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In 桜桜 what do "いざや" and "見に行かん" mean, or rather why do they mean what they mean. I've never heard a term like いざや, and I've never seen 行く written as ゆく, nor have I seen an あん ending unless it was going to be あない.

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Please provide quoted examples and a less convoluted question. thanks – yadokari May 26 '13 at 19:41
The song title is usually spelled in hiragana, and you can find a perfectly good translation on Wikipedia. – Zhen Lin May 26 '13 at 21:33

2 Answers 2

Kohsuke Kawaguchi already answered your question, but I want to add a little bit of detail about ゆかん.

You wrote the following:

nor have I seen an an ending unless it was going to be あない.

This stem of the verb is called the 未然形{みぜんけい} in traditional Japanese grammar, and several things can attach to it besides the auxiliary ない. Historically, there was an auxiliary called , and this is what the ん represents in ゆかん in this song.

As an aside, the modern auxiliary (as in だろう) is derived from む, and it attaches to the 未然形{みぜんけい} as well, so you'd expect a form like ゆかう. However, over time the pronunciation of the vowels changed from /au/ to /o:/, and the modern Japanese spelling was changed to ゆこう to reflect this change. (Although it only partially reflects it, since the う is part of the long vowel /o:/. I wonder why they didn't change the spelling of う as well!)

Back on topic, an "an" ending can also represent the 未然形{みぜんけい} plus the negative auxiliary , which functions much like the auxiliary ない. (See this question for some discussion.) Since this ぬ can be contracted to ん, you'll see forms like 知らん and いかん. (In fact, this is also the ん in ありません.)

If you see an ending like this in modern Japanese, it's much more likely to be the negator ぬ than the historical auxiliary む, because the latter isn't part of the modern language. (Except, I think, in a few fossilized expressions like 言わんばかり.)

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Thank you for your help! – user3457 May 29 '13 at 1:06

いざ is an older expression that means "let us", and や is adding an emphasis.

As a Japanese I don't particularly feel odd that 行く is written as ゆく, especially because 行く has a risk of being read as いく.

~かん is another older expression that means "about to [do]".

I think the reason you feel odd about this whole sentence is that the whole thing uses expressions that are no longer actively in use.

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Topic on いざ: – istrasci May 27 '13 at 15:27
Thank you for your help! – user3457 May 29 '13 at 1:07

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