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.
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 さ
may be used in any position within a sentence, simply to create thinking time.
Hey, um…. I, uhh, lent you, like, money before, right? You know… can you give that back to me?
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 さ
expresses is not necessarily a bad thing, and is used by many people to simply express that they have not finished talking yet.
I am going to Hakone next week, soooo… Do you know any good restaurants?
You know, my daughter suddenly called me in the middle of the night, and… I was really worried.