sou desu ka

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by q_006, May 12, 2008.

  1. q_006 Senior Member

    US and English
    When someone says "sou desu ka" or "sou desu" as a response what exactly does it mean? It seems different than what's been explained above.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2008
  2. notnotchris

    notnotchris Senior Member

    U.S.A., English
    That is different, q_006 (perhaps a different thread?).

    "Sou desu ka" means "Is that so?" or "Really?"
    The response, "Sou desu" means "That is so" or "Yes, really".
  3. q_006 Senior Member

    US and English
    (I can't make links but this based off of the -sou desu thread)

    Based on that thread, sou desu = That is so. So I'm curious to know if sou (japanese) actually means so (english). If not, what does it mean literally?
  4. akimura

    akimura Senior Member

    "Sou" as in "そうですか (Sou desu ka)" is equal to "so" as in "Is that so?" It's quite surprising there's a word that sounds the same, means the same, and is probably not a denizen from one language to the other, in both of the totally unrelated languages.

    A little off the topic, but I remember someone, either British or French, was saying "Ah, so?" in English, which sounds surprisingly Japanese and surely makes Japanese people surprised, like "Does he/she understand Japanese?". because we say "ああ、そう?(Ah, sou?)" probably in the same context as well.
  5. notnotchris

    notnotchris Senior Member

    U.S.A., English
    If you know the words kore, sore, are (this, that, that over there)
    as well as koko, soko, asoko (here, there, over there)
    Then you may better understand so, since it belongs to the trio ko, so, a (in this way, in that way, in that (other) way)

    Note that ko, so, and a are all long vowels

    Taken in the right context, so does mean 'so' in English. Be careful though since the English word 'so' has many meanings. The one that so translates to is

    "Is that so?" (so desu ka?).
  6. sekaijuuni Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    United States, English
    You can technically translate it as "Is that so?" or "Really?" but don't take that to mean that people are constantly questioning the legitimacy of your claims. More practically, it's like, "Uh-huh. I am listening to your story."
  7. holasunshine Member

    Maybe I'm a bit out of context, but about what akimura was saying,
    But I think those similarities are interesting.
    I was thinking that my german friends say "Ach so", that sound like the japanes "ah
    sou" and have a similar meaning too.
    (It will be "Ah bon" in french)

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