Appendix talk:1000 Japanese basic words

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I just edited the entry for "blue" (kanji was wrong), removed the い for consistency with the other colors. Shouldn't the い adjective colors be listed somewhere with their い intact though? Also, I noticed both the Japanese and English wiktionary versions of this list don't feature any な adjectives, is there a reason for that? My Japanese isn't good enough to read the Japanese talk page to find out... -- 04:18, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Translation request[edit]

This is really cool and useful but could someone translate the rest? —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 2006-07-17 10:07:32.

Are you talking about the blue links without English text beside them or about the red links. For the translation of the blue links, just click them. For the red links, remember that it's a work in progress. :-) Rod (A. Smith) 03:51, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Nouns and adjectives are done. 06:46, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


I wonder if it's really appropriate to treat particles, and especially case particles, as words in Japanese. In spite of the name 助詞, they're accented as suffixes in spoken Japanese (thus を is accented differently in many dialects in 花を噛む and 鼻をかむ, although "hana" is accented exactly the same), and in children's books (which use spacing, as there are no kanji), they tend to be spaced as parts of the words they follow, e.g., むかしむかし、おじいさんと おばあさんが やまおくの ちいさな むらに すんで いました。

Treating them as words would seem to be like treating -o, -s, -t, etc. in Latin as separate words.


How were these words selected? Was it from something similar to Basic English or maybe a textbook?

This is (or was, and now needs more repairing) the basic list of 1000 words from the Japanese Wiktionary. They got it from some standardized list; I haven't looked. Robert Ullmann 13:38, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
The idea was to mirror the ja.wikt list, as a checklist for what we should have. They have added some words to the list, and it would be good if we could re-import it. (And we have significantly more entries than they do!)
Possibly we should move this to "Japanese basic vocabulary" or something, re-adding some of the recent additions, and then we can get a new copy of the ja.wikt list? Robert Ullmann 13:56, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Flash Cards[edit]

If it would be useful to anyone, I've used this list to make flashcards for the open source program jMemorize[1]. The flashcards can be downloaded here[2].


I wouldn't want to be the one who does it, but should some additional formatting be done for the sake of readability, such as placing the kanji for each corresponding hiragana in square brackets, and placing the romaji in italics? --达伟 21:10, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

That's it. Someone has to do it. :) Otherwise I agree, the formatting could be improved. --Anatoli 22:19, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I just inserted (Japanese) commas between the linked words (kanji and kana). That vastly improves the readability of that part. Italicizing the romaji is a bit harder to do correctly with just search-and-replace, so I didn't do that. [g] - dcljr 00:57, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I've made quite a few (additional) formatting changes, including:
  • italicized the romaji
  • used en-dashes instead of hyphens to separate the Japanese words from their English translations
  • used square brackets instead of parentheses for explanatory notes (parentheses now only used for romaji)
  • replaced a couple of instances of a trailing hyphen in romaji to indicate a "long vowel" with the macron version (specifically, "karenda-" became "karendā" and "gakko-" became "gakkō")
  • used "homemade" footnotes in two sections to indicate transitive-vs.-intransitive senses of verbs (and warnings about kiru and shiru conjugating like u-verbs) [neither 'ref' tags nor {ref}/{note} templates seemed like a good solution]
  • removed the following HTML-commented Japanese text:
    • "電灯の意味で" meaning something like "In the sense of light" (Google Translate) [this was apparently commented out because it was wrong; it didn't match the kanji version of the term]
    • "日本語学習者を想定しているため、基本語彙というよりはメタ語彙に属するものも含む" meaning something like "Since assuming the Japanese learners, rather than a basic vocabulary words, including those belonging to the meta-" (Google Translate) [this didn't seem to be necessary]
Those are the main changes; see the link above (to the page diff) for all of them. - dcljr 03:31, 18 September 2010 (UTC)


Hmm. Has anyone actually counted these recently? There's only 588 actual entries (i.e., bullets), the majority of which only have one kana version and one kanji version listed; and there's 1,100 links to dictionary entries. - dcljr 02:07, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

For comparison sake, the current Japanese Wiktionary version of this page contains 995 bullet points with 1,394 links to dictionary entries. - dcljr 03:40, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

The implied 300[edit]

In line with comments above,

  • This appendix is in a self-contradictory state, as it has fewer than 1000 words.
  • Many basic words are missing.
  • This mirrors the version at the Japanese Wiktionary, but their version has issues too.

Therefore this list should be considered a work in progress at this point, and I'm changing the stern command Do not add words to this list! at the head of the appendix to a request to discuss additions here.

To start out, there are a few points that should be agreed upon or discussed.

  • One word is considered a single lemma of a term, so にんげん and 人間 should count as one word.
    • Only the lemma should have a link to Category:1000 Japanese basic words.
    • The lemma is usually the most common written form, and forms written with kanji are preferred in uncertain cases.
  • The appendix should trend toward exactly 1000 words.
    • There should not be an end. This appendix should not be locked as long as there are improvements to make, and there will probably always be improvements to make.
  • "Basic" means that it refers to a prominent thing, concept, etc., not statistically the most common. This is not the 1000 most frequent words in Japanese, or a translation of the 1000 most frequent words in English.

Candidates for addition[edit]

  • sections of the corresponding appendix on Japanese Wiktionary that were not added
    • That appendix had a section for 形容詞 and 形容動詞. The second one has not been added, but it was very short and the selection was a bit odd to my eyes.
    • Conjunctions was a bit short. I have added a few but it is still abbreviated compared to their version.
  • terms on Appendix:JLPT/N5

  1. 明い (less common spelling, 明るい more common and hence preferred as lemma)
  2. -> therefore , , as well
  3. 開く
  4. 上げる
  5. 厚い
  6. 暖かい
  7. 洗う
  8. いかが
  9. いくつ
  10. いくら
  11. not that basic?
  12. 医者
  13. 一日
  14. 忙しい
  15. 一番
  16. 五日
  17. 一緒
  18. いつも
  19. 意味
  20. 入口
  21. 入れる -- 入る?
  22. 色々
  23. 後ろ
  24. 薄い
  25. 生まれる
  26. 映画
  27. うるさい
  28. 多い
  29. お母さん
  30. お菓子
  31. 起きる
  32. 奥さん
  33. お酒
  34. (N5 appendix lists お皿)
  35. 教える
  36. 押す
  37. 遅い
  38. お父さん
  39. 一昨日
  40. 大人

Identity crisis[edit]

TL;TR: This list has an identity crisis and there is no good reason for having it.


Clearly it is an arbitrary decision which word to choose among the tens of thousands possible, but what is the motive for doing so? This is not a frequency list. Otherwise there would not be words like "diarrhea" on it. Surely this is not an everyday word but a very helpful one to know in the right setting.

However this is also not a word list for travelers. How come when there is "diarrhea" and "doctor" on it there is no "hospital". Also "train" and "car" are on it, but "bus" and "bicycle" are deemed unnecessary?

Or is this list intended for language learners? It certainly is not. A beginner would have to learn 65 words for animals among their first vocab. Including "earthworm", "lizard", "giraffe", "lion", "elephant", "tiger" and "dragon" but not including "fox" and "bear" or "raccoon dog", all three beeing indigenous species of Japan, while some of the aforementioned are not. So what is the point of this list?