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Can 行くな change to 行くぬ with the same meaning "Don't go"?

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    I assume this is based on the 行かない~行かぬ pair, but the negative imperative な is a very old particle, attested even in the Kojiki I believe. What prompted this question? – Angelos Feb 1 '20 at 15:17
  • I just curious. I see that な when combine with a dictionary form of a verb produces the negative imperative. And ぬ can be replaced with ない .So can な replaced with ぬ with the same meaning? – Khang Feb 2 '20 at 3:32
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From your comment:

I see that な when combined with a dictionary form of a verb produces the negative imperative. And ぬ can be replaced with ない. So can な replaced with ぬ with the same meaning?

First of all, no. The な is a particle (助詞). ぬ and ない are auxiliaries (助動詞).

The negative imperative な is attached to the attributive form (連体形) of a verb:

行く+な → 行くな "Don't go!"

The negative auxiliaries ぬ and ない are attached to the imperfective form (未然形) of a verb. The 未然形 of 行く is 行か, so:

行く+ない → 行ない / 行く+ぬ → 行ぬ "don't go"

In modern Japanese, the auxiliaries ない and ぬ don't have the imperative form (命令形).

(In classical Japanese, the terminal form of ぬ is ず, and its imperative form is ざれ.)

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  • This is a very good description. I wouldn't even begin to know how to translate, so this is very helpful! – Z Kubota Feb 2 '20 at 4:09
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そんな言葉は聞いたことない、ね。 I have never heard that, and my first thought would be it's a misprint or someone misheard. (apparently not a classical usage, so edited)

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  • Any suggestion on what is not helpful about my answer? It's very frustrating, so I appreciate some edit/comment if you are voting down. – Z Kubota Feb 4 '20 at 2:56

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