CARLA : Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

You can find out some cultural differences between Japan and your own country as you consider Japanese culture and society while answering the questions posed on this site. Also, you can learn communication strategies by listening to various situational conversations and answering questions about their content.

  • You can learn Japanese words and expressions while comparing various aspects of Japan's culture and society with that of your own country and picking up on the differences between them.
  • You can learn communication strategies for situations such as making apologies, giving requests, thanks etc.

How to...

If you want to learn some communication strategies in Japanese, first click on 'Pragmatics/Speech Acts'.

Next, you'll see a link for 'Japanese Speech Acts' appear underneath. Click on that.

Let's practise using the 8 situations in 'Introduction to Speech Acts'. From there, let's have a go at the tasks for each setting.

Let's look at Situation 1.

First, the situation is set up for you:

While waiting for a professor in her office, you overhear the professor’s colleague talking to a Japanese student. The Japanese student apparently comes a little late for an appointment and says, すみません。 Sumimasen. Much to your surprise, instead of making some comment about the student’s tardiness, the professor takes it all in stride and proceeds to make a cup of tea for the student. As the student is being handed the cup of tea, he once again says to the professor すみません。 Sumimasen. You ask yourself, “What is going on here? Why does the student apologize again?”

Having established the scene, you are asked to write your responses to the question in the space below.

In this way, when learning about the cultural background to each scene and studying useful communication strategies, language learners are first encouraged to think of their own ideas and reasons for each given situation as they proceed through the lessons.

Last update 2010.03.31