かな

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かな is a combination of the sentence enders か and な. It is used as a sentence ender with various meanings:

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Expressing doubt with some admiration

Take for example:

どうしてそんなに怖いのかな。 どうしてそんなにこわいのかな。 “Why are you so scared?” "I wonder why you are so scared."

Here, the speaker doesn’t think that the situation is scary, so they are a bit surprised when they see the other person scared.

Asking a question to oneself

This is similar to the English “I wonder…”. For example:

こんなこと言ってもいいのかな。 こんなこといってもいいのかな。

“I wonder if I should say that?”

From あずまんが大王, Chiyo's "つくりましょう" song.

つくりましょう♪
つくりましょう♪
さて、さて、なにができるかな~♪

はい!できました!

Let's make something,
Let's make something,
Well, well, I wonder what's been made?

OK! It's done!

Expressing a desire/wish

When used after ~ない (negative conjugation), it expresses a wish. For example:

誰か来ないかな。 だれかこないかな。 “I wish someone would come.”

早く帰らないかな。 はやくかえらないかな。 “I hope he goes home soon.”

Politeness of かな

This form is not polite, so you should avoid using it to address elder or higher people. However, it is used very often when talking to yourself (“asking a question to yourself”) or talking to friends.

Forum Thread on かな

--tanuki

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