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The title is pretty much the question. All three of these mean something like, "standard, norm, etc". I found the following example sentences that helped me get an initial sense of the words:


規範{きはん}:

倫理学{りんりがく}というのは、行動の規範の意味する。

Ethics means the rules of conduct.

それは私たちの道徳的{どうとくてき}規範には受け入れられない。

It is not acceptable to our moral code.


基準{きじゅん}:

あいての基準を受け入れるのは、そのあいての力に服従することだ。

Accepting the other's norms is submitting to the other's power.


標準{ひょうじゅん}:

このシャツは標準サイズだ。

This shirt is standard size.


I get the feeling that 標準 refers to a "tangible" standard -- maybe a property of something -- and 規範 has a meaning that has to do with rules, but is there a more succinct definition of each of these three that is sufficiently different that I don't essentially end up with three different flash cards that say "standard (of the x type)"?

  • I think that 規範 is used so rarely that it is better use of time just to concentrate on the difference between 基準 and 標準, which are used frequently. I would say 規範 is close to 専門用語 for very specific subjects. – Craig Hicks Feb 9 '17 at 18:03
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規範 is "norm", a pattern of behavior which your society/religion/company/etc expect on you (usually ethically). It's a relatively uncommon word. 「キリスト教における生活の規範」「社会規範」

標準 has two major meanings, but both correspond to "standard".

  1. average; normal; ordinary. 「標準的な身長の男」「標準サイズの靴」「標準モデルの車 (as opposed to premium model)」
  2. standard as in technical standard. It's something widely shared and respected among people, and it often has to be explained by a fairly long document. 「標準的な日本語」「HTML標準」「国際的標準に従う」

基準 is like 標準 but usually refers to much smaller things, such as a reference point, a baseline value, a criterion, or a threshold, with which you make some judgement or measurement. It may or may not be widely shared among people. For example, if you temporarily decide "I will reject students with scores below 60," that's a 基準 but not a 標準. 「メタスコアを基準にしてゲームを選ぶ」「診断基準 (diagnostic criteria)」「基準点 (point of reference)」

基準 has the broadest sense among the three, and they're often interchangeable. For example Pantone color system is safely called both 標準 and 基準. What's written on Code of Hammurabi is 規範 as well as 基準.

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"規範 = cannon, norm, law, rule" is literaryism. It isn't used daily. I and my wife never use it in our conversation. Some people use it in one's accademic articles or businesses and finacial institutions use it as "Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agences. = 証券格付け機関が順守すべき行動規範"

"基準 = basis, benchmark, basis of valuation, criteria"
Any evaluation requires its basis of evaluation.
If you are a HR person, you must have "採用基準 = the acceptance policies."

"標準" is very popular word in bussiness and especially industrial sector. Japanese business people like "標準化 = standardization."
If employees are left to do how he or she likes, there must be several ways to do the job. Then Japanese people says that "標準化しよう! = Let's standardize the process!" and they make "作業標準 = operation standard."

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I tried to do.

規範: standard of our behaviors

基準: standard from a particular view

標準: general standard

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I couldn't make it any shorter, but maybe this will help narrow things down:

  • 規範 standard - to aspire to
  • 基準 standard - to measure against
  • 標準 standard - to know

Edit: If you leave out 規範 and concentrate on the difference between 基準 and 標準 ,

  • 基準 is reference for measuring like things,
  • 標準 is a designation to distinguish one among like things.

Although, as language does not always follow rules well, there is the counter example:

  • 標準偏差 ⇔ standard deviation

which is used as unit of measurement in statistics. 「統計学では、標準偏差は基準単位として使われています。」

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    I was momentarily confused by your answer. Perhaps add the word "something" to make it easier to understand? i.e. "something to aspire to" Otherwise it's a concise yet clear and easy to understand answer. – Halfway Dillitante Feb 9 '17 at 5:19
  • Yes "something" would be better. – Craig Hicks Feb 9 '17 at 18:20

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