A Japanese expression. It means many things in many different situations from an expression of sympathy, an insincere condolence, a way to avoid having to be impolite and say no, to a mutter about the day.

Basically, "this is difficult..."

Romanized in JSL as "soo desu ne", this is a Japanese expression of confirmation. It corresponds roughly to "isn't it" in English and maybe "n'est-ce pas" in French. It indicates a weak agreement with a statement by another person, such as in the following exchanges:

Ii o-tenki desu ne.
-- Soo desu nee.
Nice weather today, eh?
-- (Yes, it is,) isn't it.

Kono kanji wa yomenai desu kedo...
-- "Kuukoo" no "kuu" desu ne.
Soo desu ne.
-- Sore wa muzukashii desu ne.
Soo desu ne.

I can't read this kanji, but...
-- It's "KUU" as in "KUUKOO" (airport), isn't it...
(Yes, it is, )isn't it.
-- That one is difficult, isn't it.
(Yeah, it is,) isn't it.

Ne is a sentence-final particle that acts as a confirmation seeker. Oddly, Japanese soo is roughly the same as English so in meaning, although it is sometimes used differently. Please see these particles for more information.

Note that soo desu ne is different from soo desu ka and soo desu yo, and entirely different from soo desu, depending on the context.

Japanese script (just hiragana):
そうですね
Japanese script with word breaks:
そう.です.ね
International Phonetic Alphabet
/soo.desɯ̥.ne/
Hepburn:
sõ desu ne

そう () is a pronoun referring to something abstract that is (in an abstract sense) near to the listener. One translation might be "that" in the context of "that's a good idea", although this sentence is usually translated as "(that is) so, isn't it", with so referring to そう (the subject is omitted in this sentence).

です (desu) is the polite form of the copula (だ/da is the plain form), so translates simply as "is" or "be".

ね (ne) is a particle (助詞/joshi) used at the end of a sentence to indicate a request of confirmation like "..., right?" or "..., isn't it?" but doesn't really necessitate confirmation.

So from a purely syntactical analysis we could translate the phrase as "that's so, isn't it?" and tends to be used for agreement. However, it is used in other contexts that this definition wouldn't suggest. As I learnt only a few weeks ago, it is also used with a meaning of "hmm, let me see" in some contexts, and probably has a few more meanings I don't recall or haven't yet come across.

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