Please remind me: A history of the Japanese particle of recollection kke

John Bundschuh


The Japanese sentence-final particle kke is a marker of epistemic modality with evidential and mirative overtones. Its most common application is indexing the uncertainty of one’s recollection in interrogative sentences, but in declarative sentences it indexes a reaffirmation of the certainty of the utterance. This study traces the grammatical development of kke from the older Japanese perfect auxiliary -kyeri, citing examples from 8th-century Japanese through today. Through examining kke’s diachrony, it provides evidence that modal sentence-final particles can develop from auxiliaries when the contexts in which they are used become restricted over time.


Japanese; sentence-final particles; historical linguistics; epistemic modality; degrammaticalization

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