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I have a huge database of Japanese words and want to split them into flashcard decks of different difficulty levels. (actually for a GSoC project)

For this, I need to know the "difficulty" of each Japanese word.

Difficulty of a word is not easy to define, but it is probably a mix of:

  • Level of study needed to understand the signified meaning
  • Rarity of the signifier in litterature
  • Rarity of each character in the signifier
  • Length of the signifier
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You can start by gathering Japanese books or documents which you know the difficulty level of (e.g. reading level of the book). Match your list of words to your set of books/documents to derive the difficulty of your words. This will probably give you a pretty decent classification to start with. You can then improve your classification by looking at additional things like the ones on your list.

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