I work in a group where I am the only person that does not speak Chinese, thus I hear Chinese conversations all day every day.
I've noticed that there's a word which is used extremely frequently, in almost every sentence, sometimes 2 - 3 times per sentence.
It sounds like "nicka" or "nigah"... two syllables, "ni", "nig", or "nic" is the first and then "ah" or "uh" is the 2nd.
I heard one person explain it once offhand to another English speaker in the office as meaning "something", "that", or "that thing right there", but I'm not sure how good of an explanation that was. I was wondering if you could tell me what the word is and how you'd describe its usage?
Without having any real idea of what it means, it almost seems to me like it's being used like the word "uh" in English (like "I want to you pull that data and uh, then make a PowerPoint showing the summary and uh..."). I've taken some very basic Chinese on Coursera.org and via Pimsluer tapes, but neither explained this to my knowledge.
Update: I tried speaking this word into the speech-to-translation part of the Google Translate iPhone app and one time it came out as "That one" and one time it came out as "Your".