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I have often heard this phrase 「そりゃあまぁ、ねえ?」from my understanding そりゃあまぁ is = そりゃ = それは which means "That is" or "very/extremely". ねえ implies that the speaker is looking for some sort of agreement from the listener.

Going by this 「そりゃあまぁ、ねえ?」could mean "that is [the case], is it not?" or the one that sounds less likely "extremely, right?"

So Is the above an accurate translation? Or is 「そりゃあまぁ、ねえ?」 some sort of colloquialism I don't know about?

  • sort of like "Yeah, you know.." (perhaps) – Yosh Jan 7 '17 at 3:24
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  • Yes そりゃ means "that's" in this context. それは/そりゃあ is often used at the beginning of a sentence, like an interjection, to indicate the speaker is trying to give some explanation (≒ "Well, that is to say, ...", "Er... that's...")
  • まあ is like "you know" or "well", and used before saying something unexpected, unimportant or something the listener may already understand. It makes the statement softer.
  • ねえ is like "... huh?", "... isn't it?" or "you know?" used to show a positive response is expected.

Put together, そりゃまあねえ can imply something like "Oh, that was .... expected", "Um, yeah, why not?", "Well...that's because...don't you know?", depending on the context. Basically, the speaker cannot (or doesn't want to) say something clearly, but wants the listener to understand what he/she is going to say at the same time.

Example:

A: あの人のことが嫌いなの? どうして?
B: そりゃまあ、ねえ…

B doesn't want to state the reason explicitly, but is expecting A would guess it.

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speaker:「僕は、ピカソと同じくらい絵が上手でしょう?」"I'm very good at drawing as Picasso is, am I?"

Listener:「そりゃあまぁ、ねえ?」That's true (but partially not totally).

「そりゃあまぁ、ねえ?」means display an understanding of the speaker's idea, but at the sametime taking a gentle approach to question it.

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