If anyone is willing, I'd like to check my reading of the following sentence:


"However, for a number of nights, there is a lie that [he] is a family member or even a brother of the hawk, but it is not so."

I'm reading 夜だか as "a number of nights" (e.g. for a while), but I'm wondering if a better reading of -だか in this context would be "all" as in "all nights" or "nightly".

Also, I read ほんとうは as "in contrast to the truth" e.g. a lie. Was that correct?
EDIT: I found a good link explaining why this reading (as explained in the answers) is wrong. Apparently, multiple は "topics" can be grammatically correct. Can we have two thematic は particles in a sentence?

On a side note,
These kind of translation questions feel a bit out of place on Stack Exchange... since this site seems to focus more on specific grammar and word usage.

As I continue to read, I'd like to do more regular translation checks. Could anyone recommend a forum where that might be more welcome (if not here)?

  • You've shown some effort in trying to decipher this phrase. So long as it is evident that you tried and that you show your attempt I think most people would be glad to help you.
    – BJCUAI
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


夜だか would be 夜鷹, the nighthawk.

本当 means 'truth. 本当は would be 'the truth is'. In this case, it would be 'in contrast to what may be assumed/believed.


As it is, the nighthawk is, in truth, neither a sibling nor a relative of the hawk.

  • Ah! So 夜だか threw me. So far this book has only used よだか for the nighthawk. I guess it's trying to introduce new kanji along the way.
    – Hyperglyph
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 6:56
  • @Hyperglyph Read on and you'll soon notice the author was using both 夜だか and よだか somewhat arbitrarily.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 7:02
  • 2
    本当は doesn't mean "in contrast to the truth" but "actually / in reality".
    – user4092
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 8:36
  • 1
    @Hyperglyph the は in 本当は is just a normal topic marker. <-- no.. it's just saying that the topic is now 本当 and not 夜だか <-- no.. The topic is よだか. The は in よだかは is the topic/thematic marker. As @user4092 says, 本当は is an adverbial phrase (≂「実は」) meaning "actually", "in fact", "in reality" (hence the translation "The truth is~~".)
    – chocolate
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 9:37
  • 1
    it's not saying "in contrast to the truth", it's saying "the truth is (in contrast to something else)". Which is functionally similar to using は as a normal topic marker -- It's not a literal translation. It's translated that way because it sounds more natural in your language. The English translation has the grammatical structure doesn't mean the original Japanese sentence has the same grammatical structure.
    – chocolate
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 1:11

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