I've been talking with a Japanese exchange student at my college. For 4 years I've been studying Japanese and we get along just fine most of the time but sometimes even I get a bit lost.

He's from Kobe so perhaps it's a part of his dialect.

My question is, what does「なにしてたん?」mean? The main thing that confuses me is たん.


何してたん is the same as 何していたの (that is, 'What were you/have you been doing?'). In standard Japanese, の can be contracted to ん in 何してたんだ or 何してたんですか; non-standard dialects use it more broadly.

|improve this answer|||||

何をしていたのですか? : Root

何をしていたの? : Drop formal ending.

何していたの? : Colloquial drop of particle.

何してたの? : Colloquial drop of syllable.

何してたん? : Lazy end turns の into ん.

|improve this answer|||||

It's Kansai dialect. In Kansai, we often end sentences with ん as in: 

[なにしてたん]{LLHHLH}?(なにしてたんだ?/なにしてたの?)What have you been doing?

~[しててん]{HHLL}。(~してたんだ。/~してたのよ。)I was doing ~~.

~[してんねん]{HHHLL}。(~してるんだ。/~してるのよ。)I'm doing ~~.

[なにしたん]{LLHLH}?(なにしたんだ?/なにしたの?)What did you do?

~[してん]{HLL}。(~したんだ。/~したのよ。)I did ~~.

~[すんねん]{HHLL}。(~するんだよ。/するのよ。)I'll do~~.

[知らんねん]{HHHLL}。(知らないんだ。)I don't know.

[さむいん]{HLLH}? (寒いの?)Are you cold?

[さむいねん]{HLLLL}。(寒いんだよ。/寒いのよ。)I'm cold.

[ちゃうやん]{HHHLL}。(違うじゃないか。)It's not so, is it?

[ゆうたやん]{HLLLL}。(言ったじゃないか。)I said so, didn't I?

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.