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I would like to know the correct (colloquial) word for "somehow".

For example, I want to say

"I've been feeling out of it somehow lately".

Which will be something like

"最近(なんだか?)ぼーっとしてる"

Or I want to say,

"I saw you reacted (to this) somehow".

which would be something like

"なんだか反応したと思った"

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  • @eltonjohn So when I want to refer to the past, it's not 反応したようだった but rather 反応したようだ? eltonjohnってすごく勉強になりますよ^^ Jun 29, 2015 at 11:55
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    The やら in なにやら is a 副助詞(adverbial particle). >> goo辞書「やら」. 何やら is listed as a 副詞(adverb) on goo辞書「なにやら」
    – Chocolate
    Jun 29, 2015 at 15:37

2 Answers 2

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最近なんだかぼーっとしてる is excellent.

I would say なにやら反応したようだね for "I saw you reacted (to this) somehow". (Actually, どうやら is a better translation for "somehow" alone, but どうやら反応したようだね sounds more of "Looks like you reacted" than "you reacted somehow".

何{なに}やら is an adverb formed by なに + やら. I can't give you the exact grammatical explanation for やら, but it helps to add "vagueness", "haziness", "obscurity", "uncertainty", etc.

やられる is the passive form of やる. やる corresponds to "to do" in the very general sense (or if you know Latin, it corresponds to "agere".)

反応したようだった vs 反応したようだ This is hard to explain. I have the impression that 反応したようだった corresponds to "looked to have reacted" and 反応したようだ corresponds to "looks to have reacted".

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  • Thank you so much! I'm sorry for the late reply. If I wanted to tell the person that because I saw him react I looked it up on the internet which would be more correct: なにやら反応したようだったので、少しインターネットで調べて(。。。rest of sentence) or would it be more correct to say なにやら反応したようなんので、少しインターネットで調べて(。。。rest of sentence)? Jul 8, 2015 at 11:21
  • @user213845: I would write なにやら反応したようなので instead of なにやら反応したようなんので.
    – eltonjohn
    Jul 8, 2015 at 11:24
  • Ah, that's subtle! ^^ Thank you so much. I'm talking to the person face to face so I won't have to write it. Well, if I ever mention this to him... It's very confusing to me that I shouldn't use the past tense だった here. I will just memorise this particular situation-sentence combination instead of trying to infer a general rule.... Jul 8, 2015 at 11:30
  • Well, that is a very touchy question and I am afraid I might write something offensive. That said, if you are male and that someone is female (or vice versa) I bet the latter to be the case: the Japanese understand that it is natural for couples to hold hands, but it is not extremely encouraged to do so in public.
    – eltonjohn
    Jul 8, 2015 at 11:55
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A couple of possible alternatives to @eltonjohn's answers are なぜか, なんとなく, and どういうわけか.

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