1

The sentence is this one:

その音に反応したのか、わたしの耳に一つの声が届いた

I kinda understand the connotation that のか has in some sentences, but I just don't understand it in this particular one.

2 Answers 2

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In this sentence, のか means that the speaker is guessing at a cause. To translate the sentence, "Perhaps reacting to the sound, I heard a voice." Kind of a gross translation, but essentially the speaker is guessing that the voice they hear is from someone vocalizing in reaction to the referenced sound.

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If you don’t know whether or not whatever uttered the voice did so in response to the sound, you might say:

その音に反応したのかどうかわからない。

If you suspect it did, you might say:

その音に反応したのかもしれない。

のか in your sentence should be understood along these lines.

In fact, he could have as well said:

その音に反応したのかもしれない。わたしの耳に一つの声が届いた。

or

その音に反応したのかもしれないが、わたしの耳に一つの声が届いた。

You wouldn’t be terribly mistaken if you thought of その音に反応したのか as a shorter conjunctional form of this.


[EDIT]
Maybe I should add that this conjunction is a causal one, although the speaker is not completely sure about the cause.

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