Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 4: 18/21

さ (Interjection)
all right, there we go, now・you see, well (I don't know, let me see)

Generally, the lengthened “さあ” is used more often than the shorter “さ”

Structure
さあ + Phrase

(1) さ、さぁ、さあ、さー
Details
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使用域 タメ語
Information
さ 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 first meaning (to invite or draw attention). In English, this is usually translated as ‘there we go’, ‘ok then’, or ‘well you see’. さ (or sometimes さあ) will come at the beginning of a sentence, before the point that the speaker would like to highlight is explained.
  • さーさー、遠慮(えんりょ)せずにどんどん食(た)べてください
    There we go! Please eat a lot without holding back.
  • さあ、そろそろ行(い)きますか。
    Ok then, should we go soon?
Caution
This and the used for expressing confusion or bewilderment are often used interchangeably. When drawing attention, it comes across like ‘well you see’, but when expressing confusion, it is closer to ‘well let me see’. The latter has a slight nuance of ‘let me think about my answer first’.
  • あの、昨日(きのう)は暑(あつ)負(ま)けて倒(たお)れちゃった。
    Well, you see… I lost to the heat yesterday and passed out. (Yesterday, I passed out due to the heat)
  • さあそれはどうでしょう?私(わたし)聞(き)いてもわからないよ。
    Well let me see… I don't know about that. Even if you ask me I wouldn't have a clue.
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さあ仕事(しごと)を始(はじ)めよう。」
"Alright, let’s start working!"
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さあ、行(い)きましょう。」
"Alright, let’s go!"
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あの人、誰(だれ)?」
さあ…」
"Who is that person?"
"Well… "
Expresses the speaker’s lack of knowledge.
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