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what is なんて ?

Jackyquah

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what is なんて ?
can someone explain it in detail or give some reference in web that explain it in detail ?
I often find that word in manga, etc. I read dictionary but I still cannot understand it's meaning.
here is one example found in manga:
なんて言うと思った
 

killerinsidee

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なんて has a lot of meanings, depending on the context. It can be used to put an emphasis on the preceding word/sentence (a large range of feelings; positive or negative), it can add a derogatory tone, it can be used in a self-deprecating/humbling way, etc.
なんか is very similar, but it can be only used with nouns. You've probably heard that one a lot as well. Sometimes in colloquial speech, it can be used as a "filler word", similar to how "like" is used in English.
Those two expressions are grouped with/compared to など, which is the exemplification marker. However, なんて/なんか are more informal and they put much more emphasis on contempt, belittling, etc.
If you search around the net, you'll find tons of similar topics like this one and quite a few "learners sites" explaining this, but from my experience it's better to take them with a grain of salt.

Without context, trying to figure out「なんて言うと思った」would be guesswork. Check the context and see if you can figure out what kind of emotion the speaker is trying to express.

You'll get a better feel of it with continuous exposure, just keep an eye out on how and when it's used. Context is key.
 
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Jackyquah

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なんて has a lot of meanings, depending on the context. It can be used to put an emphasis on the preceding word/sentence (a large range of feelings; positive or negative), it can add a derogatory tone, it can be used in a self-deprecating/humbling way, etc.
Is there any hints how to translate なんて?
because it's vary meaning, I didn't know how to translate なんて in every sentence with that word. There is many example of なんて in my dictionary, but it's context seems always difference or I cannot link it with the one that I need to translate.
I can't understand it.
 

killerinsidee

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Is there any hints how to translate なんて?
Not really, it is used to add emphasis or connotation, it's not really translatable. You can maybe get away with translating it as "(someone) like you" when talking down on someone, but that's not always the case. I would compare it to sentence ending particles which just add a certain flavor/tone to the sentence. It's one of those things that are lost in translation. However, it is possible to do an interpretation which is closer to English.
Example from alc - 「おまえなんて知るか。」"The heck with you." Obviously those words don't literally mean that, but the translation conveys the intended meaning.
 
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Roughly speaking, なんて (without further context) means 'such a'. (Like, なんて言うことか->'how can you say such a thing'). I couldn't really clearly define 'such a', and I can't really clearly define 'なんて', but they have a similar feel. Such an ambiguous term that adds a certain feeling to a sentence of course, tends to vary widely in the exact words used in natural translation depending on the context. Many likely なんて translations will be along the lines of 'some such'/'such a'/'or whatnot'/'or such'/'the like'/'such like' etc, etc.

Understanding なんて and translating it are somewhat different things. You can get the feel for it without figuring out how to translate it in any given situation, and most of the time I don't even care to think about how to translate it, I just care how it affects the 'feeling' of a sentence. (In any case, any given 'なんて' sentence can likely be translated multiple ways just because it is a term that has more 'feeling' than 'meaning'.)
 

lanthas

 
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I'd say the best way to get a feeling for the meanings of なんて is to look at a lot of example sentences (warning: horrid site layout, but it covers a lot of use cases).
 
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killerinsidee

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Many likely なんて translations will be along the lines of 'some such'/'such a'/'or whatnot'/'or such'/'the like'/'such like' etc, etc.
I agree with that, but I feel like hanging on translations like that can be misleading sometimes , especially when checking some examples from dictionaries or sites.
For example - 「あんな男の下で働くなんてごめんだね.」 "There's no way I'd work for a man like him." Going by that translation, you would assume that なんて (or なんか) is written after あんな男, while it's actually emphasizing 働く or that whole preceding clause. The translations are usually adjusted in order to sound better in English.
 

Toritoribe

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here is one example found in manga:
なんて言うと思った
As for your example なんて言うと思った, なんて is either "what" in "What did you think I/he/she would say?" or for quotation of the word/phrase/sentence preceding it "Did you think I/he/she would say (something like) ~?" The former is an euphonic change of なに(=何)と, whereas the latter is from など(=等)とて.
 

Jackyquah

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I'd say the best way to get a feeling for the meanings of なんて is to look at a lot of example sentences (warning: horrid site layout, but it covers a lot of use cases).
Good link, I think I understand a bit about なんて.

As for your example なんて言うと思った, なんて is either "what" in "What did you think I/he/she would say?"
this one give me inspiration.
Can I translate 'なんて言うと思った' to 'You though I would say that' ?
I seems to match with the context.
 

Toritoribe

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It's necessary that "that" is clearly mentioned right before this sentence for that meaning, as I wrote in my post above.
e.g.
あたしほんとはあなたが好きなの…なんて言うと思った?(quoting the speaker's own words)
 

Toritoribe

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Then, なんて is for quotation and the speaker said it sarcastically, something like "Did you really think I would say such a thing?"
 

killerinsidee

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yes, the speaker said something that isn't right.
I hope it's not too much to ask, but in the future when you're asking questions like "what does なんて mean here", be sure to include the whole sentence (possibly the surrounding sentences as well) or explain the context. It really helps and you'll get a more accurate answer sooner.
 
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