For today’s post I’d like to focus on the Japanese expression “kke” (っけ) which is typically used at the end of a sentence, and signifies that the speaker/writer is trying to remember something. For example:
- What day of the week was it again?
This expression can be used when you are talking to yourself in an undertone, or whether you are trying to confirm something with another person.
You often see っけ used more with past tense statements, such as the following:
- I forgot, did he have a sister?
- Was it today we were going to beach?
Using っけ with a present tense verb (like 知ってるっけ）has been said to have the nuance of a (non-Tokyo) dialect.
It’s important to note that even though it is sometimes used with polite language (as in “そうでしたっけ”), it is considered an informal phrase and I wouldn’t recommend using with superiors or people you aren’t on very friendly terms with. It would be generally safer to just use “か”, like in “そうでしたか”.
Sometimes you will also see っけ followed by “な” or “なぁ” as in the rock band Quruli’s song “ばらのはな”
We bought ginger ale and drank it together
I think I can still remember the taste
The above is a rough, non-literal translation, but the important thing is that by using っけな he is trying to recall an important memory.
The ”っ” in “っけ” is a small tsu, and shouldn’t be confused with a large one（つ). it serves the purpose of adding a pause between the word that comes before it and the け.