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I found this line in the lyrics of a certain song, and I'm not quite clear on the meaning of the first ゆく.

道無き未知をゆく 環状線を走ってく

I originally assumed it to be 行く, but that makes the sentence strange IMO. What does ゆく mean?

Source: http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Lyrics:_Paranoid_Lost

  • I guess that "道無き未知をゆく" is a pun on "道無き道を行く". For the record, "道無き道" is "unbeaten path." – eltonjohn Jul 17 '15 at 10:09
  • Not conclusive linguistically. Maybe migration to Anime & Manga (if Touhou belongs to them)? – broccoli forest Jul 17 '15 at 17:27
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ゆく is a sort of poetic pronunciation of 行く. I believe the situation is similar to using よい instead of いい. I have even seen song lyrics where verbs are written as ending in -てく but the song clearly pronounces it as -てゆく. I wonder if that's just a mistake in the transcription, but I've seen it in a number of transcriptions. shrugs

In any case, I believe that the いく and ゆく pronunciations can be considered to be semantically identical. I'm unaware of any situation where only one or the other would be considered correct. You will hear ゆく often in songs and such, but in regular conversation it is rare.

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