それは自分のものですか。

English Translation

Is it yours?

So the 自分 here is referring to the listener and not the speaker?
Seems like the correct translation should be ‘Is that mine?’

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Hi @nazan, I am a fellow learner, so I might be wrong. Especially since the sentence is not in Tateoba anymore, which usually means there are issues with the sentence.

Anyway, 自分 may be translated to “oneself”, so it could be technically either… but since this is a question, the most plausible case is that I am asking you if the thing is yours.

自分 might be used in sentences like this to avoid using あなたの, which makes Japanese people unconfortable (according to the Internet. at least!)

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Thanks for the reply that’s really helpful!

@nazan
I can firmly say as a native Japanese speaker that @mike-lima ‘s explanation is correct. 自分 itself merely means “self”, so it could be about the speaker or listener. But in an interrogative sentence, 自分 is most likely to mean “yourself” (referring to the listener) except one rare case.

If 自分 is followed by a more formal version ですか?, we usually say 自分のですか? instead of 自分のですか? So, それは自分のですか implies that the speaker casts a serious doubt on the legality of ownership (e.g. a police officer throws a quick question to a suspect of shoplifting.) Don’t use the phrase それは自分のですか? when you friendly ask someone else.

If you want to talk about the speaker’s possession,

それは私の/僕のですか? = Is that mine?

それは私に/僕にですか? = Is that for me?

As abovementioned, there is a rare exception. Some people, especially military people or athletes in a team, sometimes refer to themselves as 自分. But that kind of talking sounds a bit “wacky”. You may find this exception in Manga/Anime, but I don’t recommend you to use it in your real life.

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