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歩こう and 歩く

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by holynightfever, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. holynightfever Junior Member

    Sheffield, UK
    I've been learning to sing a song from the film My Neighbour Totoro / Tonari no Totoro.

    The lyrics go like this:


    The translation I saw for 歩こう is "let's walk".

    I'm interested in how 歩く becomes 歩こう. Is it possible to do this with other verbs? Like, can I turn 食べる into "let's eat" in the same way? What is the rule?

    Sorry if this question is really basic. Thanks for your help.

    *I'm not sure about this last line actually. Is どんどん supposed by katakana? Is ゆこう the correct word?
  2. animelover Senior Member

    Eastern Germany
    It is sometimes called pseudo-futurum, and it is why we call these verbs 五段 in modern Japanese as opposed to 四段 in classical J. It is simply formed by adding the helper verb む signifying uncertainty to the 未然形, and applying the approproate sound shifts to get modern Japanese version. Ex: yuku -> yukamu -> yukau -> yukou. As a rule of thumb, remove the -u from the dictionary form of five grade verbs and add -ou, and remove -ru from one grade verbs and add -you. 食べる -> 食べよう.

    See here for some notes on usage:

    Both どんどん and ドンドン are possible, it depends on the author and their writing style. ゆこう is from ゆく, which is 行く, an old and dialectical form of 行(い)く.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  3. holynightfever Junior Member

    Sheffield, UK
    Thanks for the answer and the link, animelover. It'll take me a while to understand this fully, but I think I get the idea.

    Is 行こう a common word? Or did the writer of the song use an obscure word just for poetic reasons?
  4. animelover Senior Member

    Eastern Germany
    いこう is common, ゆこう is rarer but far from being rare or obscure. よこう is used quite frequently in songs for stylistic reasons.
  5. holynightfever Junior Member

    Sheffield, UK
    Thanks again :)
  6. Tonky Senior Member

    ゆこう/ゆく is pretty common in everyday chatting, but especially common in songs for easier singing (or stronger and clearer voicing).
    Originally, いく was just another sound-dropping (for laziness) version of ゆく (yuku→yku→iku). Once upon a time, ゆく was the only officially recognized written form and いく was a spoken one and didn't appear in dictionaries. ゆく now is considered to be rather literal sometimes.

    どんどん has two meanings, one is onomatopoeia, to show the sound for, say, banging a door loudly, and usually written in katakana, another is an adverb to mean steadily or rapidly and usually written in hiragana. the latter is the case here.
  7. holynightfever Junior Member

    Sheffield, UK
    Thanks Tonky.

    I learned a lot in this thread :)

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