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what's the difference between ところで and ちなみに ?

Are they always/often/seldom interchangeable?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Yes, as a sentence opener, they are mostly identical and definitely interchangeable.

As for details and nuances, cursory Googling yielded this:

「ちなみに」は今まで話していた内容に何か付け加えるときや、 その内容と関係があるけど、少し別の方向へ話を発展させるときに使います。

    A: この大学には、学部生が500名、大学院生が50名います。
    B: ちなみに、そのうち女性は何割ぐらいですか。

「ところで」は、今まで話していた内容とは全然違うことを言うときに使います。でも、その新しい話は今まで話していたことから思いついた場合が多いです。

    「おかげさまで、こちらはみんな元気です。
    ところで、先日、そちらに品物を送ったんですが、もう届いていますか。」

The gist of which is: ちなみに would be introducing a new topic that is (however loosely) connected to the conversation so far, while ところで would be for absolute non-sequuntur.

However, as it also points out, ところで will often introduce a "new" subject that came to the speaker's mind because of the previous subject (and is therefore not all that disconnected).

Bottom line, they are pretty much interchangeable (but the nuance exists).

Note: make sure not to confuse ところで with its many variants (and their plentiful meanings): ところです, ところが etc.

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heys thanks for the help =D btw i don't get you when you say ところです, is there such a thing as ところです? –  Pacerier Jun 24 '11 at 18:20
    
@Pacerier: yes there is. For ex: 本を読んでいるところです。- But it is a completely different grammar point (and probably best left for another question). –  Dave Jun 25 '11 at 0:22
    
ok cool =D –  Pacerier Jun 25 '11 at 4:16

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