Anyway vs. whatever

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Jessila, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
    In a dialogue, a man resume the conversation after a small blank, saying:

    "Anyway, it's too noisy to discuss it here."

    I think the most common translation I've seen for "anyway" is "de toute façons", but here in this context, I would have easily translated it into :

    "Peu importe. Il y a trop de bruit pour discuter ici."

    Now, "peu importe" is usually the translation for "whatever", which brings my question:
    what difference do you make - in terms of meaning and use - between "anyway" and "whatever"?

    Thanks ^^
  2. AmericanCasey Member

    English - American
    In the sentence you are translating, "Anyway, it's too noisy to discuss it here," "whatever" wouldn't really work without sending a slightly negative, dismissive air.
  3. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    Anyway peut avoir le sens de "quoi qu'il en soit", whatever peut aussi rêvetir le même sens, mais le mot est un peu argotique. Une autre tournure, un peu pédante : "be it as it may".
  4. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
    American Casey > That's my point. The man saying that seems to have little consideration for the opinions of the person he was talking to, which seems to be the real reason to interrupt the conversation, rather than just the noise.
    The noise is very real alright, but I think he's satisfied with ending the discussion which also leaves him the final word.

    Now I've given you a little more context, am I wrong to think the choice of "anyway" here is more a question of register than of meaning?

    Aoyama > tu parles d'argot, donc toi aussi tu le ressens plus comme une différence de registre de langue alors ?
  5. Momerath Senior Member

    British English
    "Anyway" or "in any case". On the other hand I would avoid this particular use of "whatever" like the plague.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  6. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Le registre est plus informel, certes, mais sans ambiguïté whatever porte un jugement négatif ; anyway peut être neutre selon le contexte.
  7. Squiggle

    Squiggle Senior Member

    Savoie, France
    English - UK
    You can't use "whatever" here without making it two sentences: Whatever (dismissing the person's opinion which apparently he's not interested in). It's too noisy to discuss it in here." In this form the "whatever" is really pretty rude and dismissive.
    Otherwise it would have to be something like "Whatever your opinion, it really is...."
    "Anyway" is often used as a way of finishing a conversation: "Anway, I've got to get on with watching paint dry." I think it is a good choice given the context as you have explained it.
    You could also use "In any case ...." which would mean whatever the merits of the person's arguments, there is another impediment.
  8. AmericanCasey Member

    English - American
    Yes, if you want your guy to be extremely rude, use "whatever." "Whatever" in its traditional sense, such as in "whatever you might think," or "whatever choice you make," is a totally different animal than this kind of teenage use that has spread everywhere and indicates a total dismissal of the line of discussion or the person.
  9. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    You should note that the word "anyway" is also often used dismissively, in just the same way that "whatever" is. The word choice here is probably generational. A grown-up is more likely to use "anyway" while the young have beaten 'whatever' to death and beyond. The same holds true for "In any case," which can be voiced with thinly veiled disdain as easily as any other subject-changer.

    Are you telling me a proper snob can't make an insult out of "De toute façons ..."? I find that hard to believe.

    OH ... and Aoyama, the phrase is "be that as it may ... "
  10. AmericanCasey Member

    English - American
    ah, good point, mgarizona.
  11. Momerath Senior Member

    British English
    I'm sure a proper French snob could make an insult out of practically anything. "De toute façons" at least has the merit of ambiguity, as does "anyway", although either one could be "voiced with thinly veiled disdain". On the other hand, "whatever!" always sounds rude and dismissive to me.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  12. Jessila

    Jessila Senior Member

    France, french
    Thank you all for your very interesting insights ^^
    You just misunderstood a little my motivation here but it doesn't really matter... I am not currently trying to write this dialogue in English... I am translating it from English to French...
    In my translation I was tempted to use "Peu importe" for "Anyway", and it got me wondering what difference there really was between "anyway" and "whatever" in English ;)

    But you cleared things up really well and I think I'm going to use "Quoi qu'il en soit" for my translation... because obviously there's too much difference between "anyway" and "whatever" for me to take the liberty of interpreting the author's meaning by using "peu importe" ^^

    mgarizona > you used an idiom I've never heard or read before, and I think I'm gonna open a new thread for it ^^
  13. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    right, though I recall having heard "be it ...", my mistake probably.
    is good for "anyway" or "whatever" (depending on context), with a slight colloquial nuance (found in "whatever").
  14. snowyau Member

    Sydney, Australia
    English - Australian, Mandarin, Cantonese
    Sorry to reopen this discussion - I was actually looking up the same thing.

    To clarify: in English, the words "whatever" and "anyway" are used as interjections.

    They don't mean anything specific, but can have several meanings, mostly to imply or convey emotion.

    For example, in the dictionary here, I found that "whatever" is translated to "si tu veux" - As in "You want to go swimming? Whatever"

    But that's only one use of "whatever".

    My question is: Are there any such interjections in French? (They don't have to be equivalents.)

    For example, in speech (on French news) I notice that people interject a lot with the word "donc". (therefore?)

    I would think "donc" has an sort of equivalence to "anyway" in English, though they don't mean the same thing.

    Am I on the right track?

    edit: thank you google... I found this:

    in particular "çà":çà
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  15. Squiggle

    Squiggle Senior Member

    Savoie, France
    English - UK
    I would say the French use the word "Bref" in a similar way to our use of "anyway" as a way of ending a topic of conversation and moving on to something else.
  16. WordRef1 Senior Member

    California, USA
    English - America
    -- For example, in the dictionary here, I found that "whatever" is translated to "si tu veux" - As in "You want to go swimming? Whatever" --
    I would just like to say that this IS the meaning of the word whatever. It means, I don't care. It doesn't matter to me. Ça m'est égal. ?? However, some people are so used to hearing it used in such a perhaps sarcastic way that they think it means nearly the opposite - the "interjection" form. So, it depends on the context and the inflection of the voice. It's not really possible to ask about "anyway" as in the start of this thread or similarly "whatever" without sufficient understanding of context.
    Et, la phrase est "be THAT as it may". Edit: oops. obviously didn't see that was already corrected
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  17. Aoyama Senior Member

    川崎市、巴里 (黎)
    français Clodoaldien
    Right, see # 9.

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