Question about the difference between 未決 and まだ決めていません

I guess my whole question is in the description! Haha. I’m not sure if there is an existing thread for quick and easy “what is the difference between” questions but I did a quick scroll and didn’t immediately see one. I did also google this question but I didn’t find anyone else asking this.

Essentially I just wonder if these are the same and how to use these in different contexts. I am primarily imagining the example of a waiter coming to my table asking if I’m ready to order - I feel like I could say either of these but I’m not sure if one is more appropriate than the other OR if there is a different nuance etc. I only just passed N5 (barely) this past December so I’m still quite the noob :')

thanks all!!

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Rough rule of thumb: if there’s an on-yomi kanji compound word and a phrase that’s not using a kanji compound and is using kun-yomi, the compound is probably at least one of more formal, rarer, or more specialized, and the kun-yomi word is more likely to be the daily conversational use one.

In this case, for talking to a waiter you don’t want 未決. It’s rare (jpdb shows it turning up in just 52 books of the thousands in the database, whereas 決める is a top-400 word that appears in over 5000 books), and it’s a bit specialized: it seems to be used in contexts like lawsuits that haven’t been decided, prisoners detained but not yet convicted, documents that haven’t yet been processed and the like.

I get the impression that the English word “pending” is probably a closer match in terms of the formality and slightly bureaucratic nuance than “undecided”.

This is one of those areas where WK does a slight disservice to learners: because it wants to provide vocab that reinforces the kanji readings, it tends to give you words a lot sooner than makes sense from a “teach common useful words first” perspective.

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Thank you so much for the detailed answer!! Definitely did not know the first bit and i’m sure that will be really helpful in the future.

This is one of those areas where WK does a slight disservice to learners: because it wants to provide vocab that reinforces the kanji readings, it tends to give you words a lot sooner than makes sense from a “teach common useful words first” perspective.

Yeah, I do agree with this but I’m not completely mad about it because I do think it drives the point/reading further into longterm memory… THAT BEING SAID it would be so great if in their “meaning” descriptions they put little hints like this more often so that we ourselves know when it makes sense to use them (output) rather than just coming across them on paper. They do for some words, but definitely not enough!

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Japanese and English are actually kind of similar in this respect: the words of native origin are more informal, while the words of foreign origin (in English’s case, French- or Latin-derived) are fancier and reserved for more formal contexts.

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Definitely agree WK missed a big chance with a lot of words. They already have people reading half a page for every single word, why not put more info on nuance in there! Such a wasted opportunity imo.

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I did not know all of this! Thanks for this deep and well-written reply! ^>^ Makes a lot of sense - if you know about it!

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