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Vocabulary learning order

Joyo Kanji is the guide to learning Chinese (Japanese) characters that have been specified as the most frequently used in its actual daily use. I think this system is amazing in that they organize characters in a way that is required to learn at each level during school years. This allows them to use and understand most of the basic characters, and this also benefits foreigners learning Japanese so that they can learn the language in exactly the same order native Japanese speakers do. That way, these foreigners can also save themselves tons of time, without being bothered by unnecessarily big, highfalutin vocabulary or kanji characters.

The reason I'm talking about this is that there seems to be no particular order with which I should learn English vocabulary. Maybe I'm too used to that systematized way of learning things that I went through when I was in Japan, but because of this, sometimes I get a bit embarrassed. For example, I have been learning English for 5 years, but just about a week ago, I learned the new word, "ginormous," from a 7 or 9 year old girl eating a big cake or something. I was a bit surprised and even shocked because, to me though as an English learner, the word "ginormous" seems to be such a big word. I don't know, maybe it is not a big word, or maybe this girl's intelligence is above the average, or maybe I recognized it as a big word just because it was "new" to me, but when I think that this is just the tip of the iceberg, I must admit that I still don't know English vocabulary as much as this girl does.

So my question is.. is it true that there is no particular order that English learners might want to follow? I'm just curious. Because when I go to the bookstore and take a look at children's books, I become sad.

Jul 14, 2016 9:00 PM
Comments · 5

Not that I know of, but maybe native speakers know better. Anyway, if it makes you feel better, if there was an order, I think most of those words you mention would come pretty late on, and kids would still have a chance of picking them up from their environment before they show up on their lists.

July 15, 2016


The reason I brought up the word "ginormous" is just because I wanted to give you an example of what I'm talking about. I was lucky to be able to see the little girl using that word because it gives me sort of like a hint that the word might be slang, but if it had been in a book or an online article, I might have been fooled that it could be an extremely big word.


Other example words include "toot" "shifty" "despondant" "distraught" and "dangling," and I learned most of these words from a children's book. I just learned the word "toot" a couple days ago, and the rest of the example words about 2 years ago. I won't say "toot" and "shifty" are big words, but "despondant" and "distraught" sound like big words. I'm not talking about me trying to tell them apart and put them into the categories of "easy or big vocabulary" or "formal or slang words," but I'm saying that because of the lack of a certain vocabulary learning order, I feel kind of "left behind" by those kids using the kind of words I don't recognize.

But please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying "please help me get through this tough situation" or anything. I'd just like to know if there is a certain vocaulary learning order with which I could learn vocabulary better.

July 14, 2016


I see.

July 14, 2016

No it's not a big word, it is informal, a little funny I would say (gigantic+enormous). Yes, I have heard it, but I would not use it in a conversation. Kids have their own slang. Maybe it's one of those words that are more likely to be used by a kid than by an adult. I wouldn't worry about it.

July 14, 2016

I learned Chinese characters by recognizing  radicals which are the backbone of a Chinese character.

July 14, 2016
Language Skills
English, Japanese
Learning Language