Dragon Ball Super ending 9 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lRjWkjHKDg

in a part of the song says

"waratteru ka naiteru noka"

which is translated as

were you laughing or were you crying?

Is there any reason why the first part uses the particle "ka" and the second "no ka"? is there a rule or something for doing so in a case like this?

  • Syllable count?
    – Angelos
    Jul 30 '17 at 21:40

Please look at: What is the meaning of のか and how does it differ from か?

Maybe by parsing, as @psosuna noted, it would sound more like, "Were you laughing, or could you have been crying?"

On the other hand, it could just be added syllables to make the song lyrics fit.

  • However, it could be that the Japanese only put the の particle at the very end to save space/time rather than emphasizing the last part. Do you have another source to support your claim? Jul 31 '17 at 21:11
  • Yes. See the explanation in the answer to: italki.com/question/68085?answer-sorting=1 Jul 31 '17 at 21:13
  • You only gave another link for an explanation of んだ/のだ. Do you have a source that proves the の at the end of this sentence only emphasizes "were you crying" rather than emphasizing both? To me it looks kinda weird if it were written 「笑っているのか泣いているのか。」in the same sentence. Jul 31 '17 at 21:21
  • Actually, looking at the question again it could even just be the explanation の rather than emphasis. Probably need native confirmation on this one. Jul 31 '17 at 21:42
  • 1
    I'm not Chocolate at all, but my parsing sense sees this in this way -- [笑ってるか][(泣いてるの)か]. In this case, 泣いてるの is a question that is being asked as part of the comparison of states of being either in laughter (which is what the person thinks) and in tears (which is what the person is wondering could be).
    – psosuna
    Aug 1 '17 at 16:55

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