A Handbook of Common Japanese Phrases
Words don’t exist as independent units, to be inserted into grammatical slots by a speaker exercising absolute authority over their placement. Rather, they tend to come in neatly bound packages – in fixed phrases or entire sentences – ready to communicate an idea that cannot be expressed economically in any other way. For example, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” is basically a set expression, allowing for little change. If a student of English wanted to express the thought behind this phrase, but wasn’t aware that a means of doing it already existed, he or she would be forced to resort to a great deal of circumlocution before the point was made.
This is exactly why common phrases are so important: they facilitate communication. Japanese, too, is rich in common phrases perfect for any number and variety of occasions. This handbook lists some 600 of them and explains when, where, and how to use them, providing alternatives for slightly varied circumstances and revealing their underlying psychology. While all this is done in an informative, practical manner, the book is also immensely entertaining and can be profitably read by anyone interested in Japanese etiquette and psychology. All in all, A Handbook of Common Japanese Phrases is a delight for students of Japanese at every level and anyone interested in how Japanese interact among themselves.
A Handbook of Common Japanese Phrases is based on Common Japanese Phrases and Common Japanese Business Phrases, previously published in the Power Japanese series.
About the Author
SANSEIDO is a leading publisher of Japanese dictionaries and reference books.
The translator, JOHN BRENNAN, studied Japanese at the University of Chicago and at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he lived and worked for fifteen years. He now lives in Chicago.
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