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As the title of this question suggests, I was wondering about the difference between the two verbs 類推する and 推測する, in this context specifically:

(文脈から意味を) 推測する・類推する

I am used to seeing the former, but just today I came across the latter. From what I know about the meanings of the verbs I would guess that there is a slight nuance, in that 類推する implies that more of an effort is being made (in this context to deduce the meaning from context), whereas 推測する does not specify that one is actively engaged in a thinking process to come to a conclusion. Rather, the reader might just have relied on intuition. But I am not at all sure.

For clarity's sake, the full sentence this verb appeared in was:

上達してくると、読書中に知らない単語があっても文脈から意味が類推できるようになる

Is there really a difference between (意味が)推測する・類推する? Thanks in advance from someone currently struggling with small differences between the words 推測, 類推, 推理, 推論 and the like...

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Your guess is fairly correct.

The meaning of 「類推する」 taken from this dictionary entry is:

類似の点をもとにして、他を推しはかること。「過去の事例から類推する」

In short, 「類推する」 is to deduce from similar things.

For example, if you don't know the meaning of 「類推する」 but know the words 「似」 (== similar) and 「測」 (== guess), then you might get the meaning of 「類推する」 (== guess from similar things). This is 「類推」.

On the other hand, 「推測する」 is simply to guess. It still somehow implies a reasonable thinking process. It rarely is totally an intuition.


Short comments for other words: 「推理」 has strong nuance of reasonable (but uncertain) deduction. 「推論」 is similar; it is often translated as "to infer."


By the way, in your question, 「意味推測する」 (or 「意味類推する」) is strange in terms of grammar. It should be 「意味推測する」.

In your full sentence 「が」 is used instead of 「を」, influenced by 「できる」 in 「類推できる」.

  • Thank you, that example fits nicely! :-) You are right about the particle. I will edit it in my original post. – Eva van der Noord Feb 8 '17 at 17:03
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By my understanding, 推測する means something INFERS something. That is you draw a conclusion from a single content based on logic or reasoning. Whereas, 類推する means to ANALOGIZE. In the dictionary: "make a comparison of (something) with SOMETHING ELSE to assist understanding". 推理 means deduction, and 推論 is a noun for 推測する.

  • 推論 is a noun for 推測する ← But... 明鏡国語辞典 lists 推論 as 「名・ 他サ変 」(noun / する transitive verb)... デジタル大辞泉 and 大辞林 also say 推論 is 「名・ スル 」, giving examples 「実験の結果から推論する」「調査結果から事故原因を推論する」... – Chocolate Feb 8 '17 at 3:50
  • 推論 is a noun, whereas 推論する is a verb... – Davvvvad Feb 8 '17 at 4:02
  • ?? Your answer says 「推[論]{ろん} is a noun for 推[測]{そく}する」... Why not 「推[論]{ろん} is a noun for 推[論]{ろん}する」 or 「推[測]{そく} is a noun for 推[測]{そく}する」? 「推論(する)」 and 「推測(する)」 are not the same, you know... – Chocolate Feb 8 '17 at 4:26

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