Wild Nihongo!
って (Colloquial Topic Marker)

って (Colloquial Topic Marker)

って (Colloquial Topic Marker) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: Speaking of X

Construction: 

  • Noun + って
    • E.g. 先生せんせいって [Speaking of teachers]
  • (Verb / い-Adjective) informal nonpast + って
    • E.g. はなすって [Speaking of speaking]
    • E.g. たかいって [Speaking of being expensive]

Notes:

  • って (Colloquial Topic Marker) is a colloquial topic marker that behaves similarly to the topic marker or toというのは [When it comes to X / Speaking of X], depending on the context. って (Colloquial Topic Marker) is used to introduce some topic and then give some emotive judgement regarding that topic. Note that って (Colloquial Topic Marker) is NOT used with な-Adjectives, with the exception of those that can be used as nouns (e.g. 健康けんこう [Health], 孤独こどく [Loneliness], 親切しんせつ [Kindness], et cetera).
    • E.g. 健康けんこうってありがたいですね。[Speaking of health, it’s a precious thing, isn’t it.]
    • E.g. *元気げんきってありがたいですね。[Speaking of healthy, it’s a precious thing, isn’t it.] 元気げんき can not be used as a noun, so it can not be used with って (Colloquial topic marker).
  • って (Colloquial Topic Marker) can not be used if the predicate does not express the speaker’s emotive judgement.
    • E.g. 山口やまぐちさんってへんひとですね。[Speaking of Yamaguchi-san, he’s a strange person, isn’t he?]
    • E.g. *山口やまぐちさんって先生せんせいです。[Speaking of Yamaguchi-san, he’s a teacher.] This sentence is unacceptable because the predicate does not express the speaker’s judgement.
  • って (Colloquial Topic Marker) should not be confused with って (Colloquial Quotation Marker). Generally, when って is preceded by a quote, it’s interpreted as って (Colloquial Quotation Marker). When って co-occur with sentence-final particles or , it’s generally interpreted as って (Colloquial topic marker) due to the emotive nature of the sentence.
    • E.g. 山崎やまざき医者いしゃになったって本当ほんとうですか。 [I heard that Yamazaki has become a doctor…is that true?] って follows an indirect quote in this case, which signals that this is an example of って (Colloquial Quotation Marker).
    • E.g. いえひろいっていいですね。[Having a spacious house is good, isn’t it.] In this sentence って pairs with the colloquial sentence final particle , which signals that this is an example of って (Colloquial topic marker)
  • って (Colloquial Topic Marker) basically resembles the topic marker when it follows a noun and というのは when it follows a sentence. The difference is that って (Colloquial Topic Marker) comes across as more emotive and colloquial.
    • E.g. Following a noun: アメリカじんってフットボールがきだね。[Speaking of Americans, they like football, don’t they?]
    • E.g. Following a sentence: 漢字かんじおぼえるって大変たいへんだね。[Remembering kanji is difficult, isn’t it?]

Example Sentences:

アメリカじんってフットボールがきだね。[Speaking of Americans, they like football, don’t they?]

漢字かんじおぼえるって大変たいへんだね。[Remembering kanji is difficult, isn’t it?]

漢字かんじっておもしろいですよ。[Speaking of kanji, it’s interesting!]

日本人にほんじんってよく写真しゃしんをとりますね。[Speaking of Japanese people, they take a lot of photos, don’t they?]

外国がいこくらすってむずかしいね。[Living abroad is difficult, isn’t it?]

おおいっていいものだね。[It’s good if there are a lot of trees, right?]

いえひろいっていいですね。[Having a spacious house is good, isn’t it?]

WILD Examples:

At 1:28, listen for this line: 本当ほんとうあなたって誠実せいじつひか [Honestly, speaking of you…You’re restrained when it comes to being sincere.] In this example, Tiana is colloquially setting Prince Naveen (to whom she is speaking) as the subject and making a judgement about his character (or lack thereof). In the lyrics, あなた is abbreviated as あんた, but the meaning is identical.
This song is called 人間にんげんっていいな [Humans are great, aren’t they? / Being a human is great, isn’t it?] This line is repeated throughout the song.
Listen to this line at 0:45: にゅうがん動脈硬化どうみゃくこうか骨粗鬆症こつそしょうしょうにはイソフラボノイド、骨粗鬆症こつそしょうしょうっていにくいぞ [It has isoflavinoids to ward off breast cancer, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis. Speaking of osteoporosis, it’s difficult to pronounce!]
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 Quotation Marker) in this example.

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