I came across the following sentence:


which was translated as "What am I supposed to be frightened of?"

I know that the first part means "what am I afraid of?"

I just can't see how adding that っていうんだ could change the meaning in that way.

I'm assuming that it's the same as というんだ but I still can't figure out how it affects the meaning of the sentence.

Could it be a mistranslation on the author's part?

  • 2
    That is not a bad translation at all if not a super-literal one.
    – user4032
    Jul 6, 2017 at 16:30
  • Yeah, i'd figured the problem wasn't the author but my poor japanese. I just wanted to include that probability.
    – Moune
    Jul 6, 2017 at 16:39

2 Answers 2



It's a rhetorical question (修辞疑問文/反語表現). It's not really a normal question that asks for an answer/reply. It means/implies "What would I be afraid of? -- No, I would be afraid of nothing!"


  • 誰が知っているというのか。
    "Who knows? (Nobody knows.)"
  • どうすれば忘れられるというのか。
    "How could I forget? (I could never forget.)"
  • それがどうしたっていうんだ。*
    "What would it matter? (It doesn't matter!)"
  • やつらが金以外のなにを欲しがるというんだ?* 
    "What do they care for but money? (They only care for money!)"

The latter two examples are taken from Weblio例文辞典.


You are right on assuming っていうんだ is the same as というんだ.

というんだ is basically saying somebody is saying the part before と in the questioning form. That idea expressed before と is somebody else's, so isn't it a good idea to question it with "be supposed to"? (Maybe it can be a self questioning, but I have no idea without the context.)

It's literally like "What are/is they/he/she/you saying I'm (going to) afraid of?"

  • 1
    That is exactly why i was confused though. I thought the speaker was quoting somebody else but it turns out he was asking himself hence the translation.
    – Moune
    Jul 7, 2017 at 7:24
  • Then the word is to deny his own feeling of almost being or about to be scared, and to encourage himself. Maybe the translation is not very natural as English, but the original Japanese is quite natural. We have so many ending/verbal expressions seem to be extra.
    – karlalou
    Jul 7, 2017 at 13:28

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