Is "sou ka na" roughly equal to "so ka" being "is that so?" and the difference is that "sou ka na" conveys more emotions?

  • 2
    The difference is much more nuanced than that; both have a huge range of meanings and implications. A full answer would take a lot of writing... this is something best learned over timer and experience IMO.
    – Brandon
    Jun 5, 2016 at 5:30

2 Answers 2


Not in the slightest. When you say そうか 'sou ka', you are saying something like 'I see' or 'Is that so?' You have understood what the other party is saying. When you say そうかな, you say something like 'I doubt that' or 'Really?' You are casting doubt on the other party's claims.

  • so it's like "uso" a bit?
    – Oskar K.
    Jun 5, 2016 at 7:37

Their difference is subtle, especially in everyday conversation where they only differ in nuances rather than "real" meaning. But you can say that かな is more "interaction-oriented" because of the な which is cognate with ね.

You can compare the dictionary definitions of and かな:

  • 〔か〕質問や疑問の意を表す。

  • 〔か〕引用した句の意味やある事実を確かめ、自分自身に言い聞かせる意を表す。

  • 〔か〕(多く「…ないか」の形で)命令の意を表す。

  • 〔か〕反語の意を表す。/ 難詰・反駁 (はんばく) の意を表す。

So... if summed up, かな is more like keeping the dialog rather than one-sided/self-contained remark, or mentioning/considering the hearer rather than being detached/confrontational to them.

まあ、そうか Well, I see.
まあ、そうかな Well, I think you could say that. (usually followed by そうだよ etc.)

本当にそうか? Is that so? Really?
本当にそうかな? Do you really think so?

Note that "let's —" "shall we —" kind of meaning only belongs to か, and not かな.

一緒に行かないか Why don't you come with me?
一緒に行かないかな I wonder if (they) go together.

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