What does “dondake (どんだけ)” mean?



What is the Japanese the word “dondake (どんだけ)” ?
Don’t you think it’s a funny-sounding word?

It became so popular in Japan around 2007 and was one of top 10 buzzwords of the year.
“Dondake” is actually pronounced like “dondakeeeee” stretching the end of the word.

It is famous that “Dondake” is used by Japanese comedians or Japanese TV celebrity called IKKO.

Also, in a popular Japanese cartoon (and also anime) called “Gintama”, there are scenes in which the characters keep saying “Dondakeeeeee!”

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at “dondake”.

“Dondake” is an exclamation that was popular among high school girls and gay people in Shinjuku 2-Chome around 2007.
To be exact, it is a questionable form, but the end of the sentence is pronounced somewhat flat.

“Dondake” is a colloquially changed of “Doredake(どれだけ).

“Dondake” is actually used in some local dialects of Japan, and most Japanese would understand what “dondake” means.

The meaning of the word is “how much” and “how many”.

If it is said properly, it is as follows.
“Doredake desu ka?(どれだけですか?)”
“Dono kurai desu ka?(どのくらいですか?)”

It is a word that could be used like in the position of “tsukkomi” in the so-called “manzai” of Japan. “Manzai” is usually a performance where a combination of two comedians tells an interesting story, each role consisting of “tsukkomi (straight man)” and “boke (funny man)”.

The “boke” person pretends to be unaware and does or says something funny. The “tsukkomi” person points it out in a funny way or from the point of view that the audience would feel.

In everyday conversations, for example, the word can be used for a friend who cannot just decide what to do.
“Dondake dayo!”
(How long do you need to decide it?)

Or, it can be used for a colleague who is eating forever.
“Dondake —?”
(How much do you want to eat?)

Or, a word from a girlfriend waiting for her boyfriend to finish his overtime work.
「Dondake — (sigh)」
(When will you finish your work? (Sigh) “

Also, recently, girls use it as an exclamation when they see something impressive.
“Dondake —? (Great performance!)”

What is the origin of “Dondake”?

When a TV program featured Shinjuku 2-chome (*) gays, they were cheering and saying “dondakeeee”.
“Dondake” means “How much” or “How many” mentioned above, but the program explains, “The words themselves are not so meaningful, but everyone can get excited by saying together.” It was.
(*: Shinjuku 2-chome is located in Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. There are both sides of condominiums, multi-use buildings, office buildings, etc. and LGBT town.)

After that, the TV celebrity called IKKO started to use it, and it spread to TV comedians and the general public.

It was also used frequently among high school girls. They came to use it as a surprise, an impression, or just a response. It was also used with similar meanings as “sugoi” and “chou”.

Although “dondake” is said to have a return word of “ikahodo”, it seems that it is not well known.