives had to learn Japanese while working and studying (other subjects) full-time and they said "Japanese for Busy People" suited them well.
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    (Original post by Quick-use)
    The Genki 1 textbook also comes with a CD so it can help your listening.

    However, I'm not so sure now seeing as you only want to speak and listen Japanese. Maybe an audiobook would be better (and cheap). It's up to you, but I found that Genki 1 was excellent for improving my listening, writing and reading. I'm confident of my speaking as well but the exercises in the book concerning speaking are often for pair-work, so I'm not sure if it would be handy if you're learning it by yourself. I don't use the CD often but I suppose that could help you?

    It's up to you I suppose.
    but youre in university... did you not have any previous knowledge of the language before you entered uni? im considering trying it but i have no experience whatsoever other than a few words i picked up watching anime...
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    I am thinking of enrolling on 1-year A-Level intensive courses for each of these languages in September. That's 3 separate A-level courses, part-time, and maybe not even with the same college.

    Advisable?

    Or would it be better to start with GCSE? :rolleyes:

    Is prior knowledge of the language presumed when enrolling on A2 language courses?
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    (Original post by Dmon1Unlimited)
    but youre in university... did you not have any previous knowledge of the language before you entered uni? im considering trying it but i have no experience whatsoever other than a few words i picked up watching anime...
    Not at all, and to be honest, I wish I had some knowledge like having known the alphabets at least. I was much like you in that I knew a few words from anime. It's difficult, but if you're motivated to work and interested, I would definitely recommend it. If not, I have to say that it can get very tedious and difficult.


    (Original post by Isambard Kingdom Brunel)
    I am thinking of enrolling on 1-year A-Level intensive courses for each of these languages in September. That's 3 separate A-level courses, part-time, and maybe not even with the same college.

    Advisable?

    Or would it be better to start with GCSE? :rolleyes:

    Is prior knowledge of the language presumed when enrolling on A2 language courses?
    I'm not sure, really. I've done 6 months of Japanese at university and I would say that we might have finished AS standard. If we've only done that or we've not even completed AS standard, then I'd say that it would be really difficult to do a whole A level in one year without any background knowledge. On top of that, you're wanting to do Korean and Chinese Mandarin! I'm actually studying three languages at university, but Japanese is the only one I've started from scratch (the other two are French and Spanish which I have up to A level standard) and I would say that it would be really difficult to do 3 beginner languages which are known to be difficult as it is!

    In that case, I'd recommend starting with GCSE. But, if you learn them up to or exceeding GCSE standard by yourself beforehand, then I suppose you should go for doing the A level courses. Doing them in a year is not impossible, but incredibly time consuming and hard.
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    Hmm, do you already know yourself to be an incredibly gifted linguist? If so, then go right ahead with your plan.

    Otherwise, well... I don't have any knowledge of these languages in particular. However, I do know a bit about studying language qualifications part-time because a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to learn languages, having never done any before apart from Latin. I did GCSE German from scratch in nine months (that is how short September to June is!), went on to AS and then A2. Now I'm acquiring French. (Doing a GCSE from scratch, in 8 months this time.) GCSE French is much harder than GCSE German was, even though there are so many cognates with English and German, because I'm doing A2 German too! And that's even though I am doing it at the same college, and the language department's lecturers co-ordinate work around other languages' deadlines.

    The sum of that advice is: don't simultaneously do fast-track NINE MONTH A-level courses in Mandarin, Korean and Japanese. Do the GCSEs first.

    Some people do go on straight to A-level and do well. However, every single one I've met was not only a gifted linguist, but a practised linguist (more than one language, generally one(s) related to the one they were taking).
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    Chinese - New practical Chinese reader + audiobooks
    Try some podcasts as well like Popup Chinese and Japanese 101
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    (Original post by Isambard Kingdom Brunel)
    I am thinking of enrolling on 1-year A-Level intensive courses for each of these languages in September. That's 3 separate A-level courses, part-time, and maybe not even with the same college.

    Advisable?
    Either way, both the GCSE and A-level include reading and writing.
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    I can't give you advice on either Korean or Mandarin Chinese but I can tell you about Japanese. I've used Japanese for Busy People I+II, Minna no Nihongo and Genki I books before.

    Personally I would have a look at Japanese for Busy People I, which seems to be reasonable priced and has a CD included. Get the 'romanised' version if you are just interested in learning the language without learning too much about the writing system. Get the 'kana' version if you want to push yourself a bit with Japanese reading and writing.
 
 
 
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