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「神{かみ}のみぞ知{し}るセカイ」 is the title of a manga/anime series but I'm not asking about the anime. I'm just curious about the 「ぞ」 part in the title.

I know there is a ぞ particle that is similar to よ, such that 行{い}くぞ is similar to 行くよ. But I have never encountered よ nor ぞ in the middle of a sentence/clause before, so this made me curious.

Which part of speech is that ぞ? What connotation does it bring and how do we use it in a sentence?

p/s: I know the ぞ is not a part of のみぞ because when I entered のみぞ in my Japanese dictionary software it only returned のみ = “only" so I deduced that the ぞ is a separate word.

2 Answers 2

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If you look at koujien's entry for ぞ there are several uses (mostly outdated), but I think the one which applies here is: 一つの事柄を特に指定し強調する。 In other words, it places emphasis on something specific. So in reguards to this light novel/anime series title I think it places emphasis on the fact that the/a world which ONLY GOD knows about.

Also, this reminded me of a famous quote of Sakamoto Ryouma 世の人はわれは何ともいはばいへ わがなすことは我のみぞ知る something like "No matter what society says, I know the meaning to my own actions" basically, screw what society says, because I know the path I want to go down.

I believe he's emphasizing that what matters is that HE knows what he should be doing.

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It's an emphatic particle from old Japanese. Only God/Gods. There's another one used with questions to show more uncertainty. "どこぞで休んでいくか" (デジタル大辞泉)

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  • Is this still the same emphatic particle we see at the end of speech nowadays? やるぞ!
    – makdad
    Jun 1, 2011 at 3:16
  • They are considered different particles in the standard grammar.
    – Gradius
    Aug 26, 2012 at 1:41
  • @makdad, as Gradius notes, the "standard grammar" taught in Japanese schools treats these separately. However, derivationally, these are the same thing (with modern usage growing out of the ancient emphatic marker). If you can read Japanese, see also the extensive entry in the 日本国語大辞典【にほんこくごだいじてん】 entry here at Kotobank. Jun 15, 2022 at 22:34

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