I found that Stackoverflow has just launched a new beta called Documentation, the concept of which is to build documentations for programming languages, etc. with the efforts of the community.

I'm wondering if it is possible and whether it is worthwhile to do similar things with the Japanese language. The motivation that I have in mind is to build a structure upon which the knowledge & insights shared in sporadic Q&As can grow and be organized in a more systematic manner. And indeed, one of the pros of such a structure, compared to existing textbooks & grammar books, is that it can continuously incorporate fresh materials from Q&As.

If many of us find it worthwhile & workable, we might advise StackExchange to customize the Documentation Beta for its natural language related sub-sites.

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    Note that SO Documentation is focused on examples of code rather than just explanations. The motto is "Show, Don't Tell." I think it would b great to have example-centric Japanese textbook of some sort. Currently, I'm using tatoeba.org for exactly this purpose, and I often find that it lacks many important features and information.
    – scriptin
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 21:17
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    I agree with this as there seem to be a fair amount of duplicate or semi-duplicate questions that would be better served with a place to gain examples (similar to documentation) as a "further reference" to a specific question. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 4:21

2 Answers 2


I think it can be useful. Let me try to pick out one example. We get questions asking how to make relative clauses:

How to say “Tell Paul to send me the letter I wrote for his father”

Relative clause in japanese

Complex subjects like “The [noun] that I can't [verb] is [verb]”

The problem is that each new instance of a "how to make this relative clause" is going to be different depending on the asker's needs, but they're generally asking about the same thing.

So, I think documentation is a good tool to handle these kind of questions since it focuses on examples, so we can show how to make a relative clause. This will allow us to have a place to direct such kinds of questions instead of letting the main site fill up with ad-hoc requests asking to check their sentence for grammatical correctness.

Some other things I think Documentation might be useful for are conjugation and formation rules. And maybe example sentences for things like compound particles, conjunctions and fixed sentence patterns.

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    It seems worth it simply to assemble a nice centralised database of explanations and examples. Stack Exchange provides a nice platform for that in that it reminds you about what you've missed in your documentation every time someone asks a new question.
    – Sjiveru
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 1:31

Unfortunately, Stack Exchange is putting an end to Documentation, so it won't be rolling out to other sites, and we won't be able to use it for our site.


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