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Exercise 1: Observing Refusals in Japanese -1


Unlike accepting a much welcomed invitation, refusing an invitation is usually not a pleasant speech act to perform. What strategies can we use in Japanese in order to build and maintain a good personal relationship despite the fact that we are refusing an offer that someone is extending to us?

Let’s listen to two sets of sample dialogues and compare each pair to identify some of the strategies used for refusals in Japanese.


Situation 1

A good friend of yours at college approaches you and invites you to a nabe (hot pot/drinking) party at her place next weekend.

Listen to Dialogue 1

Listen to Dialogue 2

Situation 2

Last week, the instructor for your seminar invited the class to an informal party to be held two weeks later. Since she announced it to the class last week, she now wants to know how many of the students can come. As she runs into you on campus, she asks you if you will be able to join them.

Listen to Dialogue 3

Listen to Dialogue 4


As you have probably noticed, Dialogues 1 and 3 are examples of accepting an invitation, while Dialogues 2 and 4 are those of refusing. In order to note the differences between accepting and refusing the invitation, write down a statement the speaker makes in each dialogue to accept or refuse the invitation.


1. Accepting an invitation

     Dialogue 1:


     Dialogue 3:



2. Refusing an invitation

     Dialogue 2:


     Dialogue 4:


View Dialogue 1 Transcript

View Dialogue 2 Transcript

View Dialogue 3 Transcript

View Dialogue 4 Transcript

3. What are the differences you have noticed in the language of accepting and refusing an invitation?

Your section (if applicable)/Your last name, Your first name:
Example: (in a box) 010/Smith, John

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