Publication details [#64189]

Nishi, Hironori. 2018. An overview of the Japanese quotative itta and itte ita. Pragmatics 28 (1) : 93–112.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


The present study provides an overview of the quotative utterances made with itta (past form of iu ‘to say’) and itte ita (the combination of iu and the past form of the -te iru construction) in naturally occurring conversations in Japanese. The examination of approximately 13 hours of conversations shows that itta is used in 91.1% of first-person quotations (‘I said that…’). In second-person (‘you said that…’) and third-person (‘he/she said that…’) quotations, itte ita is used in 90.0%, and 77.3% of the cases, respectively. The present study argues that the high percentage of itte ita for second- and third-person quotative utterances is due to the fact that the -te iru construction, which is included in itte ita, is used as an evidential marker. The present study also analyzes the deviant cases from the dominant pattern (i.e. using itta for third-person utterances), and demonstrates how -te iru’s evidential function is utilized manipulatively in conversation.