Are <i>kara</i> ‘because’-clauses causal subordinate clauses in present-day Japanese?
This paper reviews subordination in conversation through grammaticalization. Traditionally, the Japanese <i>kara</i> ‘because’-clause has been characterized a causal subordinate clause. This study describes the various uses of <i>kara</i>-clauses in present-day Japanese and the historical background to the variety in clause combination. According to Hopper & Traugott (2003), complex clause constructions are traditionally classified into subordination and coordination. More recent studies, however, have suggested that the dichotomy calls for further investigation. Building on these recent studies, Hopper & Traugott (2003) propose a subordination–hypotaxis–parataxis continuum of complex clause constructions in grammaticalization. I illustrate that a continuum is more relevant than the traditional dichotomy in understanding both the functional diversity of <i>kara</i>-clauses in present-day Japanese and the historical process in <i>kara</i>-clauses.