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OK , so I am a huge fan of Kill la Kill, and I looked up how to say "Fear is Freedom, Control is Release, Contradiction is Truth". The whole line in Japanese is:


Now, this Japanese is pretty simple, and I totally get the meaning (obviously, since there's a translation, but I mean that I understand how the language here works). However, I'm not sure what こそ is doing here. I know that it emphasizes the previous word, but is that enough to form a statement? Can someone explain what it's doing here, and the proper use of it?

Also, secondarily, I'm wondering why ども is required here. I was pretty sure that it was used to mean "both", so why is it needed here, where she is not addressing both pigs in human clothing, so much as a whole crowd of them?

Thanks in advance.

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こそ here means too or also. Also in "even fear is freedom" or "fear too is freedom" –  virmaior Apr 25 at 0:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

こそ is appended to a word to emphasise it. It can replace particles は or が - you can form a sentence using the pattern 「AこそB。」. It has similar meaning of equivalence as「AはBだ。」but gives the statement more emphasis:

恐怖こそ自由。 (emphatic)

恐怖は自由だ。 (normal statement)

(Note: this is not the only pattern of こそ usage.)

One of the meanings of ども is "(derogatory) second or third person plural (implies speaker is of higher status than those referred to)" (source WWWJDIC). 「豚ども」 in this case is plural - "pigs", giving it derogatory meaning.

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Thanks for that answer. That was my feeling with the こそ part, since it seemed like the only logical explanation to its placement, but I had no idea the rules behind it. And I did not know that at all about ども. Is it the same ども of 子供? –  KingPumpkin Apr 25 at 0:32
I never thought of 子供 this way but I guess it is. –  Szymon Apr 25 at 0:37
Because, not necessarily derogatorily, in Japanese, a lot of language used for Children is extremely rude when used with adults. Looking down on children isn't rude, it's just natural. I could be totally wrong about all this, but having it in the word for child isn't out of the ballpark. Please correct me if I'm wrong. –  KingPumpkin Apr 25 at 0:42
Until recently the joyo insisted that the ども in 子ども be written in kana due to negative implications of the kanji. –  virmaior Apr 25 at 0:53
Except communists, no one regard 子供 as derogatory. That ども is no longer a suffix. (That doesn't mean 子供 was originally derogatory) –  user4092 Apr 25 at 3:43

AこそB sometimes means B matches A the best or A matches B the best. Both A and B might are something you might already know.

When you emphasize the last part, it's often something unusual. When you emphasize the former part, it's often something mistakable. You can also say こそが and こそは to make it clear, but because of the nature of こそ, both が and は can be omitted and こそ often has a dual function.

Saying 恐怖こそ自由 is something like 自由 is the best description of 恐怖, 恐怖 is what we called 自由. They are exactly the same thing.

I'm surprised that dictionaries don't cover this frequent usage. More examples:


I know that it emphasizes the previous word, but is that enough to form a statement?

As I explained, は or が after こそ is often dropped. だ is often omitted in many situations, for example, in tittles, slogans or definitions. Without だ, it's still a complete sentence.

かわいいこそ正義 is equal to かわいいこそ正義だ. You can also say かわいいは正義 or かわいいが正義だ, etc. They are still complete sentences.

Szymon has explained ども.

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Dictionaries don't say anything. I have a really good one, and all the example sentences were only emphasis. None were used in this way. –  KingPumpkin Apr 25 at 12:07
@KingPumpkin, I searched for resources about コソ, but can't find many. I don't like the word “emphasis” at all, because it explains nothings. I'm not satisfied with my current explanation either, but I'm not going to improve it immediately. The explanation might be obscure. In short “AこそB” generally means “it not something else but A that is B”, “You don't know what is B? A is B!” or “A is special because it's B”. You may find some information in 中上級を教える人のための日本語文法ハンドブック(p346), 現代語の特立のとりたて and こその用法分析. –  Yang Muye Apr 25 at 15:36

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