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For example, Natsukawa Rimi's 島唄 has this has most of the verbs in plain 連用形 with no apparent reason:

でいごの花が咲き 風を呼び 嵐が来た

でいごが咲き乱れ 風を呼び 嵐が来た

くり返す悲しみは 島渡る波のよう

ウージの森であなたと出会い

ウージの下で千代にさよなら

島唄よ 風に乗り 鳥とともに 海を渡れ

島唄よ 風に乗り 届けておくれ 私の涙 etc etc

君をのせて from Castle in the Sky has English word order:

父さんが残した 熱い想い / 母さんがくれた あのまなざし

The way I understood that line it is equivalent to

父さんが熱い思いを残した / 母さんがあのまなざしをくれた

though I might be wrong and this is just two noun phrases standing by themselves.

The most weird song that I often listen to is いつも何度でも from 千と千尋の神隠し. The first stanza:

呼んでいる 胸のどこか奥で / いつも心踊る 夢を見たい

I understand it as follows:

胸のどこか奥から よんでいる。いつも心が踊ってる。夢を見たい。

Though I might be wrong.

Some of the lines are half-grammatical but have weird meanings (Words I filled in to understand in brackets):

繰り返すあやまちの そのたび(だ。)ひとは

ただ青い空の 青さを知る

(Yeah right, knowing that blue sky is blue.)

果てしなく(い?) 道は続いて見えるけれど

この両手は 光を抱ける

さよならのときの 静かな胸(がある)

ゼロになるからだが 耳をすませる

(Why would a "body tending to zero" "fill up ears"? I'm reminded of http://what-if.xkcd.com/50/ ...)

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Are you aware that the 連用形 can be used as continuative form? So from the very first example: 風を呼び 嵐が来た = 風を呼んで 嵐が来た. –  Earthliŋ Jul 13 '13 at 13:01
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As I see it -- a semicolon. And then another related clause. Continuative prevents the sentence from ending and ties the thoughts together ("In a forest of ウージ we met; under the ウージ we parted for all time") –  Hyperworm Jul 13 '13 at 13:59
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Japanese seems to enjoy ending sentences with nouns too - even in prose you get sentences like 「迷う主人公」 instead of 「主人公が迷う」. –  Sjiveru Jul 13 '13 at 17:15
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Hmm... so what's ungrammatical in the above? –  snailboat Jul 13 '13 at 21:35
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FYI the song is by the band The Boom, and Rimi Natsukawa just covered it. –  jlptnone Jul 17 '13 at 10:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

First example: Your misunderstanding as Earthling points out

Second example: Ending a sentence with a noun or noun phrase, which is very common in Japanese poetry or lyrics

Third example: Grammatically correct, though it uses the techniques like inversion of the word order and ending a sentence with a noun

I think, generally speaking, Japanese language, or we Japanese people, don't value logic or gramatical rules.

We value the feeling and the beauty in each words, especially in poems or songs.

That's why you feel weird for such a beautiful Japanese lyrics.

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It's sounds more poetical to distort the order a bit. I think Virginia Woolf's seemingly abrupt writing style has a similar effect.

For a native somehow it make sense - or there's no need to make any sense.

The lyric above paints beautiful sceneries in my head and triggers acute emotions.

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