Messing with か, Part II

As mentioned in the last lesson, one use of か is marking noun phrases (that are questions). For example, we saw this sentence:

あの ひと、 だれ か しってる?
Do you know who that person is?
Literally: "that + person, + who + か + are knowing?"

The embedded question in that sentence is:

あの ひと、 だれ?
Who's that person?
Literally: "that + person, + who?"

Then we add the particle か, which makes the above question into a noun phrase:

あの ひと、 だれ か
who that person is
Literally: "that + person, + who + か"

Finally, we add 知ってる? (しってる? // Do you know?) — literally, "are knowing?" — so that we can ask about this noun phrase:

あの ひと、 だれ か しってる?
Do you know who that person is?
Literally: "that + person, + who + か + are knowing?"


Let's look at another example...

パスポート どこ に しまった か わすれちゃった。
I can't remember where I put my passport.
Literally: "passport + where + に + put away + か + (unfortunately) forgot."
Note: We'll talk a lot more about this ~ ちゃった ending in other lessons.


And another one...

どうやって つくる か しってる?
Do you know how to make it?
Literally: "how (=how + do [and]) + make + か + are knowing?"


Let's say that I'm on the phone with a mutual friend of ours, and you want me to ask if she can come to our party tomorrow. You say...

あした これる か きいて みて。
Ask if she can come tomorrow.
Literally: "tomorrow + can come + か + ask (and) + look (and)."
Note: ~ てみる is an ending that means something along the lines of "try to ~." We'll have a few lessons on this in the future.

Dropping the ら in Possibility Form

I only briefly mentioned this in an earlier lesson, but in spoken Japanese, it is very common to drop the ら in the ~られる ending of the possibility-form conjugation of ichidan verbs (even though your Japanese teachers will probably mark you wrong for doing so).

That's why our speaker in the previous sentence is saying 来れる (これる) instead of 来れる (れる), both of which mean "can come."

Similarly, people will often say 食べれる (たべれる) instead of 食べれる (たべれる) when saying "can eat," 寝れる (ねれる) instead of 寝れる (れる) when saying "can sleep," and so on.

Is all of this grammar making you nauseous?

Sorry. At the very least, take comfort in the fact that the rollercoaster ride of learning Japanese makes all of us dizzy from time to time.

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