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how often is さ used as a filler like our “like”? is it very common?

for example, could i say 「私さスタバへさ行ったさ…」?

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    It sounds a good deal unnatural and a bit airhead-like, and people may not immediately understand what you're saying, but once it's understood to be a quirk in speech, I suppose people could begin to understand you... I don't know that I'd ever speak that way on purpose, though. – psosuna May 13 at 23:40
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First, your example, 私さスタバへさ行ったさ, sounds funny because:

  • 行った is a 終止形, so attaching a filler after it sounds weird. True sentence-end さ exists, but it has a different function and tone. さ in 行っさ works as a filler.
  • You normally need a comma after each filler.
  • さ is relatively masculine, and it's most commonly used with 俺.

After fixing them, something like this would look much better:

俺さ、昨日さ、スタバにさ、行ってさ、アイスコーヒーをさ、頼んでさ、それでさ、…

This sentence is still unrealistic, but it's simply because there are too many fillers. It's for showing where and how you can insert the filler naturally.

So, how common is this type of さ in reality? It's a bit hard question to me. I believe young people in Kanto (especially "charai" ones who like to hang around in Shibuya or Harajuku) use it a lot, but I spent my childhood in several western parts of Japan where either な or の was the most common filler. I now live in Tokyo, but I rarely hear さ in my daily life, at least partly because most people around me are businesspersons, researchers or otaku who tend to prefer ね.

  • The さ which comes after アイスコーヒーを strikes me as slightly less natural/common than the other ones (although still possible), even if it is the only one in the sentence. Maybe because it’s unlikely to need to fill time when you’ve already provided the object, since you’d have needed to have had the verb in mind already for that... Or is it because it’s later in the sentence...? – Darius Jahandarie May 14 at 2:39
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narutos answer (as usually) seems to be the best you may get.

About the realistic usage of さ as a filler: I've been living in the rural North-Kanto (North-Saitama and Gunma) for the lasts two years and I could experience frequent use of さ as a filler by each males AND females of all ages. Even though it makes the women sound more mascular it is really not uncommon here in Gunma.

As psosuna stated though I really would not try to learn or use it on purpose. Me for myself always try to keep the language as clean as possible but recently using さ in some cases just became natural.

TLDR: It is used more frequently in some parts of Japan than in others. You should not try and aim for using it by yourself since it may become a bad habit which might be hard to stop with.

  • would なんか be a better alternative? – jacoballens May 16 at 13:14

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