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何でも薄暗いじめじめした所でニャーニャー泣いていた事だけは記憶している。

はてな何でも容子【ようす】がおかしいと、のそのそ這【は】い出して見ると非常に痛い。

Doesn't make too much sense to me. Can someone explain please? (the sentences are not related to each other)

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  • The sentences are from I Am a Cat. It was published in 1905. Oct 5 at 9:45

2 Answers 2

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The first なんでも is an adverb that roughly means "from what I recall/gather/heard", "if I remember correctly". It's used as a hedge when you say something from an unreliable source/memory. Here are what dictionaries say:

  • あいまいな記憶や他人から聞いた話など、判断の不確かなさま。また、そのような場合に発することば。たしか。聞くところでは。
    (精選版日本国語大辞典)
  • よくはわからないが。どうやら。「何でも近く結婚するらしい」
    (デジタル大辞泉)
  • 《多く、下に「…らしい」「…そうだ[ようだ]」「…という(ことだ)」などの語を伴って》その情報が不確かな記憶や伝聞に基づく意を表す。確か。「何でも無事だったらしい」「何でも明日来るとかいうことだ」
    (明鏡国語辞典)

The second なんでも seems to mean いくらなんでも/なにがなんでも ("no matter how (you look at it)") in this context, but なんでも is not used in this sense today.

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(The excellent) 日本語文型辞典 by くろし gives the two following use cases for 何でも.

  1. 何でも好きなものを注文してください。 -> どんなことでも どのようなものでも すべて whatever
  2. 何でも彼女はもうすぐ仕事を辞めるそうです。 -> 後ろに[らしい・そうだ]などの伝聞(rumor)を表す表現を伴って、人から聞いた内容をあまり確信を持たずに伝える @naruto's main meaning.

But I don't see how this second meaning works in either of your sentences. Semantically it doesn't work, and grammatically it doesn't work because no そうだ-like closure is appended. So I would go for the " whatever" meaning of the construct.

何でも薄暗いじめじめした所でニャーニャー泣いていた事だけは記憶している。

"In every dark humid place they (I?) were miawing, is all I can remember." is my best guess.

To understand your second sentence, a key element is from HiNative, on the same sentence. Indeed, はてな is the question mark symbol, so はてな何でも様子 is "question mark like shape"/"a shape like a question mark, or whatever"/"a twisted shape".

This twisted shape is weird/uncomfortable/funny, so [they] sluggishly/slowly try and creep [their] way out only to feel extreme pain.

Would that fit with the context?

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