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I know, since they are of different word classes, 「なるほど」 {naruhodo} and  「やっぱり」 {yappari} may not be used interchangeably within the same sentence but can they be used within the same situation instead?

Does it make sense if the same person says the following two statements one after another?

やっぱりそうだったねえ。なるほど。

Or maybe the other way around

なるほど。やっぱりそうだったねえ。

Or are they mutually exclusive?

EDIT:

After reading answer from Derek, and after pondering on it for some time, I realized that what I actually wanted to ask also includes the following:

Are there any situations where we can use 「なるほど」 but not 「やっぱり」, or vice versa?

Sorry for the confusion.

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In this example, やっぱり functions as something like "as I thought" and shows that the speaker had a preexisting suspicion that a certain matter was indeed true. なるほど shows that a greater understanding of the surrounding context has been gained from the confirmation of the fact referred to by そう. So yes, it does make sense.

EDIT (for the updated question)

I can't think of any examples where なるほど could be swapped with やっぱり, or vice versa. In my mind, なるほど and やっぱり are in different categories. I have to partially disagree with one of Amanda's comments by pointing out that なるほど doesn't have the same "I should have guessed" meaning as やっぱり. It can, however, mean "That makes sense." なるほど merely shows that your mental picture of something (for instance, a course of events, the inner workings of a machine, or the reasoning leading to a certain conclusion) has been filled in by what you were just told. You wouldn't use なるほど when someone is stating a simple fact ("I like ice cream," "I'm not good at playing the piano," etc), but you would when that fact is part of a surrounding context through which the speaker intends to draw you to a greater understanding of the current topic of conversation.

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Dear sir, I've added additional question so if you would modify your answer to address the question, please? I'd benefit from having second opinion and also so that I can fairly choose to accept one of the two answers from you and Amanda. –  Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 8:23
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To answer your updated question, yes, there are situations where you could use one but not the other.

As Derek said, やっぱり is used when a fact was suspected and then confirmed. If you had no such previous suspicion, you would not use やっぱり.

Also, if the fact is negative (someone is failing out of school, has an STD, etc.), it can be rude to use やっぱり and admit that you suspected as much. なるほど is a more neutral response in this case.

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So, can we say なるほど is as neutral as "I see" in English, unlike the biased やっぱり? –  Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 4:46
    
It's not quite as neutral as そうですか, but much more neutral than やっぱり. –  Amanda S Jun 3 '11 at 5:04
    
You mean there is a little bit of suspicion in なるほど? And, in term of neutrality: そうですか > なるほど > やっぱり? >____< –  Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 5:08
    
Another thing, what do I use if what actually happens is the opposite of my previous suspicion? –  Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 5:11
    
Yeah, なるほど is a little bit like "oh, I should have guessed!" or "oh, that makes so much sense!" I wouldn't say it to someone's face if they told me something negative about themselves, but I might if I was hearing the news secondhand. –  Amanda S Jun 3 '11 at 5:12
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