The following paragraph is from page 20 of 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱:


My question is about the end of the last sentence, which I've put in bold. It ends with だか, but as I understand it, the sentence-final particle か is ungrammatical after だ in standard Japanese. Therefore, I was thinking that one of two possibilities must be true:

  1. It is grammatical, but only in non-standard Japanese;
  2. It's grammatical because it's not a sentence-final use of か; it's a different use of か.

For example, I know that だか appears in 何だか, and that's not ungrammatical because it's not a sentence-final use of か. So, I thought perhaps the same thing might apply here.

But in order for it to be a non-sentence-final use of か, the sentence would have to continue, and so, I would have to conclude that the rest of the sentence here is omitted. That's exactly what @Matt talks about in this comment:

There are utterances like どうだか ("I wonder!" -- expressing doubt) but I suppose they are better viewed as fragments of an implied larger whole (e.g. どうだか知らないけど) where か is functioning slightly differently.

Is that how I should interpret this sentence, as well? I'm not sure what would follow, exactly, but perhaps I could use something like the ending Matt suggests:


Am I interpreting the sentence correctly?

1 Answer 1


Yes, you're interpreting the sentence correctly. My understanding is that this is possible because there is the "question word" of どこ in there, which makes the か(知らない) reading possible.

  • What sort of use of か is this, do you think? I'm having trouble picking it out of a dictionary.
    – user1478
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 21:10
  • 1
    Oh, I've just read that か is a [ +wh ] complementizer. That fits with your answer--it turns the clause いったい どこを うろついているんだ from a tensed clause into a complement of 知らない, and it can do this because どこを gives the clause [ +wh ].
    – user1478
    Commented Sep 18, 2013 at 18:22

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