Why is "Young girl" considered incorrect for 少女?

I’m just confused as to why “young lady” is considered correct and “young girl is not”.
I know the Wani Kani team work really hard to make an awesome website, but this is a pretty silly error.

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I feel like there is a difference between a lady and a girl. I would guess they are trying to impart that 少女 isn’t really used to refer to young girls but I don’t have enough Japanese yet to read Japanese dictionaries for the nuances.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your answer. Quickest and easiest solution is probably to just add a synonym. There are some nice scripts that add additional features to the site, but that’s another topic.

jisho.org says “little girl; maiden; young lady; female usually between 7 and 18 years old”


It’s a little weird though. It accepts “young boy” for ‘shounen’ haha. I got sick of all the different words and trying to figure out what WK does and doesn’t want haha. I type “girl” for all of them XD


I think young girl vs young lady is the kind of difference which is inconsequential to everyone else, but incredibly important if you are, say 15…

The problem seems to be that “young girl” is not listed as a meaning only “girl”. Therefore, the word difference is too big for the system to accept it as a typo.

What you can do:

  • You can add “young girl” as a user synonym. So the item will be passed during reviews.
  • Apart from that, you can send an email directly to the Tofugu team and ask them if they can add the term “young girl” as allowed meaning. Or you can tag the mods and ask them here in this thread but email might be faster.

I don’t know when English language would distinguish between “girl / young girl” or “boy / young boy” therefore I can’t tell whether or not there is deeper reasoning behind it. But maybe it is only because another durtle in the past had asked the team to add “young boy” for shounen .

In case people are interested we also have The final 女の子 / 女子 / 少女 / and all words for “girls” thread … as there are a few more coming :slight_smile:

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Well for a start, young lady technically should never be used unless you actually have the title of “Lady” but whatever.

But that’s just how it is. The “少” part specially indicates small. There are other words that can be used like 女子 or 女の子 (which jisho indicates is common for “young woman”). It also doesn’t really matter how a 15 year old feels about it, either. You’re a girl until you’re an adult, and then you’re a woman. You’re a boy until you’re an adult, and then you’re a man.

The point is that “young girl” is the literal translation, a commonly accepted translation, and “young boy” is accepted for “少年” so, they should accept both, or neither.

“Well for a start, young lady technically should never be used unless you actually have the title of “Lady” but whatever.”

Are you posting from 16th century England maychance? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


That might be fair enough, I was suggesting that, at least in my corner of the English speaking world a fifteen year old might be a girl, but she wouldn’t be considered a young girl. (I don’t know what the cut off would be, somewhere around 10-12, depending on context?) she might be considered in some contexts a young woman. My point was that the hypothetical fifteen year old would be offended to be grouped in with a bunch of six year olds. Of course behind that is the more serious point that girl and lady aren’t completely identical in nuance etc, and neither are there equivalents in Japanese, at least according to the very helpful thread linked above. As a learner I could get away with thinking of them all as girl, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that they aren’t identical.

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