7

what does

ではないか

mean in the sentence below? And can someone please translate it?

耳に馴染みのない方も多いのではないかと思いますが、 (after that he explains the word)....

8

A は B ではないか is asking "isn't A (=) B?", and here used as a (stylized) rhetorical question, i.e. meaning "I think that A is B".

Since A と思いますが is "I think that A, but ...", we are also dealing with a an ellipsis (assuming you're quoting the whole sentence).

In any case, both figures of speech are very commonly used in Japanese.

Unfortunate for a straight-forward translation is that basically both parts translate to "I think that". In English, we can try to translate it like

耳に馴染みのない方も多いの ではないか¹ と思いますが ²
I think that a number of people might¹ not be familiar with [this] ²

  • 2
    If you consider the quotative particle と as literal quotation marks, you can get a grammatical translation that's pretty literal: I think, "Are not many people not familiar with [this]?" but [...] (Edit: It's worth noting that I don't actually think this is a good translation) – rintaun Jul 24 '14 at 23:22

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