A blurring of categorization: The Japanese connective de in spontaneous conversation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Japanese connective de has been found to be the most frequently occurring connective in spontaneous conversation. Yet, studies on de have been rather scarce compared to other connectives such as demo 'but' and dakara 'so; therefore'. The current study examines the occurrence of this highly frequent connective (as well as its variants, sorede and nde) and demonstrates its very distinctive characteristics in on-line interaction. The results reveal a unique and ambiguous status of de, which behaves like an independent word at times but also shows prefix-like usage at other times. That is, de seems to have some properties that clitics have, in that it is not like a typical independent word, and is not like a typical bound morpheme, either. An examination of de in naturally occurring conversation supports and calls into question the notion of 'categorization'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-323
Number of pages21
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Categorization
  • Clitic
  • Cohesive device
  • Fluidity of categories
  • The flow of ideas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'A blurring of categorization: The Japanese connective de in spontaneous conversation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this