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According to Jisho, 何かかにか means "this and that; something or other; one thing or another​".

However, when trying to find example sentences so that I can grasp better the usage of this expression, I couldn't find any. And when asking a native Japanese person, he told me he had never seen it and he guessed it could mean something along the lines of 何か (without being completely sure of it).

So, what does this expression exactly mean and how is it used? Could you please give me an example or some if possible?

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  • 「なんかかんか」だと思ってましたが、(もともとは?)「なにかかにか」なんですね・・(「かに」って何だ?)
    – chocolate
    Feb 19 at 15:20
  • 何もかも comes from 何もand 彼も so this is probably a rhyming sound change
    – Star Peep
    Feb 19 at 15:45
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    @chocolate かに is 彼【か】に. similar usages include, 何やかや, 何ともかとも, 何とかかとか. Except 彼【か】の, it's always used in contrast with 何. They're literary expressions that are rarely used even there.
    – user52004
    Feb 19 at 15:52
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    何ともかとも, 何とかかとか -- ん? [何]{なん}ともかとも、[何]{なん}とかかとか、じゃなく?
    – chocolate
    Feb 19 at 22:36

1 Answer 1

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I have never encountered this exact phrase, either, but I can instantly recognize the なん~か~ pattern, and intuit that it's a rare variant of these.

According to this page, なにかかにか was fairly rare, even historically, but you can find 5 real examples here. Practically speaking, since you should never use this phrase in newly created sentences, it will be sufficient if you can guess its meaning when reading old texts. Modern speakers use なんやかんや or なんやらかんやら instead.

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  • Ok, I see! Thank you very much for your answer. It has been very helpful. :)
    – kanachan
    Feb 19 at 21:17
  • I have just one question. Would these modern phrases you mention, なんやかんや and なんやらかんやら, be modern variants of 何やかや (なにやかや) and 何やらかやら (なにやらかやら) respectively?
    – kanachan
    Feb 19 at 21:22
  • The fact that from なんやかんや and なんやらかんやら to 何やかや (なにやかや) and 何やらかやら (なにやらかやら), the reading of 何 changes and か turns into かん makes me doubt if they are the same phrases in modern/old versions or they could differ in meaning, even if lightly.
    – kanachan
    Feb 19 at 21:26
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    @kanachan I haven't seen なにやかや and なにやらかやら, and I know nothing about the history of these words. Unless you're conducting a frequency survey on all of these old and/or rare variants, let's just learn the common ones.
    – naruto
    Feb 20 at 3:35

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