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ものすごく若くて、ものすごく浅はかだった三十年ばかり前のわたしは、細長い箱に入ったバラの花の贈りものというのに憧れていた。どんな人から贈られることを想像していたの。ともかく、箱入りバラを受けとるにふさわしい女性になりたいと思ったのである

is this か the same as か in 君は中国人ですか?
if so, how does it differ from どんな人から贈られることを想像していた ?

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  • What's the following sentence?
    – Jimmy Yang
    May 15, 2023 at 6:21
  • I just updated it,you can take a look
    – CN.hitori
    May 15, 2023 at 7:04
  • In that case, you can understand this か as an ordinary question particle. There is no need to overthink.
    – Jimmy Yang
    May 15, 2023 at 9:28
  • if so,how do you translate this sentence?
    – CN.hitori
    May 15, 2023 at 12:53
  • 2
    I think you should just try to translate it literally: From what kind of person was I expecting to receive a rose?
    – sundowner
    May 17, 2023 at 13:16

1 Answer 1

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is this か the same as か in 君は中国人ですか?

Yes it is. It's the question particle か. Your sentence どんな人から贈られることを想像していたのか。 was a question addressed to the narrator herself, so it's just a normal question, nothing extraordinary.

if so, how does it differ from どんな人から贈られることを想像していた?

Grammatically, these two sentences carry the same meaning. It's just that with か, it is more natural-sounding. Without the か, the narrator has to raise the tone on the final syllable to make it a question(just like in English), but with か, no tone-raising needed and it's perceived as a question to self.

どんな人から贈られることを想像していたのか。
What sort of people was I imagining to receive (this flower) from!

You see, a more fitting translation would be to use exclamation mark(!) rather than the question mark(?) in English, as the narrator is not really asking, as in begging for an answer, but merely sighing/exclaiming (感嘆・嘆息する)

Such usages of か is actually quite common, for example:

Someone walks into a room, sees someone unexpected:
あっ、君か。
Literal translation: Ah! Is that you?
More accurate translation: Ah! It's you!

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