Wanted: software to tag words and phrases when studying a language
July 24, 2014 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm studying Japanese. I want to tag and track individual words and grammatical structures that I'm learning. What software will help me do this?

A big part of my Japanese study is reading children's books.

I'd like to be able to take each sentence and tag individual words with grammatical and conceptual categories - so for

どこへ いっちゃったのかと おもってたら、おじいさんは、もりの はずれの かしのきの ねっこの したあたりを ほってるんだって。

I could tag

どこへ as a question word/phrase
いっちゃったのかと おもってたら as a -と おもう phrase
いっちゃったのかと as a plain past -た verb form
つくるので as dictionary form and a ので phrase

and so on.

PLUS I'd like to tag each word with its meaning, part of speech, and maybe kanji.

I want to then be able to select entries using any of my tags, and see all the individual words that have that tag, along with the sentence it came from, so I can review and compare similar constructions that I've come across in my reading.

I thought about just using a simple database or spreadsheet, but the tagging aspect stumped me - I don't know how to get multiple autocomplete tags in something like LibreOffice Calc or Base.

Any suggestions?

posted by kristi to Education (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
have you tried the iOS app called imi wa? it has a lot of functionality to make notes, it analyzes sentences on your clipboard, etc. it's really helpful - and free.
posted by nihonlove at 1:42 AM on July 25, 2014

A big part of my Japanese study is reading children's books.

I am very late to this AskMeFi, but I really want to recommend against this. The reason is that they are written in a style of language that is appropriate for very young children but not adults. For example, "いっちゃったのかと as a plain past -た verb form" is not accurate. いっちゃった is a colloquial form of 行ってしまった, which comes from the construction of a verb's -te form and the auxiliary verb しまう. Do't get me wrong - it's fine for an adult to use this construction of いっちゃった, but without a sufficient base in the language, you ended up thinking it is a single verb. Also, they contain a lot of low frequency vocabulary in children's books that is of little utility for a new learner. For example, かし is a certain kind of evergreen oak that does not even have a common English name but appears to be called Japanese blue oak.

I would like to recommend using Anki flashcards. For your flashcards, I would recommend having single words such as 森 (もり) or 行く (いく). Instead of a flashcard for つくるので, make one for ~ので to learn that it means "therefore/because of". Of course, there are several popular Japanese Anki decks such as the Core 2000 and Core 6000 decks. I really recommend using these to build up your core vocabulary.
posted by Tanizaki at 3:30 PM on January 23, 2015

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