I came across this line from YOASOBI's song 「アイドル」:


I'm having some trouble with the bolded part and I want to break it up grammatically.
I've tried to look up 歌い, 踊り, 踊り舞う, 歌い踊り and 歌い踊り舞う on Jisho but could find only 踊り and 舞う. This makes me think that it isn't a single verb but some compound verb using the ます-stem of 歌う and 踊る as in:

歌う + 踊る + 舞う = 歌います + 踊る + 舞う = 歌い踊ります + 舞う = 歌い踊り舞う

What I'd like to understand this construct, translate it and if possible find some alternative ways to say the same thing.
So for the first part, about understanding the grammar and the sentence, is this the continuative form of 歌う and 踊る? And then it would translate as "Singing and dancing while whirling\fluttering about" or just as an elaborate way of saying "singing and dancing"?

For alternatives, how about「歌い踊る」? Because both 踊る and 舞う can mean "to dance" or maybe use ながら to imply that both are happening at the same time「歌いながら踊る」? Maybe it can be replaced by 「歌って踊って舞う」 or use ながら somewhere in between to imply that both are happening at the same time?


1 Answer 1


歌い踊り舞う(私) is not a compound verb listed in a dictionary. It's just three verbs connected using 中止法. In other words, it's roughly the same as 歌って踊って舞う(私).

踊る and 舞う both translate to "to dance", but they refer to different types of dancing. 踊る refers to dynamic and rhythmical ones, while 舞う refers to relatively slow and elegant ones like in this video. See this article, too.

By the way, 舞い踊る is a lexicalized compound verb, but it's not used in this song.

  • Thanks. So the distinction between the two types of dancing is lost in translation but adds more information in Japanese, right? Jun 29, 2023 at 11:49
  • 2
    @UriGreenberg When seen individually, 舞う and 踊る are a bit different, but they are commonly used together (like "rock and roll", "meet and greet" and "huff and puff"). Having both verbs actually adds little to the overall meaning. Perhaps it sounds more dramatic or emphatic than just using one of the two.
    – naruto
    Jun 29, 2023 at 15:44

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