I'm writing a simple Japanese skit for my class and there is a place where an ancient samurai needs to speak a few sentences of Classical Japanese.

I can mostly make the sentences, but it seems weird to not have endings like ね or よ in the end. Did Classical Japanese have these casual speech endings?

Also, I presume that questions in CJ also used か? I couldn't find any information on this by googling.

  • This doesn't directly answer your question but even in modern stories samurai have an almost stereotypical way of talking that borrows from the language of Edo. For example look here or here or keep googling.
    – ssb
    Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 23:49
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    Actually I'm not aiming for an Edo-period style but more of a late Heian-period, which I understand is very close to 文語. Also, it's an excuse for not learning yet another old version of Japanese ;)
    – ithisa
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 2:29
  • @EricDong I remember a lot of Heian-era speech in Sakyo Komatsu's Daimitei 「題未定」. It might be worth your time. Commented May 30, 2013 at 11:47
  • Questions in CJ used か and や, but they worked a little differently (often mid-sentence rather than at the end) so be careful. か was used more often for a rhetorical question that implies the exact opposite (is it this? (no it is not)). Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 3:09
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    I believe よ was used -similarly- to how it is used now, but rather than ね (there's another kind of ね which has a completely different purpose), auxiliary verbs such as む were used (less like ね and more like ~のでしょう), and there were several bound particles you can use for emphasis such as なむ/ぞ/こそ. I suggest you start your research there. This really doesn't answer your question though ^^; Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 3:22

1 Answer 1


According to my knowledge, Classical Japanese like Samurai's language did not have casual speech endings. And CJ sentences should adjust to CJ speech endings.

For example, "ここはどこだろうね"="Where is it here?" will be something like "ここはどこでござるか?"

This is very complex even for Native Japanese speakers, so it would be better asking to Native Japanese directly instead of googling it.

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    「ここはどこでござるか」 is NOT Classical Japanese; It is only a couple of hundred years old.
    – user4032
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 1:08
  • No it IS classical Japanese. You are totally wrong. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E3%81%94%E3%81%96%E3%82%8B You first should look up on the internet, dude
    – ponyoky
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 1:20
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    @ponyoky Classical Japanese refers to Japanese based upon the speech of the Heian period. Translating your Edo-period sentence to real CJ: ここはいづこなる?
    – ithisa
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 1:28

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