Question: Is there an easily accessible list of terms in the Japanese grammar written both in Japanese and English?

I received a comment from Ali on this question:

Hi. Thanks for your question but like a lot of the initial ones it is off topic. Please stick to questions about the language itself (which admitedly, may not be particularly useful for you!) Thanks. – Ali

I had thought that this question would be appropriate because in my opinion, a question about the technical terms to describe the Japanese language is a question about the Japanese language. I would like to know what others think.


In general, dating all the way back to the Stack Overflow beta days, list based topics have generally been seen as inappropriate for the question and answer format of the Exchange Network sites. That said though, the way I read your question is that you are looking for a specific tool (i.e. a list of technical terms and their translation) for which a very defined answer should exist. Thus, at this point in time, I also don't see any reason why this question should be off topic unless the content itself (i.e. request for a language specific resource) is off topic.


A good guideline for questions is "does this have an answer". Personally I suspect that after we reach a certain size, we can probably absorb a few "list of X, Y or Z"-type questions.

We're seeing the same thing here that we see in other early betas... lots of questions that are much better suited for social communities (like traditional forums), rather than answer-focused information sites. It's probably best to err on the side of strictness at least while we're in the private-beta period.

  • I'm not sure this is a list of type question though - asking if something exists (which may generate a short list of it) is not quite the same as asking for a list of something. If someone is unaware of the existence of something then it should be a fair question for them to ask. However, as @Grigory M says, it's a bit of a gray area in that it could generate a list as an answer, but that is not the intent of the question. – anonymous May 31 '11 at 20:28
  • The only reason I thought of it as a list question is that there are essentially an infinite number of language terms that could show up here... so I'm not sure you can have "an answer". – jkerian May 31 '11 at 20:38
  • To me it sounded like they were asking for a technical dictionary and I answered it as such. Knowing what to look for is sometimes enough for someone to find it. – anonymous May 31 '11 at 20:41

Perhaps I could have been a little more helpful in my response. If you had asked for a the terms themselves (for example provided a list of terms in Japanese that you couldn't find the correct words for in English) rather than a link to an outside list, then I believe it would be more in keeping with the stack overflow ethos of actually being the content rather than linking to it. Hope that makes things a little clearer.

  • (1) I do not see any connection between your old argument (in the comment on the question) and your new argument (in this answer). Did you take back your old argument, or do I still have to defend my question from your old argument? (2) I have an objection to your new argument, too, but I will write it after you clarify your opinion because I do not want to keep arguing against a moving target. – Tsuyoshi Ito May 31 '11 at 20:15
  • Please, defend away. I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve though. – Ali May 31 '11 at 20:19
  • You changed your opinion without admitting so, which makes me alarmed. Honestly speaking, I want to judge whether I should continue arguing with you or it is just a waste of time (for both of us). – Tsuyoshi Ito May 31 '11 at 20:25
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    Just so that we're entirely clear, I think it's off topic because it's asking for a resource (an off-site list). In my answer to this question I suggested what would make it 'on-topic'. If you could make clear what exact problem you have with what I've said then perhaps we could better reach a consensus? – Ali May 31 '11 at 20:28
  • (1) So your reason is not because this is not a question about the Japanese language, but because it asks for an external resource (contrary to what you wrote in your comment on my question). I am fine with this, but it is better if you corrected your older words by yourself. (more) – Tsuyoshi Ito May 31 '11 at 20:38
  • I'm sorry, but that's just wrong. Your question: "Is there an easily accessible list of terms in the Japanese grammar written both in Japanese and English?" is about a list. Much like other peoples questions about dictionaries, language learning tools and other useful things for learning (about) Japanese, it's off topic. – Ali May 31 '11 at 20:41
  • (cont’d) (2) I do not think I have any problem looking up each technical term in a dictionary one by one except that it is inconvenient. The question asks for a more convenient way. So it is unrealistic, at least for me, to ask for the English translations for specific technical terms. Therefore, if this question is closed because it asks for an external resource, I will leave it closed rather than edit it to the form you suggested. But please reconsider whether it is really good for the users of this site. – Tsuyoshi Ito May 31 '11 at 20:42
  • Also, like a lot of the other questions we've been closing, it would be really good as a community wiki item. – Ali May 31 '11 at 20:42
  • Oh, I did not know that you were arguing that a question about resource about the Japanese language was not a question about the Japanese language! I think that it is ridiculous, but if that opinion is supported by many users, there is nothing I can do about it. – Tsuyoshi Ito May 31 '11 at 20:45
  • We are indeed arguing that and there are a lot of opinions. You're welcome to chime in here: meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/1/… – Ali May 31 '11 at 20:47
  • Thanks for the link. I will keep an eye on it, but I will probably not chime in there. If it is decided to be off topic, I am not likely to use this website, but that is not a big deal for either of this site or me. – Tsuyoshi Ito May 31 '11 at 20:52
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    Fair enough, but that's a real shame. Also, it's a huge deal for this site. Bilingual Japanese answering questions could make an enormous contribution to the quality of answers here, so I'm genuinely sad to see you go. – Ali May 31 '11 at 20:56

Probably, this question lies in "gray area", but I think it should stay: it's aimed for experts and useful; and (unlike "best of" lists) not subjective & argumentative.

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