Animals Flashcards


Today I compiled a deck for learning animal names. Back in 2008, I worked with a teacher named Mrs. Murakami. One day just before Mrs. Murakami transferred schools, she gave me her daughter's old ejiten (えじてん), or in English, picture dictionary. I studied from the book for a while and enjoyed it. Eventually I got hooked on electronic flash cards, and in an effort to make my flash cards more dynamic and therefore memorable and therefore good for learning, here's an Anki deck for animals with the names in English and Japanese.


This deck has 170 cards. Each card has an animal on the front and the name of the animal in Japanese and English on the back. That being said, there are many possible answers for any given picture. Consider a picture of a Golden Retriever. You might say Golden Retriever or dog. Or suppose you're looking at a picture of a green tree frog. You might say green tree frog or tree frog or simply frog. When you're studying, remember that any good answer is fine. If your answer is good but different from what's on the back of the card, add it to the card and keep going.

A biologist might object to some of the names I've chosen. Why, for example, is there a card for dog and another one for Golden Retriever, when both are dogs? Also, why are both pigeon and dove represented, when the Japanese is the same? The latter question has a good answer: it's often true that multiple English words map to one Japanese word, and the deck reflects this basic fact. As for the former issue, no matter what you do there are judgment calls. I'm using common names for animals, but common is contextually dependent — if you're talking to a dog owner, it might be handy to know a few breeds. Just to make things more mismatched, I also have cards for rooster and hen. The word chicken translates to tori in Japanese, but that word means both chickens and also birds in general. If you disapprove of my picture and name selections here, so sorry, you'll just have to modify the flash cards to suit your purposes, which you probably want to do anyway.

The pictures in the deck are public domain, and the deck itself is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Use it if you're interested, share it if you like it, and improve it if you're bored or extra motivated. Enjoy!