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Exercise 6: Simulation Exercises for Making a Request


Read the situation below and complete the dialogue as if you were actually carrying on a real conversation with the other person. Type into each box in the sequence what you would most likely say at that point in the interaction. Later you will be asked to reflect on your language use.



You are a college student and stay with a host family in Tokyo. Your host sister, Hiroko, is a very good friend of yours. However, she likes to have the TV on loud in the evenings, and you have difficulty concentrating on your studies with the TV blaring. You want to ask Hiroko to turn the volume down on the TV while you are studying.


(Hiroko approaches your desk and says:)

Hiro: どう、宿題は? Doo, shukudai wa?

1. You: (respond to the question)


Hiro: はやく終わりにしてテレビでも見ようよ。 Hayaku owarini shite terebi demo miyouyo.

2. You: (make a request)

3. Hiro: あ、そうだったの。ごめん、ごめん。 A, soudattano. Gomen, gomen.

You: (thank him/her) 



4. Now, let’s listen to a sample dialogue between two roommates. Observe their language carefully. Write down the request statement the first speaker makes.

Click to Listen



5. Reflect on the important situational factors that are most likely to influence your speech:

   - Age difference between the two speakers
   - Role/status difference between the two
   - Closeness or distance between the two
   - Magnitude of the request (degree of imposition)

Now let’s review the politeness levels of a request:

・・・してくれない/もらえない*?          …shite kurenai/moraenai*?                                                 Plain form (no honorifics, casual)
・・・してくれませんか/もらえませんか?   …shite kure masenka/ morae masenka?                  Desu/masu form honorifics (polite)
・・・してくださいませんか?         …shite kudasai masenka?                                                         Exalted form honorifics (very polite)
・・・していただけませんか?         …shite itadake masenka?                                                          Humble form honorifics (very polite)

* もらえる moraeru is slightly more polite than くれる kureru.  Note also that the negative form of request (e.g.,・・・してくれない ...shite kurenai?) is more polite than the affirmative (e.g., ・・・してくれる? ...shite kureru?).


In light of the situational factors and the level of politeness, how appropriate do you think your request was?


6. What are the other strategies being used in the sample dialogue?

Listen Again

View Transcript


7. Listen to another sample dialogue between two roommates. Pay attention to the language of requesting and other strategies being used in this dialogue.

Click to Listen

View Transcript


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