The only previous post I could find related this was in German a bit over my head, so sorry if it's already covered there; it didn't seem like it though. I know the phrase means something like "Be that as it may," or "In any case", or just "Regardless." What I'm looking for is a word-for-word literal translation which might explain how this seemingly random collection of monosyllables can be interpreted to mean any of those things. The references I've tried just translate the phrase as a whole without any explanation, and it would help me to learn if there was one. My best attempt is "How to that also might be," which I can't make sense of. The equivalent English expressions are idiomatic as well and I'd probably be hard pressed to explain them myself, so maybe I'm asking for the impossible here. But often idioms do start to make sense if you figure out some missing words or context, this one seems just baffling though.
The closest English expression would be
however that may be
wie dem auch sein mag
which corresponds closely to the German equivalent. The key to understanding lies in realising that auch modifies wie. The dictionaries call this the generalising use of auch (see for instance DWDS).
Was auch geschieht, dürfen die Kinder sich der Liebe ihrer Eltern sicher sein.
Whatever happens, the children can be certain of their parents' love.
Wenn Sie sich an Ihre Schulzeit erinnern möchten, wann auch immer das war.
If you want to remember your school days, whenever that was.
I find this characterisation somewhat lacking. The point is that these clauses are interpreted as if preceded by egal.
Egal, wohin man auch schaut, scheinen globale Kipppunkte erreicht zu sein.
No matter where you look, global tipping points seem to have been reached.
One inexplicable fact that remains is the use of dative dem instead of expected nominative das in the original sentence. One is liable to say:
Dem ist eben so.
That's just the way it is.
The shortest translation in english is probably "anyway" or also "whatever". Is something like a filler word or you also use it to end a conversation topic where the exit is indifferent (gleichgültig), for example "Anyway, let's talk about something else now" (Wie dem auch sei, lass uns jetzt über was anderes reden).
A word to word translate would be something like this:
- let‘s leave it
- no matter how it is
- be that as it may
how them may be
this is them in the substandard reading them thangs, they people, which makes for an apt illustration that demonstrative pronouns and all that have quite a long winded, diverse and complicated history.
Compare therefore *wam? wiu!.
After all, the dative reading, which would be the only remaining legal interpretation of dem does not seem to be fit here.
Note by the way that however neatly parallels wie aber, "wie dem aber auch sei", "wie aber auch immer", in terms of phonetics, although, an etymologic link cannot be proved so far, inasmuch as ever at least is uncertain of origin.