Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 4: 19/21

さ (Filler)
like, you know, you see, listen, uhh

Phrase (A) + さぁ(1) + Phrase (B)

(1) さあ、さー、さ
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使用域 タメ語
is a 感動詞(かんどうし) (interjection) in Japanese that has three primary uses. These are as follows:
誘(さそ)い、促(うなが)し - To invite, incite, or draw attention to something.
驚(おどろ)き、当惑(とうわく)し - The express surprise, confusion, or bewilderment.
話(はなし)の流(なが)れ抑(おさ)える - To control or keep in check the flow of a conversation.
In this lesson, we will be focusing on the second meaning (to express surprise, confusion, or bewilderment). In English, this is used in a very similar way to ‘like’, ‘you know’, ‘uhh’, and other short phrases that are employed when a speaker is searching for the right thing to say, and is filling the silence. This may be used in any position within a sentence, simply to create thinking time.
  • あの、私(わたし)さあこの前(まえ)さあ、お金(かね)貸(か)したじゃん?あれさあ、返(かえ)してくれない
    Hey, um…. I, uhh, lent you, like, money before, right? You know… can you give that back to me?
  • ね~聞(き)いてよ。彼女(かのじょ)、急(きゅう)別(わか)れたいっていって来(き)たんだけどどうすればいい
    Heyyy, listen to this. You know my girlfriend? She suddenly came to me saying that she wants to break up with me, what should I do.
The ‘confusion’ that this expresses is not necessarily a bad thing, and is used by many people to simply express that they have not finished talking yet.
  • 来週(らいしゅう)箱根(はこね)に行(い)くんだけどどこか美味(おい)しいところ知(し)らない
    I am going to Hakone next week, soooo… Do you know any good restaurants?
  • 夜中(よなか)急(きゅう)娘(むすめ)から電話(でんわ)来(き)てさあ...本当(ほんとう)ビックリしたよ。
    You know, my daughter suddenly called me in the middle of the night, and… I was really worried.
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"Between us, you see, he won the lottery."
A: "I have, you see, 5 day weekend starting from tomorrow."
B: "Lucky!"
Superior asking a subordinate about work progress: "Listen, is there any progress with the documents I requested earlier?"
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