I keep on coming across the particle か at the end of sentences without it having a clear or necessary interrogative nuance.

An example. The 1st Angel in Neon Genesis Evangelion is regenerating itself after the first raid: 予想通り、自己修復中か. Why would they introduce an interrogative nuance into what was already a predicted outcome?

I get the impression that Japanese speech encourages the use of か without any specific interrogative or grammatical purpose other than providing a strong phonetic closure to a sentence? Can anyone confirm or dispel this impression?

  • obviously we’re lacking much context. but on its own, this seems to make good sense. “is it really as predicted?”
    – A.Ellett
    May 28 '20 at 19:03
  • This Angel creature has been blown to pieces; a few minutes later its body is regenerating; then a male, tough, military commander makes the remark quoted above. May 28 '20 at 20:03

This function of this か is not purely phonetic, but rather serves to make the sentence less of a outward statement and more of a self-directed or self-reflecting one.

It makes the information value of sentence primarily be “I had considered ~ previously but wasn’t sure, but in the end it indeed it is 〜, huh...”

It’s often is accompanied by やっぱり (or 予想通り playing a similar role in this sentence). Even when such an adverb isn’t present, you can imagine it being there. E.g. そっか{HHL} can basically be expanded to やっぱりそうだったのか.

  • Thanks a lot, I get what you say in the second paragraph about the change from half-certainty to full-certainty. May 28 '20 at 20:29
  • Yeah, that's a good way of putting it. May 28 '20 at 20:37

To take a more common example, you will often hear people responding to new information with そうですか。 This is not a question. It is more like "Oh, I see."

  • If you make it a blanket statement like that I would have to disagree. Even the falling intonation そうですか is often responded to with an あいづち-like ええ or うん or something, but it is in response to the そうですか question.
    – By137
    May 29 '20 at 9:42

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