In British English, a common way of expressing a polite request for a person to repeat what they just said because you didn't hear (all) of it is to use the interjection, "sorry?". I was wondering how common this is outside of British English. Is this as common in the US, Australia, etc.? Would it be understood as a perfectly normal thing to say, or as a quaint British expression?
The NOAD reports the following entry for sorry:
used as a polite request that someone should repeat something that one has failed to hear or understand: "Sorry? In case I what?"
It is not marked as being chiefly British. In ten years I have visited the USA, I have heard sorry being used when somebody didn't hear or understand what somebody else said.
I've lived in both the UK and the US and my anecdotal experience is that "sorry" is very much more common in the UK than the US. It sounds very British to my ear. In the US "excuse me?" or "huh?" are considerably more commonly used to serve this purpose.
However, as the saying goes, data is not the plural of anecdote.
I live in the U.S. and I use "sorry" by itself to mean exactly as you stated. More often than not I'm met with a confused look and I have to continue, "I didn't hear that, could you repeat it?" So saying sorry by itself may not be too commonly understood in the U.S.
Disclaimer: I also use other British words and, after having studied in England for a year, found that the things deemed as quirks in the U.S. are seen as normal in England. My use of sorry may not be the norm in the U.S.