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Thread: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

  1. #101
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alxmrphi View Post
    Those forms occured without an [r] after the [d] in ME? I didn't know that!
    (*two different)
    Sorry for the typo (which got replicated by copy/paste; you see how lazy I am, using copy/paste for just two words).

  2. #102
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    I see! It threw me at first because I couldn't see what happened to those verbs!
    Makes me want to open my History of English book a little bit actually

  3. #103
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by berndf View Post
    In addition, this has nothing to do with weak vs. strong but the forms I dreamed and I dreamt are simply to different renderings of the Germanic weak preterite suffix. Already in Middle English you find both, ich dremede and ich drempte (compare German ich träumte which is also weak). In Middle English the weak preterite suffix existed in the forms -ed(e), -d(e) and -t(e).
    No, obviously they're not examples of weak-strong verbs, but the /-t-/ forms are quite clearly irregular in another way, simply in that they do not have the /-ed/ ending. That their endings are etymologically the same as the regular suffix doesn't change the fact that they don't follow the usual pattern.

    If irregulars are really becoming "regularized," I would not be surprised if the process were happening more with verbs like this, rather than true strong verbs.

  4. #104
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    sneak, snuck
    dive, dove


    I think, there's a tendency of making the verbs more irregular, in the US English
    In the Midwestern US English, many (other) regular verbs get ''irregularized'' in the informal style.


    Should Old Acquaintance be forgot , and never thought upon...

    for·get /fɚˈgɛt/ verb
    for·gets; for·got /-ˈgɑ:t/ for·got·ten /-ˈgɑ:tn̩/ or for·got
    http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/forget

    So, we have:

    get, got, gotten/got
    forget, forgot, forgotten/forgot


    Last edited by Istriano; 23rd June 2011 at 10:58 PM.

  5. #105
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    In the Midwestern US English, many (other) regular verbs get ''irregularized'' in the informal style.
    I think it's worth pointing out that using terms like "irregular" and "regular" are a bit, what's the word, counter-intuitive due to the nature of making it seem like making a verb irregular is something more strange than regular. When there's a well known verb with a well known pattern that another verb imitates, whether it be irregular in pattern or not, is an extremely likely thing to happen. It's happened probably hundreds of times in the last few hundred years and lots of earlier 'favourites' exist around the world today, particularly in England. We have things like dialect 'brung' (which I've heard not infrequently in the usual normal contexts) which obviously patterns with 'spring/sprung / fling/flung' etc. So as long as there's a good visualised inter-verbal connection, then reanalysis of a particular form to an irregular system can be a much more likely possibility than moving to the standard weak /ed/ paradigm.

    So movement to irregularity isn't always as odd as the term 'irregularity' can often imply
    I personally like the ablaut shifts in English verbs, changing vowels rather than adding endings, I hope more verbs shift over in the future!

  6. #106
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    Re: Are irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandpiperlily View Post
    Very interesting; I had never heard this distinction. Thanks for enlightening us!

    I still don't see how truly crazy verbs, like "to be" and "to go" fit into this pattern, however.
    They don't. The forms of "to be" and "to go" are probably agglomerations of two or more verbs -- at least, according to one linguistic theory.

    They're that way in German and Anglo-Saxon, too.

    be: I am, (thou art), he is, we/you/they are
    sein: ich bin, du bist, er ist, wir sind, ihr seid, Sie sind
    past: English was, (thou wast), were, German war
    past participle: English been, German gewesen

    I go, (thou goest), he goes, we/you/they go
    ich gehe, du gehst, er geht, wir/ihr/Sie gehen,
    past: English went, German ging
    past participle: English gone, German gegangen

    Various bits and pieces of this hang around in dialects. The Scottish "gang" for "went" is an example. Also, the German convention that the verbs of motion form the perfect with sein(*) instead of haben is still seen in the usage "he's gone" as an alternate for "he has gone".

    (*) Ich habe brot gemacht vs. Ich bin zu Berlin gegangen
    I have made bread... I (am) gone to Berlin
    i

    ich gehe, du gehst, er geht, wir/ihr/sie gehen

  7. #107
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benkarnell View Post
    If irregulars are really becoming "regularized," I would not be surprised if the process were happening more with verbs like this, rather than true strong verbs.
    The study cited in the original post for this thread simply divided verbs into those to which you add -ed to make the past form (what they called "regular" for the purposes of discussion in their study), and all the rest to which you do something other than that ("irregular"). Once that division was made, the results simply fall out of their analysis of the database created by Google's "book-digitizing" efforts, and there is no doubt that the less frequently used "irregular" verbs become "regular" at a far faster rate than those "irregular" verbs that are frequently used. The latter are in no danger at all. The irregular verbs affected do not "disappear", their irregularity disappears.
    Last edited by JulianStuart; 31st August 2011 at 6:03 AM.
    Your meaning is not what you think it is, it is what your listener thinks it is

  8. #108
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alxmrphi View Post
    We have things like dialect 'brung' (which I've heard not infrequently in the usual normal contexts) which obviously patterns with 'spring/sprung / fling/flung' etc.
    Evidence of a strong conjugation following the pattern sing/sang/sung can be found in both, OE and OHG, i.e. this variant is obviously common West-Germanic. So, the modern occurrences might not be an innovation but an old form that survived in some dialects.

  9. #109
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianStuart View Post
    The study cited in the original post for this thread simply divided verbs into those to which you add -ed to make the past form (what they called "regular" for the purposes of discussion in their study), and all the rest to which you do something other than that ("irregular"). Once that division was made, the results simply fall out of their analysis of the database created by Google's "book-digitizing" efforts, and there is no doubt that the less frequently used "irregular" verbs become "regular" at a far faster rate than those "irregular" verbs that are frequently used. The latter are in no danger at all. The irregular verbs affected do not "disappear", their irregularity disappears.
    See also this discussion.

  10. #110
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    One theory has it that we have two systems vying for each other in Germanic languages. One, which we tend to refer to as "irregular" (strong) is basically based on ablaut: to make the tense change, you change a vowel within the verb: speak / spoke or get / got are good examples. This system seems to be the older or original one. At some point (perhaps around 2,000 years age), and research into Gothic seems to show this, the weak/defective (now usually called regular) verbs got a new system for expressing the past. This was basically a system of analogy. The strong verb do / did was added to the end of the "defective" verb. For example: help in the past was something like "help-did" (of course I'm substituting the modern verb "help" here to make the point). Then, phonetic assimilation occurred: helpdid became helped (pronounced helpt). Since its inception, this more regular system--at least to us in 2011--has been slowly but steadily spreading. Now, it is the more productive system and any new verbs not based on a pre-existing strong verb, adhere to this system--which we think of as regular.

  11. #111
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    With strong verbs still in common use, like run, shrink,and stink, what I see more than anything is merging of umlaut preterit and past perfect forms. So has run is in the process of becoming replaced by has ran, though to me it is still like nails on the chalkboard when an educated person says this. Similarly the preterits shrank and stank, seem to be on the way out in favor of shrunk and stunk. Somehow that sort of change doesn't seem so grating to me, though I think stank, in the simple past tense, has an overwhelmingly awful grandeur that seems to aptly connote the perception of a horrible stench. "It stunk" just sounds too colloquial and metaphoric, like what you'd say of a recording or TV episode.

  12. #112
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    Re: Are English irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Hello,

    Elle Paris already asked I think, but does anyone know of any really good resources dealing with strong verbs? I'm thinking a book probably with historical examples, listing all the Old English ones, occurences in M.E. and since, maybe references to other West-German languages, and analysis on when and in what way different classes split.

    Thanks guys

  13. #113
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    Re: Are irregular verbs becoming a thing of the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by bgoldnyxnet View Post

    Various bits and pieces of this hang around in dialects. The Scottish "gang" for "went" is an example. Also, the German convention that the verbs of motion form the perfect with sein(*) instead of haben is still seen in the usage "he's gone" as an alternate for "he has gone".

    (*) Ich habe brot gemacht vs. Ich bin zu Berlin gegangen
    I have made bread... I (am) gone to Berlin
    i

    ich gehe, du gehst, er geht, wir/ihr/sie gehen
    In Early Modern English the verb to be was used to form the perfect tense of verbs of motion.
    There are examples in Shakespeare, plenty in 18th century writing, and in some authors of the 19th century.
    Bibo, ergo sum.

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