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とか in casual speech

IsaacDavid

Sempai
9 Jun 2019
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I've seen that とか is used very often in casual speech and i want to ask if always it have its usual meaning of: things like that.. or sometimes is used like a filler,with no meaning at all.
 
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I can't recall its use as a filler. Just in the usual manner. Also なんとか (somehow) is a commonly used word. I think I hear this more than とか in other circumstances.

> 間に合ったね → You made it (on time)
> え、なんとか → Yes, somehow
 
I use it a lot when listing off things, it's like the 〜たり、〜たり、〜たりする of nouns
 
のだ(んだ) also i see that is used very often.it always have that sense of explanation?
it's fair to think of it that way, and if you're using that structure in a question, you're eliciting an explanation or asking for some reasons.

Honestly I use this a lot just because I'm used to speaking casually, and it's super easy to just use the dictionary form and tack a ~んです/ですか at the end of a sentence to make it polite. It doesn't change the meaning of the sentence so much that it would throw people off, depending on the context.
 
In this video とか is used so much that i naturally thought that it may be used sometimes as a filler:
 
In summary, fillers are generally sounds that don't have any specific meaning, so they can be inserted without necessarily changing the meaning of the sentence. In English this could be peppering a sentence with "umm"s or "like"s, or ending with "know what I mean?/know what I'm saying?/ya feel me?"

In Japanese, there are "I'm thinking/processing" words and phrases like ええと, or なんだろう that can be seen as "filler" sounds as the speaker forms the following sentences. One of my favorite phrases like this as a non-native speaker is なんていうんだっけ?, like "how do you say?"

However, the terms you've brought up serve a particular grammatical purpose, and though they may be used frequently in conversation, it doesn't necessarily make them "fillers," and they couldn't just go anywhere to create the illusion of a consistent train of thought.
 
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