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Responding unexpectedly with ‘sorega’ and ‘sorenanoni’.

by and

Special To The Japan Times

Sore-ga, kyū-na yōji-ga haitte-shimatta-sō-de, aenakatta-n-da. (Actually, I couldn’t see him because he had some urgent business to take care of.)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray talks to her colleague Mr. Mita.

グレイ: TK社に行ったんだってね。渡辺さんは元気だった?

三田: それが、急な用事が入ってしまったそうで、会えなかったんだ。

Gray: TK-sha-ni itta-n-datte-ne. Watanabe-san-wa genki-datta?

Mita: Sore-ga, kyū-na yōji-ga haitte-shimatta-sō-de, aenakatta-n-da.

Gray: I heard you went to TK Co. How was Mr. Watanabe?

Mita: Actually, I couldn’t see him because he had some urgent business to take care of.

Today we’ll introduce two conjunctions: それが and それなのに. それが is often used at the beginning of a spoken sentence to signal that the speaker is going to respond unexpectedly. Example: 「旅行(りょこう)の日程(にってい)、決(き)まった?」「それが、田中(たなか)さんから返事(へんじ)が来(こ)ないんだ」 (“Have you fixed our trip schedule?” “Actually, Ms. Tanaka hasn’t replied”). それが is also used when the speaker wants to add a detail that was unexpected to him/herself. Example:9時(くじ)には着(つ)くように電車(でんしゃ)の時間(じかん)を調(しら)べておいたんだ。それが、 電車の故障(こしょう)で、15分(じゅうごふん)も遅(おく)れてしまったんだよ (I’d checked the timetable to make sure I could get there by 9. But I ended up 15 minutes late because of a train breakdown).

Situation 2: Ms. Tamachi asks her colleague Mr. Sere about his trip to Hakone.

田町: 箱根は楽しかったでしょう。お天気はどうだった?

セレ: 朝はとてもいい天気だったんだよ。それなのに、 昼から急に雲行きがあやしくなって、雨に降られちゃった。

Tamachi: Hakone-wa tanoshikatta-deshō. O-tenki-wa dō-datta?

Sere: Asa-wa totemo ii tenki-datta-n-da-yo. Sorenanoni, hiru-kara kyū-ni kumoyuki-ga ayashiku-natte, ame-ni furarechatta.

Tamachi: I bet you enjoyed Hakone. How was the weather?

Sere: It was really good in the morning, but then suddenly the weather turned for the worse from noon, and we were caught in the rain.

それなのに, meaning “however” or “despite this,” is used in both spoken and written language. It conveys a feeling of surprise, regret, disappointment or criticism, as in Mr. Sere’s remark above. When communicating that something was unexpected, それなのに can be replaced with それが. Example: これからはもう遅刻(ちこく)しないと言(い)っていた。それなのに/それが、また遅 (おく)れるんだから (He said he wouldn’t be late again. Despite that, he was). それなのに isn’t usually used when answering questions or after confirmation.

Bonus Dialogue: At Mr. Okubo’s house. Family members are chatting about a day trip.

母: あさって何時(なんじ)ごろ、うちを出(で)るの?

父: それが…。

母: ええっ、行(い)けなくなっちゃったの?

たか子: 連休(れんきゅう)はみんな遊(あそ)びに行くんだよ。それなのに、うちはどこにも行けないなんてひどい。

父: 違(ちが)う、違う、そうじゃないよ。ただ、ネットで調(しら)べていたら、すごく道(みち)が混(こ)むらしいんだ。

たか子: じゃ、早(はや)く出発(しゅっぱつ)すればいいんでしょう?

父: それが、朝(あさ)の4時(よじ)ごろ出かけなきゃならないことがわかったんだ。

母: 4時!…のんびりするために遊びに行こうと思(おも)っていたんだよね。それなのに、そんなスケジュールじゃ、のんびりできないんじゃない?

たか子: 私(わたし)たち、いっしょうけんめいがんばって、のんびりするよ。だから、連(つ)れていって!

Mother: What time are we leaving the day after tomorrow?

Father: Actually …

Mother: What? Don’t tell me we’re not going.

Takako: Everybody goes places when they have consecutive holidays. But, how come we can’t go anywhere? That’s awful.

Father: No, no, It’s not that. It’s just that I checked online and it looks like the traffic will be terrible.

Takako: So we’ll just go earlier then, right?

Father: Well, it turns out we’d have to leave at 4 a.m.

Mother: Four o’clock! We’re meant to go and relax, but it sounds like that schedule won’t allow us to.

Takako: We’ll try hard to relax. So, please take us!