Sheltered Initiation Language Learning 

Japanese Lesson 1: practice confidence.

To help you get an initial impression of words, it helps to use memory tricks like the following "associations." Say them ALOUD several times each, trying to visualize or understand their "meaning." (These associations are aimed at speakers of English; make up your own if you don’t like these.)

Oh, Charlie likes TEA

knee-coo for MEAT

ha, she uses CHOPSTICKS

he could o' sighed when I said "PLEASE"

Now say the words to be learned ALOUD several times.


Test yourself until you know all words studied. (It is best to use flash-cards with pictures as cues, rather than English words.)

Step 1: Word-Quiz

Translate each of the following words.

1. please

2. chopsticks

3. meat

4. tea


One of the secrets of SILL is to teach only 5 or so words at a time: This is how many words can actually be acquired well enough to speak with at any one time. (You can acquire as many words as you want, even in one day, as long as you acquire them 5 at a time.)

Step 2: Pattern-Drill

O-cha kudasai!

Practice this sentence-pattern by saying your own sentences.

Put the words learned together in a simple but communicatively adequate sentence-pattern. Don’t try to combine two things in one sentence: Keep it simple and use two separate sentences.

Step 3: Talk now!

Imagine being in a noisy restaurant. Order several things - in separate sentences. Talk very loudly, or you won't be heard!


Talking is a sport: Practice doing it smoothly.

Comprehension exercises: using context.

Use the sentences below as reading exercises — but they are also models and samples for how to comprehend in conversation. (These are exercise-types: Additional exercises can be constructed according to these types — some of them by learners for each other.)

You have guests: Can you catch what each wants? ("skip-comprehension")

1. Niku kudasai.

2. O-cha-ga irimas.

3. Hashi-ga irimas.

4. Niku-o motte kite kudasai.

Notice how, given the context (they are asking for something), you don’t have to know all the words they say. This is a model for how you can comprehend in a new language far beyond your vocabulary: (1) use context; and (2) catch whatever you can, and guess on the basis of that.

Japanese lesson 2
Main Menu
Intermediate exercises