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From WWWJDIC: かな ; かなあ [prt] ▶ (at sentence end) I wonder [prt] ▶ (at sentence end) should I? ▶ is it? [prt] ▶ (at sentence end) I wish that (with a negative) ▶ I hope that In this context, かな functions as "I wonder...?" 知ってるかなー? would translate as "I wonder if you know (about)?" It's a more indirect way to ask than 知ってるか? ...


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This is a very subjective answer but, there is no "quick fix" for particles, as there are many exceptions, special cases, etc. Mastery takes a long time, even if you focus on it. Consider prepositions in English, which fulfill a similar role. Why do we play "on" a tennis court, "at" a park, and "in" a sand box? It feels easy to a native speaker, but it ...


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Besides the function you mentioned, it can also prompt the listener to take somewhat proper action. In this context, it can imply that you want him/her to listen to consequence of the story. In that sense, you can naturally use it.


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Like in your example, 「そういえば、昨日、東京に行ったよ」 This よ sounds very natural because You're talking to a friend. (where よ is very unlikely to be impolite) You're introducing new information into the conversation. It's using よ when talking to people you don't know, or anyone socially above you could easily be considered presumptive and impolite. (best to ...


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I think as a general rule you don't often want to use よ when answering a question unless you think your answer will surprise the person asking the question. However, in your example about Tokyo, you are not asking a direct question, so I think it's better to use よ when you speak about the (surprising) thing you did. Removing よ from that sounds oddly neutral ...



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