(Inter)subjectification in the quotative tte in Japanese conversation
Local change, utterance-ness and verb-ness
This article discusses the process of (inter)subjectification in grammatical constructions including tte, which is known as the quotative complementizer in present-day Japanese. About 170 instances of tte constructions that appeared in the conversational data spanning over 200 years are analyzed, focusing on three major types of constructions: the quotative tte construction, the topic-introducing construction, and the constructions with tte as utterance-final pragmatic particles. There are morphosyntactic changes concomitant to the process of (inter)subjectification; for example, the quality of the “quoted” element preceding tte has been extended to include less utterance-like materials. In addition, the “main” verb iu ‘say’ that is associated with the quotative tte has lost its verbal characteristics in the topic construction and disappears in the utterance-final particle construction. Subjectification, as well as intersubjectification, is observed locally in each position: after the quoted element, after the topic noun, and at the utterance-final position.