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すごく背が低いけれど、いつも堂々とした態度で、颯爽とした雰囲気がある。

そして――‥‥彼女は僕の彼女だったりする。

What exactly is the meaning of "だったりする" here? I've read in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar by Seiichi Makino that when たり is used with adjectives and nouns, it means "sometimes". Accordingly, when I first read the above line, I understood the part in question as "She is sometimes my girlfriend(and sometimes not)". Is that the correct interpretation? From context, it doesn't feel like it is so. Is there another way of understanding "だったりする"?

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1 Answer 1

Without further context, 「彼女は僕の彼女だったりする。」 can mean two different things. However, "She is sometimes my girlfriend(and sometimes not)." is NOT one of them.

The two possible meanings are:

1) "She happens to be my girlfriend (in reality)." and

2) "She happens to be my girlfriend (in my wild imagination)."

Unless the larger context was something very unusual, I really could not think of another meaning as a Japanese-speaker. In either of the two meanings above, だったりする is being used for its new informal usage/meaning "to happen to be"; therefore, I do not think Japanese-as-a-foreign-language textbooks would cover it. In real life in Japan, it has been in fairly heavy use among the younger generations for the last 15-20 years.

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Indeed, I've never read about that meaning at all in any English sources. I don't have much context for the line myself (apologies), but from what I do know, that meaning fits very well. Thanks. –  ElSigh Dec 14 '13 at 8:12
    
If I could trouble you a bit more, does this meaning also extend to verbs in たり-form, or is it only used in だったりする? –  ElSigh Dec 14 '13 at 20:29

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