Functions of the discourse marker Dakara in Japanese conversation

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Although the Japanese conjunction dakara is widely recognized as a logical connector of ‘cause-and-result’, this paper argues that dakara has additional discourse functions in casual conversational interaction. Based on examination of 71 tokens of dakara extracted from 20 casual conversations videotaped in Japan, I argue that functions of dakara include marking a point in discourse where supplementary explanation relevant to the prior text starts (sequence-signalling explanatory function). This usage of dakara is significantly frequent (observed in 36.62 percent of total occurrences of dakara) in the data examined. Additionally two other secondary functions of dakara (as a marker for [reluctant] repetition, and as a signal for claiming and ending the turn) are discussed. The multiplicity of functions of dakara is explained by viewing that dakara functions on two different levels of discourse; on the textual semantic level and on the level of interactional move.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-414
Number of pages26
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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