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I'm a newbie and I'm now trying to parse my first text, the 11ぴきの猫 children book. There is a sentence: 山をこえ、のを こえて、どんどん 行くと、はるかむこうに みずうみが みえました。 I think the overall meaning is clear, but I'm puzzled by this "山をこえ". I assume that this "こえ" is a stem of こえる (to cross), but why is it used in this form, rather than て-form, like in the following "のを こえて"?

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  • This is a basic use of the 連用形{れんようけい}- pretty sure it's why it's call that, in fact – Angelos Mar 8 at 11:00
  • @Angelos Does it mean that if it were a godan verb, it would be an i-stem? – Pokroops Mar 8 at 12:09
  • こえる means go over. The cutting off of the る is another way to say 'and'. In essence it's an alternative to 山をこえて but it is more formal. – Mobiusx2 Mar 8 at 15:07
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こえる is an interesting verb and it is often used in one of its various forms, such as こえ here, to convey what we would in English with "across", "over", or "beyond". (Note: not "over" as in above, but as in "over the hills and mountains we go" to mean going beyond them.)

So,

山をこえ、のを こえて、どんどん 行くと、はるかむこうに みずうみが みえました。

could be render as following in English:

Over the mountain, beyond the field, if you keep on going, far in the distance, a pond was visible.

As mentioned in the comment, こえ works similar to こえて when linking a series of verbs as we would in English using "and". You see it a lot in literature.

Note also the て-form of verb can have an instrumental nuance, "by doing...". That instrumental meaning does not come through with just the [連用形]{れんようけい}.

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