Thursday, December 03, 2009

Book review - A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Sentence Patterns - Self Study Japanese

Book Review – A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Sentence Patterns

Reviewed by, 2009, Copyright, All Rights Reserved

Author: Naoko Chino
Publisher: Kodansha, Tokyo, Japan.
Published: 2000.
ISBN: 4-7700-2608-0
Pages: 309.
Rating: 4/5 

Tags: Naoko Chino, Japanese sentence patterns, studying Japaneseself study japanese, japanese grammar, japanese reference book, book review japanese language, japanese customer

Concise, structured & practical

This book is primarily a sentence dictionary for native English speakers learning Japanese and is aimed at the JLPT level 4 and 3 student. It is based on a formula approach that aims to get students on completing the book to be able to speak in a range of situations using the patterns used which is an important and useful skill in gaining competence and confidence.

Sentences appear as entries & are written as they appear in full Japanese script with an English equivalent, so students get the full benefit of being able to see, and read sentences as they normally appear without the aid of romaji.


The reader gets a lot of useful side benefits while studying, for example, throughout the book a wide range of Japanese names are provided male, female and family names which allows the student a cultural insight. The content is excellent and well balanced and shows a wide range of situations in which polite, informal sentences used by male and female speakers and those between adults and children. The use of single sentences, question and answer, descriptions, conversations and a variety of locations provide a wide scope for the student to learn and understand the use of different patterns. The cultural insights the book provides are clearly its strongest points.

The book will help with reading skill; add new vocabulary, including verbs, adjectives and phrases used in everyday speech. From a grammar perspective the sentences show the correct usage and application of common particles. The book can be used as a stand alone guide or in combination with a course of study as a reference book.

Could be improved

The book starts out by showing three basic sentence patterns, noun sentences, adjective sentences and verb sentences patterns but quickly jumps into a structure that is not clearly explained and that mixes forms and patterns together. The grammar can be followed but the goal and direction are not clear.

A number of conjugation tables are given at the end of the book for verbs and adjectives but how to best use them is not explained. Unfortunately, from the student’s perspective, the book falls short on how to gain maximum advantage. For example: the student is left wondering how to best learn the sentences (i.e., read them allowed, cover and guess endings or memorize and repeat aloud?), how to best review them, how to practice them, how the sentences fit into the English grammar patterns already known and where does the student go after the book has been studied.


Japanese study self study books are hard to find so this book is a useful reference and provides important cultural insights into sentence structure and usage by sharing a range of situations by gender. However, the student will have to devise their own study plan on how to best use the book for their own study goals.

Rating: 4/5 ****

Reviewed by, 2009, Copyright, All Rights Reserved