I've been asked a couple of times by Japanese where my "おく" was, and I just respond to where my country of origin (the answer is what they were expecting so I guess I have the right notion of what it means).

I can't actually find おく in the dictionary referring to country. Is it short for something (like お国)?

  • 3
    Can you recall the full context of what you were asked? Was it something like 「おくはどこですか」or something similar? – sazarando Oct 19 '16 at 5:53
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    Yes, could you please share the whole sentence? – snailplane Oct 19 '16 at 6:21
  • one time was simply something like "えと。。おく?" and recently something like "~~~おくは?" – Tyress Oct 19 '16 at 6:30
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    @Tyress Are you sure you didn't hear に? – broccoli facemask - cloth Oct 19 '16 at 9:50


ejje.weblio.jp -- お国を英語に訳すと ⇒ くに


  • お国はどちらですか. Where [What country] do you come from?

  • お国では皆さまお変わりもありませんか. Is everybody at home well?


For some reason they pronounced the に in おくに very weakly. I'm not sure why. (Local dialect?)

In speech, most ppl are already saying it without the WA as: お国どちらですか? -- and i suppose this sounds a bit like おくんどちらですか? --or-- おくどちらですか?

The vowel in に of おくに is more schwa-like than [i] or [i:] of English or German, for sure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa

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