In かちかち山, at least the version I am looking at, one of the opening lines is:


I can't figure out how to explain the bolded part. そう would either mean "seems like" or hearsay. Based on the conjugation of the preceding verb I conclude that we're dealing with hearsay here, which would fit the tone of a folk tale. But I'd then expect そうだ or そうです.

The only possible explanation I can come up with is that the だ is omitted, and then we're left with な as a sentence ending particle.

1 Answer 1


そうな is the pre-noun form (連体形) of そうだ. It is an instance of 連体形終止, which (according to the linked Wikipedia entry) became common in 14-16C.

Using そうな at the end should be an (pseudo) archaism that is commonly seen in starting folklores.

  • I'm curious, what would be the implied noun? 事【こと】? Aug 30, 2022 at 0:34
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi There is no implied noun. In the medieval Japanese, 連体形 was just an alternative for ending. Earlier (10-11C?), it was more usual to have some implied noun. This goo answer may be helpful.
    – sundowner
    Aug 30, 2022 at 12:11
  • Sundowner -- interesting, thank you. This grammatical shift is an important element in explaining the syntactic environment in which the 連体形 for verbs and adjectives could merge with the 終止形 (or perhaps "replace" instead of "merge with"). (For some reason, if I use the "@" username ping style, the username just vanishes when I press "Save edits". Most confusing...) Aug 30, 2022 at 20:55

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