Although in written Japanese grammatical relations such as subject and object are marked by postpositional particles, in informal conversation they may occur without any particles. This paper examines the occurrence and non-occurrence of the direct object marker o in spontaneous informal conversation and clarifies that the choice of object marking is a device to facilitate selective focusing on information. Our study shows that zero-marking is the unmarked option for marking direct objects and o is used when the information indicated by the direct object NP is salient in the discourse or when cognitive processing requires some additonal effort.
2020. Multiculturalism or Cultural Nationalism? Representation of Ellie Kameyama as a Conduit and the Other in the NHK Morning Drama Massan. Japanese Studies 40:2 ► pp. 121 ff.
2005. Grammar and the “timing” of social action: Word order and preference organization in Japanese. Language in Society 34:03
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