I've encountered the following sentence in a game:


First, I'd like to understand why the "to" in コロッと isn't in katakana like the rest of the word, why the dictionary writes it all in hiragana (http://jisho.org/search/korotto). Maybe I got the wrong word?
But regardless of that, how do I put that part of the sentence into words? I seem to have it in my mind, but can't quite say it in english.


This コロッと isn't really describing the quality of the thing itself, I mean, it is, but much more reflecting the speaker's impression or observation.

In your example, 転がっている alone can fully depict the situation, "it's lying on the ground". The remainder, コロッと and ~たりする both represent the speaker's mood.

コロッと implies (of course not round or rolling-ness here) something exists there as casually, unattendedly as a roadside pebble. In other word, it's actually a rhetoric attributing one's failure to notice to that innocent thing.

たりする is a worth learning colloquial idiom that derives from たり of probability or exemplification. It means "sometimes could happen/do", "do — or something" or "things such like — happen".


That 「と」 must be written in hiragana because it is a particle. You have no choice here.

The 「と」 turns the preceding word 「コロッ」 into an adverb form so that it can modify the verb phrase 「[転]{ころ}がってたりする」.

「ころっ/コロッ」 is a colloquial and onomatopoeic "word"; therefore, it is not very important whether you write it in hiragana or katakana. You have a choice here. Your preference can be fully reflected in its orthography. 

My own TL attempt for:


would be:

"one might find (helpful things/items) lying about (unexpectedly)"

"(to your surprise) you may find (helpful things/items) just scattered about "

  • I've been starring at it for a while, and it still seems like a strange word. It's annoying that I can't quite nail what feeling it gives. I guess I'll look for other sentences that have it in them, Thank you for the answer.
    – holyeyeolo
    Jan 29 '16 at 14:33

It’s hard for me to translate 案外役に立つ事がコロッと転がってたりする into Japanese, but I take it in the meaning of “You’ll find something lying before you just casually, which turns out to be helpful to you later in an unexpected way.

コロッと is a colloquial variation of コロリと. コロリ is an onomatopoeia or ideo-phone to describe the status of something / someone dropping, falling, or slipping down, like コロリと転ぶ。

と is a postpositional particle to link コロリ and 転ぶ. It’s not a part of コロリ or コロッ.

Onomatopoeias as a particle, like キャッキャ、ポキポキ、ドスンドスン are more often than not described in カタカナ、but と used as a particle shouldn’t be described in カタカナ.

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