I came across a "Mermaid's song" in a text:


The bolded adjectives, うれし(い)、たのし(い)、both seem to be conjugated to izenkei. If that is so, can izenkei of shiku adjectives be used in exclamatory function? E.g. second line as "how happy (I) am to leave the depths!".

If it's not exclamatory, then what could it it mean here? And if it's not izenkei, then what else is it?

  • 1
    It looks like 係り結び... (but 係り結び should be こそ+已然形 or ぞ+連体形, no?) – Chocolate Jun 25 '15 at 9:49
  • どうやら現代人が古文に似せて書いた詞みたい? このページのコメント欄にツッコミが入ってますね – naruto Jun 25 '15 at 9:56
  • @naruto わw ほんまやw 『ていうか相変わらず詠唱の文法間違ってんのなw「ぞ」の係り結びは連体形だっちゅうのに。』だってw – Chocolate Jun 25 '15 at 9:59

In classical Japanese, "~ぞ + 連体形" and "~こそ + 已然形" are the patterns which basically emphasize the sentences. This grammatical rule is known as 係り結び. To put it simply, when ~ぞ or ~こそ appears in the middle of a sentence, that sentence have to end with 連体形 or 已然形 (of a verb/adjective), respectively.

  • 雪降りけり。 (終止形)
  • 雪ぞ降りける。 (ぞ + 連体形)
  • 雪こそ降りけれ。 (こそ + 已然形)
  • 雪が降った。 (modern Japanese)

However, the lyrics in this song doesn't seem to follow the general rule, in that ~ぞ is followed by 已然形. I think it should be either "水底を離るることぞうれしかる" or "水底を離るることこそうれしけれ".

But my knowledge on classical Japanese is very limited, so I'd like to hear opinions from others.

  • 1
    I guess it should be "水底を離るることぞうれしかる", "波立て遊ぶぞたのしかる" and "乾かし遊ぶぞたのしかる". I think, however, the proverb "You can't make a satin purse out of a sow's ear" applies here. The quality of the original verse is questionable to the point of being hardly justifiable for any analysing effort. – eltonjohn Jun 25 '15 at 10:33
  • I'd describe kakari-musubi not as 'patterns that emphasise sentences', but rather as a focus agreement system. Whenever you use ぞ or こそ, the verb has to agree with them. – Sjiveru Jun 25 '15 at 12:01
  • When all is said and done, is it safe to conclude that the part in question (izenkei with ぞ) is 'unorthodox' grammar (or simply neglect on the part of the author) and that's that? I myself am in no place to judge artistic merit but if @eltonjohn says it's very questionable the latter may well be the case? – user10429 Jun 25 '15 at 12:30
  • @user10429: I am not in a position to judge artistic merit (if ever existent in the verse) either, but I am afraid it might be harmful to recommend the verse to non-native speakers. It contains too many grammatical errors (at least three in eight lines) that make me suspect classic-illiteracy on the part of the authour. Does this make sense? – eltonjohn Jun 25 '15 at 13:21
  • 辞書にもあるように「たのし」の連体形は「しき・しかる」なので、「ぞ+たのしかる」「ぞ+うれしかる」になるのだと思います。(「水底を離るることぞうれしける」じゃなくて。「~しける」って活用は載ってないんで・・)でも、2つ載ってるってことは、代わりに「ぞ+たのしき」「ぞ+うれしき」でもいい、ってことでしょうか? – Chocolate Jun 25 '15 at 14:05

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