Messing with か, Part III

One of my favorite excuses for not learning Japanese is that I don't have enough time.

Sadly, I can't always use this excuse.

Today is one example—because we're looking at one of the simplest grammatical constructions on the face of the planet:

Noun + か

Yeah, we can make entire sentences just by sticking か onto a noun.

Here's our delightfully simplistic equation:

Noun + か = Noun, huh?

Honestly, I'm not totally sure how to translate this expression into English.

Basically, we just slap か onto nouns when we want to say, "Oh, that [noun]?" or "Oh, it's [noun]," or "[Noun], huh?"

For example, here's a line from an anime:

どれ だ? ...これ か!
Which one is it? This one!
Literally: "which + だ? + ...this + か!"

So in this example, he is looking for a certain wire.

He says, どれだ? "Which one is it?"

Then he finds the one—or, thinks that he's found the one, and he says これか!

これか literally means "this," これ, plus か, the question marker. So he's really just saying "This?!" But the nuance is something like "Ah, it's this one!"

I should point out that this is VERY casual Japanese.

Don't use it at school.

Don't use it at work.

Maybe don't even use it if you're a girl, because it's kind of rough-sounding.

Just look at all these (wannabe) tough guys using it...

俺か? 俺の目的は ずばり…金さ。
おれ か? おれ の もくてき は ずばり ...かね さ。
Me? I'll make it short. I want... money!
Literally: "I (=[masculine]) + か? + I (=[masculine]) + の + goal / aim + は + frankly + + さ."
Note: さ is used in very casual speech. It's a bit hard to explain. You'll mostly learn it by getting a feel for it as you come across it used in daily life.

母さんか そんな人のことはどうでもいいだろ
かあさん か そんな ひと の こと は どうでもいい だろ
Mom, huh? Who cares about someone like that.
Literally: "mom + か + that kind of + person + の + thing + は + who cares + だろ"
Note: We'll talk a lot about だろ in our JLPT N4 lessons.

だいじょうぶ か? タクヤ!!
Are you okay? Takuya!
Literally: "OK / all right + か? + Takuya!!"

だいじょうぶ か?
Are you guys okay?
Literally: "OK / all right + か?"

If you want to be extra rude, the next time one of your friends walks into a room, you can be like:

おまえ か?
Oh, it's you.
Literally: "you (=[rude/very informal]) + か?"

The nuance of this is something like, "What are you doing here?" Or it could be like, "Oh, it's just you (how disappointing)." It really depends a lot on the context... which you'll get a feel for naturally over time.

Typically, the thing coming before か is not getting much respect... so, yeah... be careful.

I warned you.

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