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I came across this phrase while reading an interview.

そういう時はなんて答えりゃいいんだ。

I think it means "At a time like that, such a reply/response is good."

But I don't understand the usage of りゃ . I couldn't find any reference as a suffix or conjugation.

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Snailboat has given the correct answer below, so I will just mention the translation mistake that you made. The sentence is a question, not a statement. "How should I/one answer/respond on such an occasion?" –  l'électeur Nov 13 '13 at 0:32
    
@TokyoNagoya I see the difference. But how do I know the meaning of なんて, as "What/How" as used in a question as above, or "What" used like 「なんて厄介なんだ!」 "What a headache!" (example from space ALC), where the meaning is more like "such" and not asking a question. (Maybe this should be a new question...) –  user3169 Nov 25 '13 at 5:44

1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

It's a contraction of 答えれば. More generally, eba contracts to ya:

kotaereba → kotaerya  (答えれば → 答えりゃ)
okeba  → okya    (おけば  → おきゃ)
ieba   → iya     (言えば  → 言や)
nakereba → nakerya  (なければ → なけりゃ)

(As you can see, the pattern is easier to see and describe when romanized.)

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I thought なければ becomes なきゃ? –  user54609 Nov 14 '13 at 23:31
    
@user54609 It can! なければ → なけりゃ → なきゃ –  snailboat Nov 15 '13 at 0:18

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