ふりがな和英辞典 - Kodansha's Furigana Japanese-English ペーパーバック – 2002/2/1
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Browsing through the pages of Kodansha's Furigana Japanese-English Dictionary, you will notice something different: none of the Japanese entry words appearing in this book have been romanized. Some people may be surprised by this feature, especially in that the book is seen as suitable for even absolute beginners. Others (particularly the Japanese-language instructors who pointed out the need for such a publication) will be delighted to find that a full-fledged furigana Japanese-English dictionary is finally available.
What is furigana and why is it so important?
Furigana refers to the small kana that are printed above or alongside kanji to show the pronunciation of the Chinese character. With furigana superscripts, the beginner who is familiar with hiragana and katakana is able to read even the most difficult and obscure kanji at a glance. Other publications either provide little or no guide to kanji readings or romanize some or all the Japanese words and sentences. Previously, romanized Japanese dictionaries were of some value to students using textbooks that contained no Japanese script. Recently, however, an increasing number of influential curriculums around the world are based on a rationale and methodology that demands the introduction of hiragana and katakana from the earliest stages. Learners and their teachers studying under such curriculums will inevitably feel more comfortable with a dictionary like Kodansha's Furigana Japanese-English Dictionary, one that shows the pronunciation of kanji with familiar and authentic kana script.
But it does not end there. The comprehensive 16,000-word basic vocabulary comprises a generous and balanced selection of native Japanese words, kanji compounds, and foreign loanwords. Precise and informative definitions, written specifically for English speakers, offer expert guidance on points of grammar, meaning, style, orthography, pronunciation, and punctuation. Concise and insightful explanations clarify even the most troublesome cultural terms. In addition there are 50,000 sample sentences that provide a context-based understanding of how words are linked together to form authentic and natural Japanese sentences.
Features that help expand word power and increase vocabulary skills have also been included in Kodansha's Furigana Japanese-English Dictionary. Common collocations, derivatives, and compounds show how word parts fit and work together. Comprehensive cross-referencing makes the learner aware of common synonyms and antonyms, clarifying both meaning and usage. Finally, three appendices explain in detail such complicated areas as conjugating verbs and adjectives, counting, and articulating foreign place names in Japanese.
All of this and more in a portable format and at affordable price. Kodansha's furigana Japanese-English Dictionary is the essential dictionary for all students of Japanese.
There is not a single line in romaji, so you have to know kana; I guess this excludes real beginners, say those living the first month of their Japanese learning experience. After that you will find this book an amazing source of information. Each entry carries furigana both in the search key and in the following examples. Said examples are by far the most precious part of this dictionary, as for most words there are at least a couple of useful expressions given as an usage example, while more complex or fundamental words have plenty of additional examples.
Very sporadically I found that some word I have in my electronic dictionary is missing, so I think that perhaps more advanced learners will find the vocabulary a bit limited, and this is the reason I think this is a perfect dictionary to start with. Again, there is only the Japanese-to-English part, so this is not the dictionary you need if you want to write something on you own.
There is just not enough vocabulary in this book. At times I would have to switch back and forth between the two dictionaries I owned, hoping one of them would carry the word I was looking for. Kodansha's dictionary is a huge disappointment; the quality of it otherwise is very nice. The cover is gorgeous and the semi-hard cover makes it durable yet still flexible. The entries that ARE in the dictionary come with a number of examples on how to use the words, and that is always helpful when attempting to write something. However, as I use the dictionary to look up words I don't know yet, it becomes ultimately useless.
First of all, this dictionary is nowhere near what it is claimed to be. "The essential dictionary for all students of Japanese" is written on the cover. This couldn't be further from the truth. I thought this dictionary would be very large because of its large page size and useful due to its "furigana" approach. I figured it'd be the "end all" of dictionaries for me as far as "medium-to-large" sized dictionaries go. Boy, was I wrong.
This dictionary is less than an inch thick, and the writing size on the dictionary is normal-sized... meaning it isn't condensed. When flipping through it, right away you notice that it doesn't have that many works in it. The worst part was I looked up a simple word "spider" which is kumo in Japanese with a bit of excitment, and was shocked that it is not even in this dictionary. The feeling of my heart sinking after I waited 2 weeks for this to come in the mail was very unpleasant. This book is absolutely useless. I looked up many other common simple words only to find them not included either. If you look at the 3-star review, you will see someone else agrees with me on this exact point. If you were to translate a book with this dictionary, the reading level of that book if all the words were to be in this dictionary would be that of an elementary school child... or less. Something along the "Berenstain Bears" reading level for Japanese. I'm not joking around either.
This is a huge waste of money for me. They really f-ed the dog on this book. If there is one "silver lining" that I can learn from from this purchase, it's that never to believe everything you read on the 5-star reviews.
Please remember though that this dictionary is ONLY Japanese-English and does not have English-Japanese. If you need an English-Japanese dictionary, then this dictionary is not for you.