Discourse markers in the making

Pragmatic differentiation of jijitsujoo from jijitsu in Modern through Present Day Japanese


  • Reijirou Shibasaki Meiji University




sino-japanese, discourse markers, decatgegorisation, positional preference, grammaticalisation


This study examines the discourse-pragmatic functions of the discourse marker (DM, hereafter) jijitsujoo ‘as a matter of practice, practically speaking’ in comparison with another DM jijitsu ‘in fact, the fact is’ in the history of Japanese. The gist of the survey results is that, while jijitsu serves to introduce telling evidence for the preceding statement, jijitsujoo reformulates the preceding statement with what the speaker regards to be relevant, while disregarding irrelevant information. In other words, jijitsujoo plays a more subjective role as a DM than jijitsu in that the former can provide the speaker’s own stance toward an immediate topic. These DM functions can be fully fulfilled in sentence-initial position, presumably because they are connective in essence.

Author Biography

Reijirou Shibasaki, Meiji University

Reijirou Shibasaki (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara) is Professor at the School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, Meiji University, Japan. His research focuses on historical linguistics, grammaticalisation, language contact, and discourse analysis in the histories of English and Japanese, from a cross-linguistic perspective. His works have appeared in Explorations in English Historical Syntax (John Benjamins, 2018) and Grammar – Discourse – Context: Grammar and Usage in Language Variation and Change (De Gruyter, 2019). Currently, he is co-editing the special issue on Formulaicity in Japanese Interactional Discourse (Journal of Japanese Linguistics, De Gruyter) and a thematic volume on Formulaic Language in the History of English (written in Japanese, Kaitakusha).


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How to Cite

Shibasaki, R. . (2021). Discourse markers in the making: Pragmatic differentiation of jijitsujoo from jijitsu in Modern through Present Day Japanese. East Asian Pragmatics, 6(3), 303–329. https://doi.org/10.1558/eap.20921