Wild Nihongo!
って (Colloquial Quotation Marker)

って (Colloquial Quotation Marker)

って (Colloquial Quotation Marker) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: Colloquial quotation marker

Construction: Quote + って

Notes:

  • って (Colloquial Quotation Marker) is the colloquial form of と (Quotation Marker), so any quotation that can precede と (Quotation Marker) can also precede って (Colloquial quotation marker). The basic function of these particles is to mark a quote within a sentence.
  • When って (Colloquial quotation marker) is used with a human subject, it can be ambiguous who the author of the quote is. The reporting verb う [To say / To tell] can be used to clarify that the subject is the one who is making the quotation. Otherwise, the sentence may come across as hearsay.
    • E.g. ジェーンはおどらないって。[Jen says that she won’t dance. / They say that Jen won’t dance.] In this example, it is unclear whether it is Jen who says she won’t dance or whether it is some other person(s) who says that Jen won’t dance.
    • E.g. ジェーンはおどらないってっているよ。[Jen is saying that she won’t dance.] う makes it clear that Jen is the one who is being quoted.
  • When って (Colloquial quotation marker) is not followed by any verb, う is the implied verb. So った, いました, っている, and っていました can be omitted after って (Colloquial quotation marker) without any change in meaning. However, this is not the case for と (Quotation Marker). Furthermore, other verbs that may follow って can not be omitted.
    • E.g. ぼくこうかっておもいました。[I wondered if I should go too.] おもう [To think] (or any other verb besides う) can not be omitted after って.
    • E.g. ジェーンはおどらないって。[Jen says that she won’t dance.]
    • E.g. *ジェーンはおどらないと。[Jen says that she won’t dance.] う can not be omitted after と (Quotation Marker).
  • Generally speaking, って is more emphatic and emotional than と (Quotation Marker) because glottal stops such as って are associated with emotionality in Japanese.
  • When the author of the quoted statement is an unspecified person(s) rather than the subject, って (Colloquial quotation marker) resembles そうだ (Hearsay). The difference is that って (Colloquial quotation marker) is more informal than そうだ (Hearsay).
    • E.g. ジェーンはおどらないって。[They say that Jen won’t dance.]
    • E.g. ジェンはおどらないそうだ。[I heard that Jen won’t dance.]
  • When specifying an information source with って (Colloquial quotation marker), the structure X がっていたけど is used. With そうだ (Hearsay), によると is used to specify an information source instead.
    • E.g. ジョンがっていたけど、ジェーンはおどらないって。[According to John, Jen will not dance.]
    • E.g. *ジョンによると、ジェーンはおどらないって。[According to John, Jen will not dance.] によると is not used with って.
    • E.g. ジョンによると、ジェーンはおどらないそうだ。[According to John, Jen will not dance.] によると is used with そうだ (Hearsay).

Example Sentences:

ジェーンはおどらないって。[Jen says that she won’t dance. / They say that Jen won’t dance.]

今晩こんばんゆきるって。[They say it’s going to snow tonight.]

ぼくこうかっておもいました。[I wondered if I should go too.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 1:07: 「ねえあいってなんなの」って彼女かのじょいて、「さぁあいってなんだろう」ってぼくかえして [She asked “What is love?”, and I responded “Yeah, what is love?”] There is also an example of って (Colloquial Topic Marker) in this example.
Listen to this line from 0:48:「おまえ綺麗きれいだなぁ」ってってみたりすると、どこかむねがぎゅっとなってけたりするの [I say things such as “You’re beautiful”, and I feel tightness somewhere in my chest and I begin to cry]

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