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

ところが夜だかは、ほんとうは鷹の兄弟でも親類でもありませんでした。

"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 Feb 20 '18 at 6:37
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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.

ところが夜だかは、ほんとうは鷹の兄弟でも親類でもありませんでした。

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 Feb 20 '18 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 Feb 20 '18 at 7:02
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    本当は doesn't mean "in contrast to the truth" but "actually / in reality". – user4092 Feb 20 '18 at 8:36
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    @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 Feb 20 '18 at 9:37
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    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 Feb 21 '18 at 1:11

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