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JLPT words #2

This is just a progress report so you won’t think that I have disappeared. I have converted all levels of the JLPT word lists (from http://www.tanos.co.uk) to be importable by my program. The original lists contained many words that were not found in the dictionary, either because the words’ written and kana forms contained mistakes, or because the words were simply not in the dictionary in the given form (eg. inflected). The only thing I have done so far was that I went through the lists and made the words “findable” in the dictionary, fixing mistakes and uninflecting those words where it made sense.

This was already a lot of work and the next one will be even more time consuming. I’ll have to check the word definitions (meanings) for around 9000 words and change them to be appropriate for study. Some words have a huge definition in the dictionary that’s not very suitable for memorizing. For example 上げる means:

  1. to raise, to elevate
  2. to do up (one’s hair)
  3. to fly (a kite, etc.), to launch (fireworks, etc.), to surface (a submarine, etc.)
  4. to land (a boat)
  5. to show someone (into a room)
  6. to send someone (away)
  7. to enrol (one’s child in school) (enroll)
  8. to increase (price, quality, status, etc.)
  9. to make (a loud sound), to raise (one’s voice)
  10. to earn (something desirable)
  11. to praise
  12. to give (an example, etc.), to cite
  13. to summon up (all of one’s energy, etc.)
  14. to give
  15. to offer up (incense, a prayer, etc.) to the gods (or Buddha, etc.)
  16. to bear (a child)
  17. to conduct (a ceremony, esp. a wedding)
  18. (of the tide) to come in
  19. to vomit
  20. (after the -te form of a verb) to do for (the sake of someone else)
  21. (after the -masu stem of a verb) to complete
  22. used after the -masu stem of a humble verb to increase the level of humility

(Source: JMDict)

To make things even more interesting, there is a different kind of mistake in the JLPT lists I have borrowed which will be more difficult to correct. (Probably originated from mistakes by companies that released official JLPT vocabulary lists.) The word 上げる appears in the N5 list as 上げる (あげる), then again in the N4 list as あげる, this time without kanji! Then once again in the N2 list with a different definition. N5 and N4 list it as “to give”, while N2 as “to do for”. Both meanings are correct, N2 just extends what was required on lower levels.

N4 and N5 has the same word with the same definition which must be a mistake for sure. I could understand this if the word without kanji would be in N5 and the same word with kanji in N4, but it’s the other way around, and 上 is marked as 4kyuu (that is N5 since 2010), so it makes sense to learn the word with kanji for N5.

I don’t know how I will solve the inconsistency in the meanings yet either, because in zkanji only a single “card” is available for each word item. I’ll probably have to include all important meanings at N5, but that doesn’t mean all meanings from 1 through 22. The definition will probably contain “give”, “do for” and maybe “raise”, but the meanings in the long-term study test are changeable, so you will be able to change this definition if you wanted to.

Another problem I’ll face is with kanji. It was “common knowledge” in tests before 2010 that kanji had a JLPT level as well. I have no idea what that means though, because in the JLPT vocabulary lists I have seen so far, were many words with kanji that should only appear on a more difficult level. I will have to decide whether to ask the kana/meaning of a word on the given level and leave the kanji test item for later, or ask all of them right away.

So the next step: make a JLPT vocabulary list importer/editor. (Programmers often have to create their own tools)

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