spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Strategies for Learning Speech Acts in Japanese

Information about this Website

These modular units are specifically designed for intermediate to advanced-level learners of Japanese by Noriko Ishihara (石原紀子), Professor of Applied Linguistics and EFL at Hosei University, Japan (email:, website:, and by Andrew D. Cohen, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, residing in Oakland, CA (email:; website: 


Please read the following information prior to the use of the curricular materials.

Information for Student Users

Information for Teachers

Information for Researchers

More information for language teachers, researchers, and material developers can be found at the CARLA Speech Act Website. Also, please note that there is a link at the end of each speech act page to an annotated bibliography on the realization of that speech act in Japanese.

The information about the research study determining the effects of these curricular materials can be found at Learner Strategy Training in the Development of Pragmatic Ability at CARLA.



Some of the exercises include MP3 audio files.  If you are not able to hear the audio in the exercises, check to see that you have either QuickTime (Mac) or Windows Media Player (WIN) installed.

If Japanese characters are not readable, click 'View' on the tool bar, select 'Encoding', and select 'Japanese'. 


Exercises for Learners of Japanese

Let’s start by doing the exercises in Introduction to Speech Acts!

In these introductory exercises, you will be asked to write down your observations in each situation.  Your responses will be e-mailed to us as soon as you finish with all each question and click on 'Submit' at the end.  Then, you will be able to see some comments regarding the question.

Situation 1    Situation 2     Situation 3     Situation 4

Situation 5    Situation 6     Situation 7     Situation 8

After finishing the Introductory exercises, move on to exercises for each speech act.

Apologies in Japanese

Compliments/Responses to Compliments in Japanese

Refusals in Japanese

Requests in Japanese

Thanks in Japanese

In concluding all speech act strategy exercises, you are invited to view an additional set of strategies for learning how to perform or enhance your performance of speech acts in a second language.

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