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There seems to be an endless supply of Japanese words and phrases that translate to "somehow" or "anyhow" in English. It's difficult, at least with J-E dictionaries, to understand the nuances of each variation. If you had to break these up into categories, how would you do it?

迚も斯くても

如何かこうか

兎や角

兎も角も

兎も角

兎もあれ

兎に角

兎にも角にも

何分にも

何分

何処やら

何処とも無く

何処かしら

何れにしろ

何れにしても

何らかの形で

何にせよ

何にしろ

何にしても

何とやら

何とはなしに

何となし

何とか

何せ

何しろ

何かの拍子

何かしら

どの道

どうやらこうやら

どうやら

どうにかして

どうにかこうにか

どうでも

どうせ

どうかした

どうか

どういう訳か

とりま

ともあれかくもあれ

とまれかくまれ

いずれ

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  • 1
    Wow, interesting question. I hope someone has the time to address all of these phrases, but I fear we may be disappointed. It might help if you could narrow the scope a little. May 17 '20 at 18:13
  • I narrowed the scope to breaking them down into categories as opposed to explaining each and every one of them. May 17 '20 at 18:39
  • I was just thinking about this the other day. Really hope you get a detailed reply on this. May 17 '20 at 19:09
  • 1
    Welcome to JL, some of the words are not meaning anyhow or somehow, e.g. 何処かしら close to somewhere 'irgendwo' or not related どうか 'bitte'
    – user34216
    May 17 '20 at 23:56
  • 1
    Did you just list up everything you found in the dictionary?
    – hasen
    Dec 11 '20 at 13:50
4

Wow, lots of words with a wide variety of different meanings.

My mental picture of "somehow" is that there is this complex mechanism (how) that led to the outcome seemingly disconnected from the input and the speaker is trying to keep that a blackbox either because they don't know that mechanism or don't want to talk about it.

"Anyhow" to me is a means to cut the train of thoughts, or jump a little to somewhere that doesn't naturally follow. Or generally emphasize the disconnect between the input and the outcome.

Thinking more about it, my feeling is that these English words (and others, such as whatever and anyway) all generally introduce some gap in a train of thoughts, their difference is fuzzier, and different people use them differently. It's like shades of grey.

With that eyes, when I look at the long list, a few axis of classifications come to mind:

  • Fog of 5W1H: Some words create a fog in "where" (e.g., 何処かしら), some in "who" (誰ともなし), "how" or causality (どうにか, なんとか), "when" (いつのまにか, 何かの拍子), and so on
  • Level of formality: more formal words that tend to get used in the written form (e.g., ともあれかくもあれ, 何分, 何らか) vs less form words for speech (とにかく, どうか, なにせ)
  • Rhyming attachments: Many of those words can accompany rhyming words to carry more emphasis. どうにか+こうにか, なんとか+かんとか, とあれ+かくあれ, なんでも+かんでも

Hope that helps!

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