In the light novel that I'm reading, the narrator sometimes starts his narration with "と、" like the following example:



I've been curious about why と is appearing at the start of the second sentence. Searches for a definition or colloquial abbreviation fail to be meaningful because there are too many sites which detail と as a particle.

I'm not sure of its purpose, but I figure that it could be one of these possibilities:

  • An abbreviation of という,
  • the particle と connecting it to 「ふん」,
  • an onomatopoeic sound,
  • a hesitant pause,
  • or some other reason.

The question that I have is, which one?

  • 1
    The second and third bullets.
    – istrasci
    Apr 25 '15 at 4:50

「と」 here is a quotative particle used to quote 「ふん」; It is not an abbreviation of anything. 「と」, all by itself, is in its full form.

It may look like 「と」 is at the beginning of the sentence, but in essence, it is the same as:


A direct quote, no matter how short it is, is often treated as a full line in stories, which is what you are seeing in 「ふん」 in this case.

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