Difference in nuance between 思想、想定、and 予想?

Wanikani is presenting all three of these words at once in level 13 and I keep mixing them up because I don’t really understand the nuance between them as well as all of the other words it has presented before for “hypothesis”

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思想 is a thought, or idea in the sense of “way of thinking” in the abstract. As in “what are your thoughts on the matter?”.

想定 is in the sense of expectation, mostly used either as 想定する “to expect something”, or 想定外 “unexpected”.

予想, is more of the meaning of “assumption”.

Latter two carries the same nuance as the english “expect” and “assume”.

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This one I think is a candidate for a complete rewrite of the meaning explanation and a change of the primary meaning. Because neither the primary meaning nor the alternative meanings listed are “expectation” [they are “hypothesis” (primary), “supposition”, “assumption”]; and yet, all but one of the Common Combinations examples use “expectation(s)/expected”.

Edit: Additional confusion is generated by 予想 being listed with primary meaning “expectation” alternative “anticipation, prediction” and no mention of “assumption”. 期待 is also given as “expectation” or “anticipation”. There’s also 仮説 and 仮定 given as “hypothesis” and “assumption” with alternative “hypothesis” respectively.

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@Mods what do you think of LupoMikti’s opinion on 想定 ?

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I live for this thread. I always wanted to deep dive into these words but didn’t really have the brain bandwidth.

Searching for these words in a book about the history of quantum physics that I have on Kindle, this is what I can see. Listed in order of frequency:

仮説 - hypothesis (in the scientific sense)
仮定 - assumption/hypothesis (leaning more toward assumption)
予想 - prediction/expectation
想定 - assumption (not used in this book at all like hypothesis)

Pretty much what @Gorbit99 said.

It’s interesting that the gloss “hypothesis” shows up at all for 想定. Here is the definition straight from the Green Goddess herself:

Blockquote
そうてい【想定】
〔仮定〕 a hypothesis 《pl. hypotheses》; (a) supposition; (an) assumption; 〔予想〕 expectation; anticipation; 〔見積り〕 (an) estimation; 〔将来の販売額などの〕 a projection

Maybe the problem is that in English we don’t really use the word “hypothesis” except in the scientific sense? I don’t know. What I do know is I’ll probably end up wasting the rest of my night on this instead of reading :upside_down_face:

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Thanks for the ping! I’ll pass this on to the team to see if they’d like to make any changes.

Update:

In case you haven’t seen the latest content post, we made the following changes:

想定 (13) - Made “assumption” the primary meaning, made “expectation” an alternative meaning, moved “hypothesis” and “supposition” to the allow list, added “assuming”, “estimate”, “estimating”, “expect”, “expecting”, “suppose”, “supposing”, “anticipation”, “anticipate”, “anticipating”, and “assume” to the allow list, and updated the meaning explanation.

予想 (13) - Moved “anticipation” to the allow list, added “forecast”, “prospect”, “guess”, “supposition”, “estimate”, “estimation”, “expecting”, “anticipating”, “predicting”, “guessing”, “suppose”, “supposing”, “estimating”, “assumption”, “assume”, and “assuming” to the allow list, and updated the meaning explanation.

期待 (12) - Made “anticipation” an alternative meaning, moved “expect” and “anticipate” to the allow list, added “expecting” and “anticipating” to the allow list, added “look forward”, “look forward to”, “looking forward”, “looking forward to”, “prospect”, “count on”, and “counting on” to the warning list, and updated the meaning explanation.

仮説 (17) - Added “supposition” and “tentative theory” to the allow list, updated the meaning explanation, and added common word combinations.

仮定 (9) - Moved “hypothesis” to the allow list, made “assume” an alternative meaning, added “supposition”, “assuming”, “supposing”, “presuming”, and “hypothesizing” to the allow list, and updated the meaning explanation.

We also made changes to these related words which weren’t mentioned in the thread:

回想 (13) - Made “reminiscence” the primary meaning, made “recollection” an alternative meaning, moved “retrospection” to the allow list, added “reminisce”, “reminiscing”, “recollect”, “look back”, “looking back”, and “recollecting” to the allow list, and updated the meaning explanation.

思想 (13) - Added “ideology” as the primary meaning, made “thought” an alternative meaning, added “thinking”, “big idea”, and “belief” to the allow list, and updated the meaning explanation.

想像する (13) - Added “to picture”, “to picture something”, “to visualize”, “to visualize something”, “to visualise”, and “to visualise something” to the allow list, and added “to think”, “to guess”, “to suppose”, and “to fancy” to the warning list.

感想 (13) - Moved “reactions” to the warning list, added “opinion”, “one’s opinion”, “one’s thoughts”, and “review” to the allow list, added “view”, “one’s view”, and “comment” to the warning list, and updated the meaning explanation.

推定 (34) - Made “estimation” the primary meaning, made “estimate” an alternative meaning, moved “assumption” to the allow list, updated and added new context sentences, and added common word combinations.

推測 (35) - Added “guessing”, “surmise”, “speculate”, “speculating”, “supposing”, “surmising”, “inferring”, “deduce”, and “deducing” to the allow list, added “gather” and “gathering” to the warning list, updated the meaning explanation, updated and added new context sentences, and added common word combinations.

予測 (35) - Added “estimation” and “forecast” as alternative meanings, added “predict”, “predicting”, “forecasting”, “estimate”, “estimating”, “speculation”, “speculate”, and “speculating” to the allow list, updated the meaning explanation, added two new context sentences, and added common word combinations.

Thanks again for the feedback!

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