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という

という

という Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Phrase

Essential Meaning: So-called X / Called X / That says X

Construction: 

  • Noun + という + Noun
    • E.g. 雪国ゆきぐに」という小説しょうせつ [A novel called ”Yukiguni”]
  • Sentence + という + Noun
    • E.g. 山田やまださんが入院にゅういんしたというらせ [A notice that says that Yamada-san has been hospitalized]

Notes:

  • という is a combination of the quotation marker and the verb う [To call / To say] and is used to define or explain the noun that it precedes. In other words, the information that precedes という is prepended to the noun that follows という in order to create a larger, more informative noun phrase. という is commonly used in the following contexts:
    • (1) To name or define a noun (i.e. “A noun called X“)
      • E.g.雪国ゆきぐに」という小説 しょうせつ [A novel called “Yukiguni”]
      • E.g. 「スー」という男子だんし [A boy named “Sue”]
      • E.g.七人しちにんさむらい」という映画えいがたことがありますか。 [Have you ever seen the film called Seven Samurai?]
    • (2) To describe the contents of a message or communication. Nouns of communication such as はなし [Speech], ニュース [News], らせ [Message / Notice], 手紙てがみ [Letter], and うわさ [Rumor] are commonly used with という in this context.
      • E.g. ヤマダさんが入院にゅういんしたというらせをきました。[I heard the news that Mr. Yamada has been hospitalized.]
      • E.g. ジューンが日本にほんへいくというはなし本当ほんとうですか。[Is the story that June is coming to Japan true?]
    • (3) To describe the contents of an internal feeling or emotion. Nouns of human emotion such as かなしみ [Sadness], かんじ [Feeling], 気持きもち [Feeling], おそれ [Fear], and よろこび [Joy] are used with という in this context.
      • E.g. もっと頑張がんばらなくてはならないという気持きもちがある。[There’s a feeling that we must try even harder.]
      • E.g. そのひといたくないという気持きもちはよくかります。[I really understand the feeling that you don’t want to meet that person.]
    • (4) To describe a situation with the nominalizer こと.
      • E.g. 友達ともだち今日きょうるということをすっかりわすれていた。[I had completely forgotten the fact that my friends are coming today.]
  • When the element that precedes という is a noun phrase or a quotation, という is mandatory. Otherwise, という may be optionally omitted.
    • E.g. もっと頑張がんばらなくてはならない(という)気持きもちがある。[There’s a feeling that we must try even harder.]
    • E.g. そのひといたくない(という)気持きもちはよくかります。[I really understand the feeling that you don’t want to meet that person.]
    • E.g. 友達ともだち今日きょうる(という)ことをすっかりわすれていた。[I had completely forgotten the fact that my friends are coming today.]
    • E.g. *「雪国ゆきぐに小説しょうせつ [A novel called “Yukiguni”] という can not be omitted when the object that precedes という is a noun phrase.
    • E.g. *ヤマダさんが入院にゅういんしたらせをきました。[I heard the news that Mr. Yamada has been hospitalized.] という can not be omitted when the object that precedes という is a quotation (either direct or indirect).
  • In written Japanese, という can be used at the end of a sentence to indicate hearsay (i.e. “I heard that…“, “They say…”, “It is said that…“, et cetera).
    • E.g. 学生がくせいはなしによると吉田ふるた先生せんせいおしかた非常ひじょう上手じょうずだという。[According to what the students say, Furata-sensei’s teaching stye is extremely good.]

Example Sentences:

雪国ゆきぐに」という小説しょうせつ [A novel called “Yukiguni”]

ヤマダさんが入院にゅういんしたというらせをきました。[I heard the news that Mr. Yamada has been hospitalized.]

もっと頑張がんばらなくてはならないという気持きもちがある。[There’s a feeling that we must try even harder.]

七人しちにんさむらい」という映画えいがたことがありますか。 [Have you ever seen the film called Seven Samurai?]

そのひといたくないという気持きもちはよくかります。[I really understand the feeling that you don’t want to meet that person.]

友達ともだち今日きょうるということをすっかりわすれていた。[I had completely forgotten the fact that my friends are coming today.]

WILD Examples:

Listen for this line at 0:52:方法ほうほうという悪魔あくまにとりかれないで [Don’t get possessed by the demon called “process”]

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