For anyone who has followed this blog you probably know that in the last few years I’ve started putting out eBooks with my translations of various pieces of Japanese literature. A few of these are in parallel Japanese / English to help those studying Japanese, but none of them have been about learning Japanese per se.
For my tenth eBook I wanted to something really special, something that would resonate a little more with my readers. Considering that grammar articles are generally among the most viewed on this blog, I thought that making a book about Japanese grammar was an option. Personally I would say my Japanese studies have been very grammar-focused, so I feel especially equipped to author such a book.
Japanese grammar has a lot of differences from English, but one area that stands out as being particularly challenging is particles. However, there are already a bunch of books out there on particles, some which are quite good, and I didn’t want to put out just another book on particles.
Then I realized that another area on my blog that has gotten a lot of views is mini quizzes, and these are something I particularly enjoy creating. Furthermore, I don’t think there are nearly as many books out there focusing on testing correct particle usage.
As a result, I decided to make my next book the first of a new series about grammar quizzes, titled: “Yaba-Q: Yabai Quizzes for Japanese Learners”. In this first volume, I focus on what I consider some of the most common, most important, and most difficult to master particles: “wa”, “ga”, “ni”, “de”, and “wo”.
Like my other books, in order to keep the project size manageable I decided to make just enough questions to cover the material without going overboard. I felt that 30 multiple-choice questions was just the right amount, and I’ve organized them into three levels: easy, intermediate, and difficult.
I’ve played around in a few mobile apps that provide foreign language quizzes and was frustrated with how little explanation there was; there was usually just a presentation of the correct answer, without too many details. That’s why in this book I decided to spend a lot of time writing detailed explanations after each question about why the correct answer was correct, and why the others were wrong. These explanations are like mini articles, where I will sometimes throw in other examples or usages not directly addressed in the question itself. Also, I added a brief introduction section that talks about the basic usages of the five particles in question, as well as readings and meanings for all the kanji used, so even beginner students can work with the book standalone.
As a bonus I decided to also add English translations of the Japanese questions so that students can spend more time focusing on the grammar, but these translations can also be used to test reading comprehension as a side benefit.
Particles are a tricky area, and when writing up the questions even I had a few doubts, so I decided to enlist a native speaker to be the editor and double-check the content: Kaimai Mizuhiro (開米瑞浩), who happens to be an accomplished author and has done his own share of blogging about Japanese grammar. While I am at it, I’d like to thank Yeti (from Shosetsu Ninja, a blog about reviewing Japanese books) and Jim Miles (of Annotranslate) for being great proofreaders.
The book is now available on Amazon at a release price of only $0.99. If you enjoy reading this blog please consider checking it out. You can check out the book here.
To give you a feel for what it’s like, below is an example of one of the easier questions. I’ve omitted the translations here, but those come right after the kanji descriptions themselves. You can see a little more content on the Kindle free sample available on Amazon, including the particle summary section.
As you can see from the questions below, the examples are pretty similar to those in my blog articles. I stick to everyday vocabulary, verbs, and sentence structure, though some of the more later questions purposefully have more advanced words and sentence structure.
Choose the sentence where the で particle fits best:
A. 犬はそと ＿＿ 遊んでいます。
B. 日本語の本を友達 ＿＿ 買ってもらったよ。
C. スイーツではショートケーキ ＿＿ 一番好きです。
D. そんなこと ＿＿ 全然知らなかった。
全然（ぜんぜん）not at all