639 - って ([hearsay marker])

JLPT N3: って ([hearsay marker])

If you already know that と can be used to mark information that is being quoted, then it does not require the most marvelous mental effort to understand the grammar point we're looking at here: the "って of hearsay."

Not sure how と is used to mark quotations? Then please review these two lessons:
- [NDL #637] - JLPT N4: と ([direct quotation])
- [NDL #638] - JLPT N4: と ([indirect quotation])

In those lessons, we have this sentence:


本田先生は今朝ホットケーキを食べた言いました。
ほんだ せんせい は けさ ホットケーキ を たべた と いいました。
Honda-sensei said that he ate pancakes this morning.
Literally: “Honda-sensei + は + this morning + pancakes (=hotcakes) + を + ate + と + said.”

↑ That sentence sounds very stiff and formal.

In daily conversation, it would be common to shorten と言いました to just って


本田先生は今朝ホットケーキ食べたって
ほんだ せんせい は けさ ホットケーキ たべた って。
Honda-sensei said that he ate pancakes this morning.
Literally: “Honda-sensei + は + this morning + pancakes (=hotcakes) + ate + って.”

You'll notice that I also removed the を. The reason I did so is that in a casual, spoken sentence like this one, it would be very common to drop this particle.


Since って is so common, I find it a bit absurd that it is considered N3 grammar and not N4 grammar.

And it's a relatively simple grammar point, too.

The reason that they wait so long to include the "って of hearsay" is that the JLPT does not include all that much casual language. I suppose this is because introductory textbooks avoid casual language, too? I'm not sure.

But worry not, for we cover a ton of casual language in our lessons. ^_^

Oh, and like "と for indirect quotations," the "って of hearsay" comes after words in plain form:

[Plain Form] って


In English translations of sentences with って, you'll find that we often have words like "say," "said," "wrote," and so on.

An example:


A:
お医者さん、何って
おいしゃさん、 なん だ って?
What did the doctor say?
Literally: “(honorable) doctor-san, + what + だ + って?”


B:
ただの風邪って
ただ の かぜ だ って。
She [He] said it’s just a cold.
Literally: “just / only + の + a cold + だ + って.”


A:
ほんと?よかった。
ほんと? よかった。
Really? That’s a relief.
Literally: “really? + was good.”


You are meeting your friends Yuta and Hideki at the station. You had thought that they'd be coming together, since they live near the same neighborhood. When you arrive at the station, though, only Yuta is there, so you say...


A:
あれ?秀喜は?
あれ? ひでき は?
Huh? Where’s Hideki?
Literally: “huh? + Hideki + は?”

Yuta responds with...


B:
ちょっと遅れるって
ちょっと おくれる って。
He said that he’s gonna be a bit late.
Literally: “a little bit + be late + って.”


Another example:


お母さん達は来られないって
おかあさん たち は こられない って。
Mom and them [him / her] said that they can’t come.
Literally: “mother + [pluralizing suffix] + は + cannot come + って.”
Note: Who お母さん達 is referring to explicitly would depend on context. The -達 is just letting us know that we're also talking about whoever is with お母さん.


A:
久美ちゃん、最近嬉しそうだね。
くみちゃん、 さいきん うれしそう だ ね。
Kumi-chan seems happy lately, huh?
Literally: “Kumi-chan, + recently + looks happy + だ + ね.”


B:
うん。彼氏にプロポーズされたんって
うん。 かれし に プロポーズ された んだ って。
Yeah. She said that her boyfriend proposed to her.
Literally: “yeah. + boyfriend + に + (marriage) proposal + was done + んだ + って.”


って is probably the most common way that I find myself referring to what I heard from other people.

That's because most of the Japanese that I use is in casual situations with friends and family members.

Back when I was a beginner (learning from textbooks and speaking more formally), though, I often used the "そうだ of hearsay," which we saw in this lesson: [NDL #539] - JLPT N4: そうだ (I hear that).

You'll want to master that form, too, if you haven't already.

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