Japanese vocabulary (introduction)

Learning Japanese vocabulary is hard! This is one more tool to help you in that task.

This book is laid out thematically. (Please see the table of contents.)

Publication history

The first edition of this book was published in 2005, to generally positive reviews. The updated edition implements the following changes:

More words: I added more words to account for certain changes that have taken place since 2005. For example, there was no such thing as “social media” in 2005. (Well…not unless you count MySpace.)

New layout: The layout for the 2019 edition is simpler, with fewer distracting tables and other elements. The order of each vocabulary item is: kanji + kana + English. For items that consist of only hiragana or katakana, only one version of the word is given.

Lines and parentheses: One of my goals was to keep the layout of the second edition of this book as simple and free of distractions as possible.

For shorter entries, the hiragana are included directly after the kanji without any extraneous elements.

Here’s an example, from the first chapter:

    きた   north

For longer words, and words that include both kanji and hiragana, I’ve divided the kanji/hiragana versions of the words with either a line or parentheses.

Here’s an example of a case like that, from a later chapter:

損害賠償を請求する (そんがい ばいしょう を せいきゅう する) to claim damages

You can see the difference. The first entry is very simple and straightforward; parentheses would be a distraction. On the other hand, the second entry is long and complex, and it really needs to be broken up in order for the reader to clearly see where the entry ends, and the hiragana breakdown begins.

I basically asked myself a question in regard to each entry: Will it be obvious to the reader where the word ends and the hiragana breakdown begins, if I don’t enclose the latter in parentheses?

This was obviously an art as much as a science. My goal, once again, was to create a text that is as distraction-free and easy-to-read as possible.

Electronic version: Ebooks were a relative novelty in 2005, so there was no electronic version of the first edition. The second edition is available in ebook as well as paperback.

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What this book is…and what it’s not: This book is a vocabulary study and enhancement tool. It isn’t a dictionary. The best way to use it is to browse the chapters, concentrating on the word categories that are most useful for your situation.

This book was written for serious students of the Japanese language. It therefore assumes some basic knowledge: Specifically, you need to know katakana and hiragana. (All kanji are broken down into hiragana.)

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I hope this book proves useful to you! If you have any feedback, there are directions for contacting me at the end the book. Thank you!

Edward Trimnell

March 2, 2019

Table of contents