Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to understand the grammar behind "[noun]って".

I looked up some examples on space alc web, and 人って seems to mean people, someone, or some person. I have seen other examples of the [noun]って usage, so I guess its common but probably I am missing something.

share|improve this question
Most likely the quotation particle って, which can behave a lot like the topic marker in many cases. The specific context would be useful to answer. – Darius Jahandarie Jul 10 '13 at 23:03
up vote 12 down vote accepted

って is a colloquial particle and has two main functions.

  1. Being used as a colloquial topic marker (instead of は or とは), e.g.

    People are awesome.

  2. Being used as a quotation marker (instead of と or という), e.g.

    She said you are a little weird.

    The word "hito" is kinda weird.

share|improve this answer
I had read somewhere that this grew out of といって, and that this literal "talking about" sense is how this construction came to be used in place of the は topic marker, and the と quotation marker. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jun 29 '14 at 7:52
@EiríkrÚtlendi That's what I had thought until someone pointed me to a dictionary. The dictionaries usually say って comes from とて. – Earthliŋ Jun 29 '14 at 12:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.