I came upon this conversation:








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?


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:


「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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