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When The Word You’re Searching For Isn’t In The Dictionary — 6 Comments

  1. This is a super handy technique. And wow I wasn’t even aware of that third one, nice :)

    For those who haven’t tried this yet, the first time you google something in Japanese and are able to understand the answer you find is a pretty great moment. Give it a shot sometime!

    • The third one can be a lot of fun because sometimes knowing the origin of the word as well can open a massive window behind the culture.

  2. I often use とは and 意味 when searching for definitions, but wasn’t aware of 語源. Sounds like a great way to gain real depth of knowledge. Two websites that go into good detail about the roots of expressions are:

    http://zokugo-dict.com/ for slang terms, and
    http://kotowaza-allguide.com/ for idioms and 四字熟語.

    For technical words, often compounds of two or more existing words, the first line or two from the Japanese Wikipedia page can provide a succinct and usable definition. The online dictionary Weblio often contains excerpts from Wikipedia pages, as well as plenty of example sentences if you look in the 英語例文 section.

    • Great additional resources!

      I’m a big fan of the kotowaza site as it lets you pick up some really “deep” Japanese.

      I also like the gogen site which looks like it is a sister site of the kotowaza one.

      http://gogen-allguide.com

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