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In a novel I'm reading (Umineko no naku koro ni, by Ryukishi07) a child character frequently affirms the existence of a witch named Beatrice (ベアトリーチェ) in anger, as a way of protesting to older boys or adults who make fun of her for still believing in her. She says it like this:

A :「ベアトリーチェが“い”るうー!!」

What could be the equivalent in English? "Beatrice really 'exists'!!"? Or even the English verb should be partially quoted? Are the quotes put on the "い" just in order to emphasize the tone?

Maria (the girl's name) is portrayed as an innocent girl with a very child-like vocabulary, except when the topic of discussion is about black magic. But she doesn't use puns, and the phrase is used when she's acting like an ordinary little girl.

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    As this use of Western-style quotation marks is somewhat unusual, you might have a better chance of getting an answer if you gave more information. Specifically, are Western-style quotation marks ever used in the book in any other context? What is the novel, and who is the author? That information might help to narrow down whether this an idiosyncratic way of indicating emphasis or something else. (Also, does anything about the plot or characterization suggest that either the character or the author wants to highlight the double meaning of いる ("Santa exists," and also "I need Santa")?
    – Nanigashi
    Feb 17, 2022 at 15:06
  • PS - In the above, I forgot to say welcome to the Japanese Language Stack Exchange! If you haven't already done so, you can take the tour here: japanese.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Nanigashi
    Feb 17, 2022 at 15:12
  • @Nanigashi I'll answer every question. - No, those quotations aren't used in any other context. - The story's Umineko Naku Koro Ni by Ryukishi07. I changed the subject of the child's complaining (whose name is Maria), which is a witch named Beatrice (ベアトリーチェ) with the catchphrase being "ベアトリーチェが“い”る!!". I thought without context it would have been enough. - Maria's portrayed as a innocent girl with a very child-like vocabulary, except when the topic of discussion is black magic. But she doesn't use puns, and the phrase is used when she's acting like an ordinary little girl.
    – Diricksen
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:20
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    Sorry I wasn't clear about this, but what I meant was that you should edit your question to provide that information, not that you should answer in the comments. Also, I think I understand why you changed the wording and context, but that could be very counterproductive! Since the purpose of this odd punctuation may relate to something very specific to the novel in question, someone who is familiar with the story would have the best chance of giving a good answer. Therefore, obscuring the source doesn't seem like a good idea.
    – Nanigashi
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:35
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    Was it printed like that, or was it shown with some visual effect that resembled quotation marks?
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 18, 2022 at 1:20

1 Answer 1

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Looks like there is no logical reason for this. This is an idiosyncratic notation repeatedly used specifically in the Higurashi franchise (that's why you shouldn't change the context or hide the title). There are native speakers wondering why it's written like that (for example, see this question). Some readers may think this weird notation could be a foreshadowing of something, or some may be reminded of this suggestive logo.

Personally, I doubt there is something more profound than the Toys "R" Us logo. Hardcore Higurashi fans may be able to provide a better speculation, but unfortunately that is beyond the scope of this site.

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