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For example, in 何曲か歌った (I sang several songs), is it なに or なん?

IIUC from here (I hope it's correct?), it is なに before nouns (except 何曜日、何日、何月), and なん before counters. But 曲 can be either, so I'm not sure.

A couple other links I found are this one and SE, but they don't seem to cover this case.

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何曲 is always read なんきょく. 曲 here is a counter - how many songs. What song would be [何]{なん}の曲 or どの曲.

A case where both are possible: 何色 is read なにいろ/なんしょく.

  • 空は[何色]{なにいろ}? What color is the sky?
  • 虹は[何色]{なんしょく}? How many colors are there in a rainbow?

Further explanations here.

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    なにけん is which prefecture and なんけん is how many prefectures. The same rule still applies (なん for how many).
    – sundowner
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 23:45
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    Thanks! So to clarify, similar to 何県 なにけん, "which prefecture", 何曲 can also be なにきょく in the sense of "which song"? Or there's some unrelated rule that prohibits the use of 何曲 in this sense?
    – max
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 2:34
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    @max I was missing some of your points. First 何(なん)+ counter in non questions means several, as in 何曲かうたった. Second, なにきょく is not possible. I don't think there is a clear rule, but it seems to me that 県/色 are more of exceptions in that なに/なん are both possible (with direct attachment).
    – sundowner
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 3:25
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    @max - When you say [何人]{なにじん}, [何色]{なにいろ}, [何県]{なにけん}, etc., your choice is somewhat limited, and what is provided as an answer has a specific name like アメリカ人, 黄色, and 神奈川県. 何 can be understood as meaning “which of a limited set of well known things”. That’s not the case with songs. I guess that’s the difference.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 4:07
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    Thanks! It seems, unrelated to my question, the choice of 何+Noun vs 何の+Noun is quite tricky. Surprisingly, didn't find it covered either here on SE, or on any grammar sites. Maybe worth asking as a new question.
    – max
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 7:37

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