Free PDF download of 1000 basic Japanese words
Scroll further down the page to find the download for the PDF.
Okay, so the other day I generated the most common 300 words in anime vocabulary list which you can find here. I thought at the time that not everybody is interested in anime and that the non-otaku group out there would probably prefer a standardized list of basic vocab that they can use to begin their studies. Hence why I put together this PDF as well.
This list differs from the anime list in the respect that these words aren’t necessarily the most common words in the language. Nonetheless, they are incredibly basic words that a student of the Japanese language definitely needs to know.
The list contains somewhere around 1000 words and probably more. It contains nouns, adjectives and even bits of grammar. Pretty much everything you need to start off. However, as I mentioned in the previous post, I don’t actually recommend solely using vocabulary lists.
I would highly recommend learning words in sentences. Why? To put it simply, vocabulary lists can be very boring to use which means you are highly likely to get annoyed with them and stop using them.
Secondly, although you may have the translation of each word, you still don’t really get a full idea as to how its used or its nuances in Japanese. To really nail this you have to see the words in real, native sentences.
Thirdly, you have absolutely no context to help you with memorization. When using a sentence to learn a word, often times you will have chosen that sentence from a situation where you roughly understand what’s going on or you roughly understand the sentence itself (for example if you read a translation of it). This extra information makes it so much easier for you to get the gist of the words, grammar and nuances of the sentence and the components that build it up. (no context = extremely hard to learn).
How I Use Vocabulary Lists
For me, I use vocabulary lists in combination with sentence mining. Sentence mining is just what it sounds like. It’s the process of finding native sentences that you want to learn. These can be from books, subtitles, even music lyrics. The idea is that you get a sentence you really like and want to remember, then learning and remembering that sentence becomes a heck of a lot easier.
If you want to make it super efficient then take a look at my technique that involves the use of what I like to call “Sentence Banks“. It can make the whole process a lot easier and fun for you by allowing you to study from your favourite TV shows and films, so I highly suggest you check it out.
Learning to Read Japanese
I take it that most of you that will be using this list are here to learn how to read Japanese. If you don’t already know kanji then I highly recommend checking out Remembering the Kanji by James Heisig. Without it I don’t think I could have learnt to read Japanese, as the thought of learning 3000+ kanji scared me to death, but this book breaks it down for you in such a way that makes learning 2000 kanji in 3 months totally doable. I managed to get it on Amazon for a good price back when I first started learning Japanese.
I included romaji in this PDF but please don’t rely on it. Learning to read real Japanese is very important despite how big of a challenge it may seem.
You can download the PDF from the link below:
I hope the vocabulary list is useful. Comment below if you have any questions 🙂
マットBy Matthew Hawkins 2017/12/04 Follow me on Twitter
Undergraduate Software Engineer and Language Enthusiast.