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A friend recently texted me 'いつ帰ってくるんー?'. I understand the question, but I don't understand why んー would be added to the end of the verb. Is this to add emphasis or emotional context?

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「いつ帰{かえ}ってくるんー?」

「ん」=「の」

Around Kansai, it is common to end a question with a 「ん」 in colloquial speech. The 「ー」 should be for emphasis as you said.

Thus, a more "Standard" way to say the same thing would be:

「いつ帰ってくるの~?」

Kansai ladies have asked me questions such as:

「うちのこと、ホンマに好{す}きな?」 "Do you really like me?"

「最近{さいきん}めっちゃ回答{かいとう}したはるけど、ヒマな?」 "You've been answering a lotta questions lately. Are you bored silly?"

Disclaimer: If your friend is not from around Kansai, please ignore this answer. I would have no idea what 「んー」 meant, then, in his/her dialect. It is always helpful to tell us where the speaker is from when asking these questions.

  • 1
    Note that Tokyo people sometimes use it as a slang too. Some as faux-Kansai style and others don't even seem knowing it is. – broccoli forest Aug 1 at 7:41

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