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そんなトコで何{なん}しよる。

I'm reading a manga and from the context of the pictures I think this sentence reads, "What are you doing up there," but I have no idea what part ば plays. The character speaks in a dialect so my confusion could be a result of that, but any help would be much appreciated.enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

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is the accusative particle used in wide area of (northern, as I remember) Kyushu as much as を in Standard Japanese. Etymologically it's from を + は contracted but no longer has share the は sense in Standard Japanese, as we can see that it's able to mark the question word (thanks to @user4092).

そんなトコで何ばしよる。

means

そんなとこで何をしてる(んだ)。

or a bit more textbook-friendly,

そんなところで何をしている(のだ)。

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  • It's present in various other dialects than Kyushu dialects, such as Hokkaido, Sendai, Niigata, Tottori. Together with the しよる it is however clear that the speaker is likely from Kyushu. It is as you say, more or less equal to を in standard Japanese, but can have a slightly emphasized nuance.
    – a20
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 9:17
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    It's not so much that that dialectal は has lost the original meaning as the one seen in current Standard Japanese has changed. I find no difference from the old usage in the points that it agrees with the attributive form and makes the sentence emphatic or a rhetoric question.
    – user4092
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 12:33
  • @bjorn Do you mean the accusative ば? Sorry if I'm missing something as obviously I'm not specialized in dialectology. Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 12:39
  • @user4092 まさしくその通りだと思います。ありがとうございます。 Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 12:39
  • See also the ば entry at Wiktionary, which includes this particular object-particle usage. (Full disclosure – I have edited that entry.) It looks like the をば (where the は, shifted to ば, was originally emphasis: compare に vs. には, etc.) contracts to just ば in cases where the preceding word ends in an お sound or an ん sound, which effectively "swallows" the sound of the を. If you are aware of cases where をば contracts to ば in other phonological contexts, please let me know, I'd be very interested to see that! 😄 Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 17:21
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そんなトコで何ばしよる。

ば is said in place of を.

The standard expression for the whole phrase is そのような場所{ばしょ}で何をしているのか.

It seems that the phrase is uttered by an old woman in Kyushu 九州{きゅうしゅう}Island.

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    This usage is not gender-specific and is used by men and women more or less equally.
    – a20
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 9:11
  • @bjorn From this sentence given by the questioner Anthony Hardman, I conjectured that this phrase has a nuance of minding another person, and also I conjectured that the character in the manga to be a woman because the tendency to mind another person is more common in old women than old men in Japan.
    – user20624
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 10:35

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