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So I am going through song lyrics, and the new grammar and vocab that I learn from them goes into my studying. One song I came across was “Wolf Boy” (ウルフボーイ) by Morning Musume (モーニング娘).

The first line of the song is:

本気になれぬウルフボーイ

and is translated to be:

"You don't show the real you, wolf boy"

Is this translation correct? Because I don't know what なれぬ means, and I don't understand how this translates. Someone please explain it to me. Maybe it's slang that I am not getting.

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    -ぬ is an archaic form of the negative (like -ない). So, なれぬ means なれない (i.e. the negative of the potential of なる). See also: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/235/3437 – senshin Jan 6 '15 at 21:57
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As a literal translation, it's wrong.

 本気になれぬ
≒本気になれない
≒(You) can't get serious.

(Side note: if you look at the rest of the lyrics, it's pretty clear that at least some of the clauses before 「ウルフボーイ」 don't act as relative clauses, so I don't think the meaning of this line is "The wolf boy who can't get serious", but just "You can't get serious; wolf boy.")

But, most song translations are not literal, and rightly so, so expect to find a lot more things like this if you're trying to learn from them.

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    This is killing my eyes. Besides, the question is about なれぬ, not ならぬ. – l'électeur Jan 7 '15 at 0:01
  • Oh wow, I misread it entirely, whoops. Thanks for pointing that out. – Darius Jahandarie Jan 7 '15 at 1:00
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    I tried fixing the answer (and the font). – Darius Jahandarie Jan 7 '15 at 1:21
  • After looking into the lyrics, I think it is a relative clause. There are many factors hinder having such young girls (actually most of the 共通語 speakers today) use ぬ in 終止形, while It's not unnatural to parallel relative and non-relative clauses in lyrics, for at least it doesn't differ in word order. – broccoli forest Jan 7 '15 at 11:26

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