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ああ、連中の考えることときたらおまえ、まともじゃない。わしらとは人種が違う。
Ah, when it comes to how these folk think, you're decent aren't you?. They're a different kind of people from us.

This is a response to being asked whether a plan will work. I'm confused about the おまえ、まともじゃない part.

The people in the discussion pride themselves on being decent, so translating おまえ、まともじゃない as "you are not decent" would not make sense. It would make sense if おまえ could mean 'they' but I doubt that is the case.

My best guess is that じゃない is rhetorical, and that the phrase means "you're decent aren't you?". Of course I could be way off.

If I'm right, it got me wondering. Would a fluent speaker instantly see this as rhetorical, or would it trip them up and require them to re-read the passage a couple of times like I had to?

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    In speech, you can also distinguish the "is not" sense of じゃない via its pitch accent (LHL).
    – jogloran
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 16:27
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    BTW ああ at the beginning may be "Yup" or "Indeed" if this is a response to a question.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 18:13
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    A character who talks like this, by the way, would normally use ~じゃないか or ~ではないか rather than ~じゃない, which can sound somewhat soft
    – Angelos
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 20:47

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This is not a rhetorical question. This おまえ is not the subject of まともじゃない but is working like "you know", "mind you" or "listen". The basic meaning of this sentence is:

連中の考えることときたらまともじゃない。
When it comes to how these folks think, it's not sane.

Similar examples:

  • それはあなた、当然でしょう?
    Hey that's only natural, isn't it?
  • そりゃお前…。
    It's, well, you know, ...
  • 北海道といえば君、旅行はどうだった?
    Speaking of Hokkaido, how was your trip?

These あなた/おまえ/君 are not subjects but just "(hey) you".

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  • Well, I would never have guessed that. I'm now wondering about the previous sentence which I kind of glossed over: でもあなた、そんなことでうまくいくかしら. Is this あなた (which seemed weird to me at the time) doing a similar thing? Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 19:55
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    @user3856370 Yes, this あなた seems to be the same.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 3:12

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