JLect's 2014 Year in Review

  1. 3 years ago

    Zachary

    Dec 2014 Administrator

    Focus to focus

    Although JLect.com is not the most frequented resource in the domain of Japanese-language learning, its existence has become more and more known due to its heavy focus on dialectal terminology, online slang, and the Okinawan (Uchinaaguchi) language. These very three elements represent three distinct groups of searchers.

    Japanese dialectal terms, for instance, are most often looked up by native speakers of Japanese rather than people from the Anglosphere due to the lack of dialectal representation in Japanese media outside of the Tokyo and Kansai dialects. The second, online slang, is looked up by native speakers and even more so by English speakers. The reason for this is that most online slang terms are not entered in other dictionaries, even extremely common ones, so JLect tends to surface at the top of search results asking for the meaning of X. The last, Okinawan, seems to have attracted learners, aficionados and researchers curious about the language. In the online realm, JLect is uncontested when it comes to providing an English dictionary of Okinawan words, even if it is subpar to existing physical dictionaries and certain online Japanese resources. As a result, its Okinawan term database has been one of the most frequented dictionaries on the site.

    Given the above, I will continue as best as possible to keep on updating the online slang and Okinawan term bases. However, many regional dialects have few words entered into JLect's database, so I will try to give them a bit more priority in the coming year.

    A bit of statistics

    The most common browser language is English, with Japanese falling second. However, the most common country of origin in Japan, with the United States falling second. This suggests that the site has a considerable user base that speaks English, but lives in Japan.

    The most commonly accessed articles in 2014 were the following:

    1. けんじゃタイム kenja taimu
    2. うまりびーかりゆしやいびーん umaribii kariyushi yaibiin
    3. ワロタ warota
    4. ざんねん【残念】 zannen
    5. しっかりしろ shikkarishiro
    6. めっちゃ metcha
    7. くだらない kudaranai

    #1 would probably not have made it that high on the list if it weren't for the article having been referenced on Reddit in October. #2 is due to a great number of native Japanese speakers wanting to know how to say "Happy Birthday" in Okinawan. The rest can be attributed to the fact that, for these terms, JLect appears at the top of Google's results in English-language searches. I would also say that the popularity of しっかりしろ is due to the expression not appearing in other dictionaries, even though it's a pretty common expression in Japanese TV series and movies.

    The most accessed regional dictionaries in 2014 were the following:

    1. Okinawan
    2. Nagasaki
    3. Yonaguni
    4. Miyako
    5. Kumamoto
    6. Yaeyama
    7. Yoron

    I'm actually a little surprised to see that Tokyo, Kansai or other more northern regions didn't make it in the top 7. Instead, we see mostly Ryukyuan varieties, even small ones like Yoron.

    The most accessed categories in 2014 were the following:

    1. Slang
    2. Butterflies
    3. Internet
    4. People
    5. Body
    6. Insects
    7. Nico Nico

    Bugs are cool, right?

    What else

    Over the past year, I've been toying with a lot of different things, including the Tatoeba project (a collection of multilingual example sentences), the Leaflet project (to create a more interactive geographical map of Japan), and the KanjiVG project (to provide static and interactive stroke diagrams). I've also been working on a hand writing recognition tool and a new layout for the website. I also planned for the addition of the JMnedict (name dictionary) and the KanjiDIC (kanji dictionary), but have not had the time to look into them yet.

    Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. I have so many ideas that I hope to one day implement, but it will take time and patience. Hopefully within the next year or two I can roll out some of these changes.

    For now, I hope you've all had a good 2014 and wish you a Happy New Year !

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