Updated: Aug 2, 2019
I'm talking about this book just because I have a long history of using living language. I have living language Japanese, French, Chinese (Mandarin) and living language Korean. When I started learning Japanese when I was 16 years old. I only had 3 discs of audio and a course book, plus the Romaji dictionary they had for Japanese. Since that time and now Living language has up their game on refining the foundations of Japanese grammar, and utilizing the useful vocabulary for beginners. When I bought my first book, it was only the Japanese basics which was ok because I was making an effort with my Koudansha dictionary to learn more kanji. The down side to the basics book I had there was no writing book for katakana or hiragana. They did speak about kanji, but it was not in it. Now living language is including the writing side included with the coursebook and CD's. Which is really great considering, they just made you learn Romaji. Until you'd figure out what hiragana and katakana was on your own in the previous book. If you feel you don't know where to start learning another language on your own I made a video a long time ago about how to learn another language on your own.
"How to learn a language by yourself"
at the time I knew enough to translate what I was saying into Japanese subtitles. Because I was joining Japanese groups in Toronto and I was learning quite fast being around more Japanese speakers. I wanted all my new Japanese friends I made also know what I was saying as well, which made me pretty happy when I was able to do it.
In conclusion my greatest advice I can give you to excelling at learning Japanese, is to really pay attention to the grammar and the context of what characters are used in. Take the time to understand the grammar well because when you just start learning vocabulary. If your grammar is strong enough you can connect the dots with the new vocabulary a lot more easier. When you don't take priority on knowing the basis of grammar your entire speech falls apart, and you will tend to forget a lot more often in conversations. I can not stress this enough on how important it is to have a strong foundation in grammar. Because when you do everything else with a strong foundation everything else falls into place.
From 16 years old this is the old course book I started with. Even in its bad shape I still have a ton of invaluable lessons learned from it.
Here is an amazon link to the complete book that I used before.
This book is now updated revised and has 3 course books added up to essentials to advanced. I'd really appreciate and be very grateful if you use this link. A small portion of the purchase you already were going to make will go into supporting this blog to making even more Japanese study content. I really put a lot of effort breaking down Japanese grammar and giving effective study plans and if you ever get time check out my post on how to learn 60 kanji in 1 hr it's completely free.
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Thanks for reading!