Everyday, I use the word “anyway” in English and I really wish I knew how to say it in Chinese. I’ve had considerable trouble tracking down a Chinese word/phrase that can be used the same way we use “anyway/anyhow” in English.
The ways we use “anyway” as a kind of sentence starter in English are:
- To end a topic and move on to a new one. For example, at the end of a story about the milk truck we might say, “…the milk truck finally rolled away. Anyway, do you teach tomorrow?” (This “anyway” is often accompanied by a sigh.)
- To return to a previous topic after a digression. For example, if I’m talking about the milk truck and suddenly my story wanders off to my new computer, to get back to the milk truck story I would say, “…my new computer. Anyway, the milk truck driver had this red hat…” (This is really along the same vein as number one in this list.)
- To mean, “regardless.” For example, if I’m not sure whether I’ll be free to play ping pong tonight, I could explain the different things in my schedule that might interfere. Then I would say, “Anyway, I’ll call you when I know more.”
There may be even more uses of “anyway” in English but those are the three that come to mind.
I’ve asked a number of informants how to say “anyway” in Chinese and it seems that you have to choose the function from the list above, and use a different word/phrase depending on the situation.
For example, for function 1 above, they might say:
For function 2 (and maybe 1 also) they might just say:
For function 3, they might say:
- fǎnzhèng 反正 = anyway / anyhow / in any case
- bùguǎn zěnme yàng 不管怎么样 = regardless of what happens / of what is
Does anyone have any insight into the problem of saying “anyway” in Chinese?