Book Review, N2, Non-Fiction

[N2] 辞典編集者(じてんへんしゅうしゃ)から見た日本語

If you are interested in Japanese linguistics or want to have a bit more insight into how Japanese works, this series of short articles for upper intermediate learners is absolutely invaluable.

Publisher: YomuJP (Tadoku Dōjō)
Author: 神永曉(かみながさとる)
Length: 10 articles à ca. 1200 characters

辞典じてん編集者へんしゅうしゃから見た日本語」is an article series on YomuJP (Tadoku Dōjō) written by 神永曉(かみながさとる. He has been working as an editor of several Japanese-Japanese dictionaries for a long time and in these articles he shares his experiences on Japanese linguistics and insights into what goes into publishing a dictionary.

Some articles focus on pecurilarities of the Japanese language such as the comparatively low number of verbs or absurd counter words. Others explain more of the life of a dictionary editor, e.g. how different editions approached explaining directions or how to accurately describe colours.

These articles have been published every other week since April 2022. There are 10 articles published so far and it looks like there are more to come! I’ve read most articles and really learned a lot about Japanese linguistics and nuances of some vocabulary.

The articles themselves are all written with upper intermediate learners of Japanese in mind. They use furigana graciously to support reading speed, but the topic of course needs some degree of higher level reflection of words and meaning fitting for N2 abilities.

This series made me think about the functions of language more in depth. We tend to believe a word in a language always has a distinct meaning attached, but more often than not there are many different nuances even for native speakers depending on usage. The native perspective of how the Japanese language works and where it can get complicated was extremely valuable to me as a learner and I absolutely recommend reading it.

Here’s where you can get an overview of the series. All articles are completely free to read and have adjustable audio options. Below are some personal recommendations of articles I particularly enjoyed:

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