Sheltered Initiation Language Learning 

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Japanese Lesson 2: practice fluency.

Preparation: Say the associations aloud,

what Tashi wants is I (watashi- = "I")

what is a SUBJECT MARKER? (-wa is a subject marker)

sense say the TEACHER

can he toe the PERSON?

Cocky must he be if he WRITES.

Oh, Dorie must think before he DANCES.

…now say the words.
-wa (see note 1 below)
kakimas (see note 2 below)
odorimas (see note 2 below)

Note 1: "The" and "a" are not expressed in Japanese. But Japanese sentence structure is a little tricky: The subject always has -wa as in the sample sentence. To call the teacher, you say just Sensei! But when you say that the teacher does something, you must say Sensei-wa (odorimas).

Note 2: The verb always has -mas, as expressed in the special association:

"Sentence-structure is what you must use."

Always use the subject.

Step 1: Word-Quiz

Translate each of the following words.

1. teacher

2. writes

3. person

4. dances

5. I

6. tea

7. please

8. meat

9. chopsticks

10. subject marker


Step 2: Pattern-Drill

Sensei-wa kakimas.

Practice the sentence-pattern by saying your own sentences.

Practice until you can say any sentence. Now say several sentences of the new pattern, and thus "tell (simple) stories."

Of course, you can’t do much yet: But, because of the mathematics of combination, when you know twenty words, you can say almost a hundred sentences; and with 40 words, you can say many hundreds of sentences.

Step 3: Talk Now!

For the "narrative" and "descriptive" sentence-patterns introduced in these lessons, you can use the situation of an imaginary "party": What does everyone do there?

Remember to speak loudly!

When you talk with native speakers:

Take the initiative: Talk first, take the lead. Avoid saying "what?"

Use what you know, and avoid what you don’t know. Say what you can say, adjust your needs to your vocabulary. Catch whatever words you hear, and guess meaning as effectively as you can.

Don’t self-correct. Ignore corrections: have conversations, not lessons. If not understood, add more sentences.


Take the initiative when talking.

That’s the best way to know what’s going on.

COMPREHENSION EXERCISE: "skip-comprehension."

Word Search: Translate each word instantly if you know it, and say "zip" if you don’t know it.
















(Hint: you know all but three of these words.)

The lesson here is that knowing what you don’t know is just as important as knowing what you do know. In real-world use of a foreign language, you will inevitably hear much that you don’t understand. You must get used to picking out what you do know, and make your best use of it.

Never say "what?" !!!

Don’t be like the many "perfect" students of foreign language, who tour the world, dictionaries open, endlessly repeating, like robots:

Throughout your studies, you should never ask for repetitions, or say "what?" (even in the foreign language): Just say whatever you can, making no attempt to sound logical. This trick may be artificial — but not as artificial as saying "what?" all the time! If you follow this advice and never say "what?", you will soon find yourself speaking naturally.

Japanese lesson 3
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