1

I came upon this conversation:

A:「あ、あの・・・」

俺は、そこにいた役場の職員らしき人物にたずねた。

B:「はい、なにか・・・?」

A:「この辺で、サングラスをかけたクールな感じの女性、見かけませんでした?」

B:「さあ・・・?」

A:「さいですか。ども・・・」

B:「・・・・・・」

I went through the fifteen or so words listed in the edict dictionary for さい and only came up with rhinoceros which doesn't seem like a perfect fit.

I swear I've seen the exact same phrase in a manga too somewhere, but never paid attention to it enough to look it up.

It sounds like そうですか to me. Is that correct?

4

Try a monolingual dictionary next time; It will be far more helpful than the bilingual sources that are insanely popular among many J-learners. デジタル大辞泉 explains it as:

[形動{けいどう}]《「さよう」の音変化{おんへんか}》「さよう」のいく分{ぶん}ぞんざいな言{い}い方{かた}。「さいざんす」「さいです」

「さい」 is a slightly rough (or unrefined) way of saying 「さよう/左様」("indeed", "that's right", etc.)

「さいですか」 is actually pretty close to "Oh, I see." in feeling. Thus, it is also close to 「そうですか」 in meaning.

  • Thanks. I do use monolingual dictionaries, but require a starting point of some sort. When you are faced with six pages of results, it is kind of intimidating. – muser29925 May 14 '18 at 13:49
  • I understood from your Daijisen quote that the word's usage is limited: only used with the copula. Is that correct? – muser29925 May 14 '18 at 13:51
  • Weblio has an entry on さいですか here. – Micheal Gignac May 14 '18 at 16:17

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