Language | WELL SAID

Raising your voice can convey a different meaning, 'deshō'?

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Otōsan-tachi no ie no soba ni Furansu-ryōri no mise ga aru darō? Isn’t there a French restaurant near your parents’ house?

Situation 1: Mr. and Mrs. Okubo are talking about how to spend the consecutive Golden Week holidays.

妻: ねえ、連休の間に、お父さんお母さんたちと一緒に食事をしない?

夫: そうだね。お父さん達の家のそばにフランス料理の店があるだろう?そこはどう?

Tsuma: Nē, renkyū no aida ni, otōsan okāsan-tachi to issho ni shokuji o shinai?

Otto: Sō da ne. Otōsan-tachi no ie no soba ni Furansu-ryōri no mise ga aru darō? Soko wa dō?

Wife: Hey, why don’t we grab a meal with my father and mother during the consecutive holidays?

Husband: Ah, right. Isn’t there a French restaurant near your parents’ house? How about that?

When using the words だろう and でしょう, intonation can be rather important. When said with rising intonation, Xだろう/ Xでしょう serves to confirm whatever X is — a verb in plain form, an adjective or a noun — and anticipates the listener’s agreement. When X is a na-adjective or a noun sentence in the nonpast affirmative, the usual だ is removed: 静(しず)かだ (it’s quiet) becomes 静かだろう (I think it’ll be quiet) — not 静かだだろう, which is wrong. うそだ (it’s a lie) becomes うそだろう (I think that’s a lie.). Xでしょうis the polite form of the structure, だろう is mainly used by men in casual conversations:

こんなやり方(かた)ではうまくいかないでしょう。 (I don’t think we’ll be able to do it well if we do it in this way.)

Situation 2: Ms. Shiba and her colleague Mr. Tien are talking about their new plan.

芝: この企画、通るでしょうか。

ティエン: ええ、通ると思いますよ。顧客のニーズについてよくリサーチしてありますから。

Shiba: Kono kikaku, tōru deshō ka.

Tien: Ē, tōru to omoimasu yo. Kokyaku no nīzu ni tsuite yoku risāchi shite-arimasu kara.

Shiba: I wonder if this plan will pass.

Tien: Yes, I think it’ll pass. Because we really researched our customer’s needs.

When using だろう and でしょう with falling intonation, the speaker effectively expresses doubt or anxieties about whatever they are talking about, just as Ms. Shiba does in Situation 2:

息子(むすこ)はこんな成績(せいせき)で大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)でしょうか。(I wonder if my son will be OK with these grades.)

The structure Xだろうか/でしょうか is often used as a rhetorical question when it has a falling intonation:

こんな大金(たいきん)、だれが出(だ)すだろうか。だれも出さないだろう。(Who’s gonna pay such a large sum? No one will.)

In the above example, you wouldn’t even need the second sentence as the idea that “nobody will pay” is implied in the first sentence.

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. and Mrs. Shiba are eating cake at home.

妻(つま): このケーキ、おいしいでしょう?

夫(おっと): うん。ちょうどいい甘(あま)さでいいね。形(かたち)もかわいいし。

妻: 店(みせ)に行列(ぎょうれつ)ができているの。見(み)たことない?

夫: ああ、銀行(ぎんこう)のそばだろう?見たことあるよ。

妻: そんなに高(たか)くないから、すぐに売(う)り切(き)れちゃうの。

夫: そうか。最近(さいきん)はデパートのケーキなんか、ずいぶん高いだろう?

妻: うん、でも、この辺(へん)じゃ、安(やす)くておいしくなきゃ売れないの。ほら、駅(えき)のそばの店も高かったから、すぐにつぶれちゃったでしょう?

夫: ああ、そうだね。だれがあんなに高いものを買(か)うんだろうか、って思(おも)うよ。…それにしてもみんなよく行列に並(なら)ぶね。

妻: 何(なに)を言(い)ってるの、あなただっておいしいラーメン屋(や)なら、並んで食(た)べているでしょう?

夫: うーん、それはそのとおりだ…。

Wife: This cake is delicious, isn’t it?

Husband: Yeah, the sweetness is just right. The shape is cute, too.

Wife: There’s a big line (for them) at the store. Have you seen it?

Husband: Ah, near the bank, right? I have seen it.

Wife: The price isn’t that high, so they totally sell out of them quickly.

Husband: Oh, really. Recently, the prices of the cakes in the department stores are considerably high, no?

Wife: Yeah, but around here people won’t buy them unless they’re cheap and delicious. Just look at that store near the station that was expensive, it closed down pretty quickly, no?

Husband: Oh, you’re right. I wondered who might buy such expensive cakes like that. Be that as it may, people still line up (for the other place).

Wife: What are you talking about, you’ll line up for a decent ramen restaurant, won’t you?

Husband: Well … that’s true, yes.