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I came upon this line of dialogue in a book I'm reading, from a character who has old-fashioned speech patterns:


I assume this せい is some form of the verb する, though I'm not even sure if it's a regional dialect or some remnant of classical Japanese. I can find plenty of examples of the same usage on Google, but no actual explanation or grammar notes for it in any of my usual go-to sites and reference books.

Any ideas?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Verb する has two imperative forms (命令形) with the same meaning: しろ and せよ. せい is an old-fashioned sound variation of the latter form.

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Thank you! Sometimes the answer stares at me right in the face, and yet it still eludes me... – tansui Jan 13 '13 at 17:52
@tansui: You are welcome! – Tsuyoshi Ito Jan 13 '13 at 20:24

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