irregular verbs - same forms, why?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by vacuum cleaner, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. vacuum cleaner New Member

    I wonder if anybody knows, I would be grateful if you share any links about the question.
    Why do some irregular verbs have the same forms for infinitive, past and participle II (e.g. put, cut, hit, hurt, etc.) and there's really a tiny minority of them, while most irregular verbs have different forms?
  2. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Those four you named are all quite obscure words as they don't have attested Old English forms. They emerged first in Late Old English/Middle English with a rather bizarre collection of forms, including weak forms:
    putten (v.) Also put(te, putton, pute(n, puthe, puit(e(n & pitte(n, pit(e & pete. Forms: sg.2 puttest & puttes, putes; sg.3 putteth, puttes, etc. & putti3t, puttit, puttitz, putz & putthe, pith; pl. putteth, putten, etc. & puttit; p. putted(e, etc. & put(te, pute & pit(te& pet; sg.2 puttedest & puttest & put(te, pudt, pit(te, etc.; pl. putted(en, etc. & putten, putton, pitten, etc.; ppl. i)putted, i)put(te, pute, i)pit(te, eput, pud, pet & ?putten. Contraction: puttam (putteden theim).

    The modern forms are probably just the result of a clean-up of this mess.
  3. CapnPrep Senior Member

    All of those verbs end in /t/. Weak verbs ending in /t/ (or /d/) are all irregular in some sense, since they cannot take the regular past tense/past participle suffix /d/. The usual strategy is to insert a vowel before /d/, but several common verbs ending in /t/ just drop the suffix altogether.

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