といえば / といったら / ときたら / ったら Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Phrase
Essential Meaning: Speaking of X
- Noun + といえば
- E.g. 東京といえば [Speaking of Tokyo]
- Sentence + といえば
- E.g. 休むといえば [Speaking of being absent]
- といえば corresponds to the English expression “Speaking of….“. It is used to apply an item that is currently under discussion as the topic of a new discussion. As an example, imagine the following discussion: A: “I saw a turtle today. It was cute!” B: “Speaking of turtles, let’s get some turtle soup for dinner.” In this example, Person A brings up the fact that he saw a turtle today, and Speaker B applies turtles as the topic of a separate discussion regarding dinner plans. In Japanese, this conversation can be conveyed using といえば.
- E.g. A: 今日はカメを見て可愛かった。 B: カメといえば、こんばんカメスープを食べましょう。[A: I saw a turtle today. It was cute! B: Speaking of turtles, let’s get some turtle soup for dinner.]
- といえば typically follows noun phrases, but it can be used with any part of speech。
- E.g. A: 小西くんはよく休むねえ。B: よく休むといえば、山本くんも最近見ませんね。[A: Konishi-kun is often absent, isn’t he? B: Speaking of often being absent, I haven’t seen Yamamoto-kun much lately either.] In this example, といえば follows a verb.
- The informal version of といえば is っていえば.
- E.g. よく休むっていえば、山本くんも最近見ませんね。[Speaking of often being absent, I haven’t seen Yamamoto-kun much lately either.]
- ときたら and といったら are related expressions that serve basically the same function as といえば. However, one important difference is that ときたら and といったら are used specifically with noun phrases. They can both be abbreviated as ったら in order to present a noun phrase as a topic in casual conversation. ったら is more emphatic than the normal topic marking particle は and can be thought of as meaning “When it comes to….” or “In the case of…“.
- E.g. クリスったら私には何も言わないのよ。[When it comes to Chris, she didn’t tell me anything.]
- Another way to casually introduce topics is って (the abbreviation of という or というのは). It roughly translates to “When you say X….” or “What you call X….“. って is often used to seek clarification about something a conversational partner has just said. As with といえば, って can be used with any part of speech.
- E.g. A: シービーを買いましたよ。B:シービーって？ [A: I bought A CB. B: When you say CB…(i.e What’s a CB?)]
- E.g A: 来週から英語を教えるんです。B: 英語を教えるって、誰に？ [A: From next week I’ll be teaching English. B: When you say you’ll be speaking English…To whom?]
A: この本は田中さんに借りたんです。B: 田中さんと言えばもう病気は治ったのかしら。[I borrowed this book from Tanaka-san. B: Speaking of Tanaka-san, I wonder if he has recovered from his illness?]
A: 小西くんはよく休むねえ。B: よく休むといえば、山本くんも最近見ませんね。[A: Konishi-kun is often absent, isn’t he? B: Speaking of often being absent, I haven’t seen Yamamoto-kun much lately either.]
A: 次の日曜日は京都へ行くつもりだ。B: 京都と言えば、春子が京都大学の入学試験に通ったそうだ。[A: I plan to go to Kyoto next Sunday. B: Speaking of Kyoto, I heard that Haruko passed the entrance exam for Kyoto University.]
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