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Consider

それならなにか、君のほうが正しいというのだな

Then something tells me you're right.

The thing that's tripping me up is the placement of なにか (which I'm assuming is acting as an adverb here). Why is this word placed after なら but before the comma? Is なにか modifying ~なら or 正しい?

Or perhaps the question to ask is: is there any difference between the following sentences?

  1. それならなにか、君のほうが正しいというのだな。(original)
  2. なにかそれなら、君のほうが正しいというのだな。(before ~なら)
  3. それなら、なにか君のほうが正しいというのだな。(after comma)

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The なにか is an interjection (感動詞).

明鏡国語辞典 says:

なにか【何か】
㈢ 〘感〙相手の言動を確認する気持ちを表す。何かい。
「それならなにか、もう辞めるっていうのか」

and 日本国語大辞典 says:

なにか【何か】
[三] (代名詞「なに」に係助詞「か」の付いたもの。感動詞のように用いて)
② 相手のことばや気持を、確認しようとする気持を表わす。つまり(…なのだな)。要するに(…のつもりなのか)。

It is used to confirm what the other person means or intends (to say). I think it's like "So, you mean... right?" or "In short, what you're saying is..., right?", in a bit questioning or accusatory tone.

By the way, なにか as an interjection is pronounced [なにか]{LHH}, while なにか meaning "something" is [なにか]{HLL}.

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  • Thanks for your answer. Do you know what is meant by 何かい in the first definition? I'm not seeing this word in Japanese dictionaries the I've checked.
    – George
    Mar 18, 2023 at 5:03
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    They have the same meaning. 何かい is less common than 何か, I think. (~かい is common in Tokyo (or Edo) dialect.) I think they wrote 何かい there because 何か in this meaning can be rephrased as 何かい, but 何か meaning "something" cannot be rephrased as 何かい. (to distinguish it from "何か" as "something")
    – chocolate
    Mar 18, 2023 at 5:10
  • This might be a bit pedantic, but knowing that 何か is an interjection still doesn't indicate which part of the conditional it modifies. In the original sentence, do you perceive it as modifying the antecedent (それなら) or the consequent (the part after the comma)? Or perhaps it modifies the whole conditional at once instead of just one side of it? I appreciate your help.
    – George
    Mar 18, 2023 at 23:01
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    @George - It modifies nothing. それなら何か is more like “Then what?” except it's not actually asking what.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 19, 2023 at 0:09

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