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Forgive me if this is a bit anecdotal, but I often hear a sentence pattern in speech which basically is of the form "[statement]...is what I would/want to say, but..." I usually hear this when the speaker is trying to lead the listener on as a joke or to be sarcastic. It sort of sounds like 「...て何と...」, but I can't be sure. There's a definite pause between the first expression and the て何-whatever I hear afterwards.

EDIT: An example might be helpful. "You're really funny...is what I'd like to say." Possibly followed with an explanation: "You're really funny...is what I'd like to say, but I just can't lie."

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Wow. Downvoting a first-time question without explanation is harsh. We should be encouraging questions, and explaining how people can improve where necessary. –  ジョン Apr 20 '12 at 1:07
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I can only guess, maybe you are thinking of っていうか・っつぅか・ちゅうか. –  Jesse Good Apr 20 '12 at 2:40
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@Jesse. Perhaps a couple of fully constructed example sentences with corresponding English parsing to your suggestions would make for an answer to this question. –  Flaw Apr 20 '12 at 7:29
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@ジョン Thank you for saying this. I think unexplained down-voting is one of, if not the most discouraging behaviors we have on our little fledgling site... –  silvermaple Apr 22 '12 at 20:45
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I've started upvoting at random. We need more questions, not harsher restrictions! –  Kdansky Apr 23 '12 at 9:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Is it perhaps "nanchatte"?

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Maybe this is what I was thinking of. Is there another way to say this? Maybe I've heard a different form of it. Either way, it fits exactly with that I was looking for. –  LucasTizma Apr 25 '12 at 17:53
    
Variations of this one include "nanchitte" and "nantsutte", if that helps... –  Matt Apr 25 '12 at 20:54

‥‥‥と言いたいところですが、 seems very close to the literal English you've provided, and the pause is present and correct, but I'm not sure it can be used sarcastically, and it doesn't sound at all like it begins て何と. I thought I'd post it anyway since this question isn't getting any answers.

Example sentence from ひぐらしのなく頃に:

「圭一くん、今日はお疲れなのかな? かな?」
「俺は元気だぞ~。‥‥‥といいたいところだが、すまん。かなり眠い‥‥‥」

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The more informal "tte iitai ga" would be my guess. Another one could be "tte iou to (omotta ga)", i.e. "... or so I thought of saying, but...". They don't sound like "te nanto", but if that is the meaning I can't think of anything else, because nanchatte and similar words are used like "just kidding" or "it's a joke" or "LOL!"... even the voice tone is the same, and I don't think they could be confused... –  Kokoroatari Feb 20 '13 at 3:59

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