Translation:I am not sure.
Yeah it seems almost like the difference would be most similar to how intonation is used in English. さあ and じゃあ mean the same thing, but the latter would be more like someone who knows what to do and adds a filler word, while the former is uncertain about what to do and adds a filler word.
Same principle with 'chotto'. Japanese people really do their best not to sound offensive. So they often leave blanks on their sentences. It is up to the listener to interpret what message they are trying to send.
For example, "Do you want to have lunch with me?". They will often reply with " ima wa chotto" or "now is a little bit...". They say this to sound less offensive. I am no expert, i just came across this during my studies.
I think the translation that makes the most sense in regards to this word is "well" when not used for it's definition, much like a filler word would be. Think about how well is used in relation to how さあ is.
"Do you know where it is?" "Well...." (indication of uncertainty)
"Well? Come on, let's go." (indication of impatience)
I've seen さあ used like this for both of these scenarios.
さあ Is more of a pondering word rather than Duolingo's translation. It does not literally mean this. It is a word you use when thinking or wondering about something someone has said. I would even dare to translate it to something similar to 'hm' (a questioning sound). Does anyone else feel this way too?
さあ on it's own is "I'm not sure" or "Who knows." It's like a word for when you shrug. Of course, the tonality would matter in the context. It's more さあー .
さあ、行きましょう Together with a word/verb, it gives more context. This is the positive tonality, taking on "Come on" or "Well", or "Then". I guess it's like a contraction of それじゃあ which is "well then".
You can't really translate さあ without a context as it can mean different things. This is a bad choice of question.
さあ Conjunction 1. come; come now; come along; go on; hurry up 2. well; who knows; I don't know...; uh; hmm 3. well now; let's see; there we go; all rightsaid when surprised or happy 4. about that; you see Other forms さー、さぁ
The male pronunciation in this one is pretty funny. In real life, the pitch is more flat or slightly downwards trending. It sound very similar to how an English speaker might say "ahhh" unenthusiastically in response to something they didn't know before but starting with the "s" consonant sound. I hope that makes sense!
I don't think ''I'm not sure'' is a good main translation for さあ when it's typically like when you're about to go / suggest somewhere or change a subject. Like in an English speaking situation taking a deep breath and saying ''well...'' before getting up. I have only been studying four years outside of DL but I don't ever see さあ used for ''I'm not sure'' unless maybe followed by わかんない / わからん / わからない / わかりません.
Because goofy sentences or scary sentences get people to remember. They can still help you learn the language. This is bad for the wrong reasons. It's bad because it does not convey in any way how to use the language well. It just creates a headache while learning. If you're into Krashen, you could say it could create a high affective filter.