I am currently reading a manga for studying Japanese and encountered something strange. A girl exclaims「な゛?!」

The situation is that she has just had water squirted up her nose, so I am guessing it's a kind of 'gnya' sound?

So my question is, is this a real Japanese language thing, or is it just the artist taking liberties with the language for comic effect?


  • 1
    perhaps you could attach a small picture?
    – Flaw
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 4:48
  • 1
    You might want to check out this old (2002) thread about this sort of thing: q.hatena.ne.jp/1040004428#a7692 Interesting thread :)
    – summea
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 4:53
  • @Flaw Just to be careful, are there any guidelines about "fair use" (for anything copyright-related) on SE?
    – summea
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 6:12
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    @summea I don't know about that. But I really doubt part of an image of a comic frame will affect their profits. I guess it's fair use for educational purposes. We can remove the image on request anyway.
    – Flaw
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 7:00
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    i think it just means the voice is strained.
    – Axe
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


We sometimes write 「な!?」,「なっ!?」 or 「なっ・・・!?」 (These three will be pronounced the same way) to mean 「なにっ!?」 or 「何!?」. Probably it's like "Wha...!?" or "What the...!?"

We also sometimes write 「え゛っ!」 in place of 「えっ!」 to add emphasis, but the 「゛」 ([濁点]{だくてん}) won't change/affect the pronunciation, so it'd be impossible to pronounce 「な゛」 or 「え゛」 correctly (I don't know what would be "correct" here though).

However, if I were a voice actress and had to read them, I'd probably read them as...

「え゛っ!」 instead of 「えっ!」

(So... maybe you'd call it a "thick/gruff/husky(?) voice"?? Or, is this what you'd call "strained", as in @ogicu8abruok's comment?)

  • 1
    – Dono
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 8:24
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    So writing え゛っ(with the extra ゛) as opposed to えっ denotes added surprise without denoting an actual change in sound? (by the way what are those dots called in Japanese and in English?)
    – yadokari
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 14:17
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    @yadokari Besides 濁点(だくてん), they are sometimes called 濁り(にごり) or colloquially てんてん. In English, you can use Japanese terms like "dakuten" or call them "voicing marks" or "voiced sound marks".
    – user1478
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 14:47
  • @Dono そ~ですよねえ。。。もうちょっと考えて書き直そう・・・(しかもまた日本語やし)
    – user1016
    Commented May 16, 2013 at 22:17
  • なるほど、よく分かった。ありがとう
    – DaleyPaley
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 0:17

I believe in this instance, the dots are used for emphasis. Since な is only a sound (or partial word), the net effect is basically just a louder exclamation. It's the difference between writing "What!?" and "What!?" in English (note the italics).

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