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The bare-marking of ga

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Its function in spoken Japanese

image of International Review of Pragmatics

It has been recognized that the Japanese so-called subject marker ga is often not overtly expressed in spoken Japanese. Regarding the particle ga in conversational Japanese, the work of Ono, Thompson, and Suzuki (2000) is most notable. With respect to the bare-marking of ga, however, Ono et al. argue that “the norm is not to use ga, but to use a bare NP” (2000: 66). Although the current study is aligned with their work, we do not see the bare-marking of ga as a ‘norm’. Rather, we see that the pragmatic functions of the bare-marking of ga play just as important a role as ga-marking. Through an examination of naturally occurring every day conversational data, we provide two specific principles, Basic Rule 1 and Basic Rule 2. In reality, the Japanese bare-marking of ga in spoken Japanese is governed by these consistent, predictable, and systematic rules.

Affiliations: 1: University of Rhode Island, Kingston, USA


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